A Rainy Season Crossing to the Lomami River

November and December are the height of the rainy season in the Lomami Park and this has been a wet rainy season. A trip into the park is more complicated. BUT, with good porters and adequate audacity, it is still possible.

1_packing to leave ChombeKilima
The porters are checking their loads before leaving the last village.

All the streams are overflowing…

2_Junior at clearwater stream
Only “mayi nyeupe” is not flooded. It is a clear spring and our best drinking water. Junior, thuraya in one hand, is filling up for the rest of the walk.

… the biggest challenge is the Loidjo: not only is the river channel over its banks, the whole west riverside is flooded for a kilometer and some deep bayous are brimming over.

The Loidjo River Crossing
The Loidjo’s left bank is low. The river seems to go on and on.

Loidjo is 20 km from the nearest village and our attempts at bridge making are not quite up to the challenge.

3_Starting across the Loidjo
We start across the main river bed and strongest current.

Usually the current is more than six feet below us. Okonda and Heritier, in the lead, found some of the major poles were washed away.

4_Okonda and Hertier patch gap
Balanced on one pole Okonda and Heritier try to reposition another one.

Junior took the pictures. We were travelling with Karsten who manages the Obenge base camp.

6_across Loidjo but no dry land
Once across the main channel the water kept going.

7_left not good_how 'bout right
The bridge trellis is out and left does not look good, how about right?

8_Okonda says to go right
Okonda says to go right…by the upturned root mass…

9_you're taller_can you carry this?
You’re taller than me, why don’t you carry this?

10_eventually I swim pas upturned root mass
Besides I end up swimming…

11_Okonda makes second trip across 3rd deep area
Last deep bayou and disintegrated bridge, Okonda carried the loads of several of the less “stable” travelers…

12_no problem
With someone else carrying my camera, what is there to worry about?

14_rest step before Boha and mainly dry
We had dried out a bit when we stopped before the Boha savanna.

15_Wet gluey savanna is no easier
But flooded savanna, where the mud is a suction to every step, is no easier than a flooded stream…

It was good to get to Katopa camp for a hot bucket bath and a cup of hot sugared tea.


  1. Sarah Hart
    Posted 2015-12-17 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    WOW Mama! You are one tough lady.

  2. John Sullivan
    Posted 2015-12-18 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t make it look too easy!

  3. Terese Hart
    Posted 2015-12-18 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately the real challenge is not getting across during one more rainy season, but preparing for all the future rainy seasons. We have been cutting forest poles to maintain our Loidjo bridge at the crossing for so many years (since 2008) that the right size class is not even present in the forest over a large area. Poles and the lianas we use as “hand rail” have become scarce. We are just beginning to discuss the costs and structural possibility of two or three metal suspension bridges….. More later.

  4. Posted 2015-12-22 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    “Adequate audacity,” indeed! The TL2 crew rocks. Thanks for posting photos.

  5. Posted 2015-12-22 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    Some fond memories of floating our bikes over these rivers (a little less engorged) during the cyclo-tour du parque in 2011. Are you sure that there are no lurking “monster fish” in these flooded areas? We are “ice-less” and “snow-less” here on Lake Superior (WI, USA). Out fishing on the lake last week. (Unheard of!)

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