From: #flymeto | Jul 30, 2019
Okay, I didn’t give geography much at school. Neither history. And physics. And gym class… enough. It’s not about this article. The bottom line is that, unlike you, I didn’t know for a long time that when you say Congo, it could mean two countries. I was lucky enough to look into the smaller of them, Republic of Congo with the capital Brazzaville.
After landing in Brazzavile do not be afraid of the first impression. Yes, garbage dumps on the street occasionally burn, but otherwise it’s pretty nice here. Take a taxi around the city, one ride will cost you 1,000 to 2,000 CFA, which is about 40 to 80 crowns. But you must not give in and you must bargain hard enough. Knowing what you want to see in the city beforehand, a taxi driver can be a helpful guide.
In busy places and do not pull the camera. Not even government buildings. Locals often don’t like being taken by strangers and armed forces are extremely paranoid. A colleague who set out to shoot the taxi ride we needed for the movie was even arrested and choked for several hours at the police station. Without the knowledge of French nothing much experience, with the cops with their hands with their feet hard to speak. Not to be our friend who has lived in Congo for several years, who knows how it would turn out.
I assume that if you decide to go to Congo, you are not interested in so much burning garbage as the local unrepeatable natural scenery. In this case, I recommend visiting the Odzala Kokoua National Park, where with luck you have the opportunity to see the forest elephants, lowland gorillas, buffalo or beautiful antelope bongo. Odzala Park offers luxury private campsites at Odzala Discovery Camps right in the heart of the wilderness. It is not cheap but it is comfortable and you can speak English without any problems. And most importantly, the campsite staff will transport you from Brazzaville to the park by appointment, avoiding many checkpoints on a roughly 700 km long road where you would hardly resist the onslaught of local police bosses claiming a bribe. Yes, you can say that Congo is a country for rather adventurous nature, but you know - who is afraid must not go to the forest.
Matej Kmeť | matejkmet.wordpress.com, Guenter Guni | xovafilm.cz, USO, Guenter Guni, Kirsten Dohmeier | istockphoto.com
Personally, everywhere in the world I try to disappear from the big cities as quickly as possible, not only because I am most interested in nature. People in the country tend to be more accommodating and if you want to show the scenes from the life of the local people at home, you better talk to them about the photo shoot. This is doubly true for Congo. And at all - without prior agreement I would not shoot in Congo. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having strangers put my lens in front of my face at home. We travel around the world more and more, and so it is more and more important that we respect each other and not treat each other like nerds.