Congo River Expedition Itinerary From Kinshasa to Kisangani

The pinnacle of Congo adventures: a boat ride from Lisala to Kisangani along the massive Congo River. Along the way, the group will see jungles, historical landmarks, outlying settlements, and, of course, get to know the natives.

Traveling through a region that few tourists have yet to see will allow you to hear and see the true Africa. Our river cruiser is an 18-meter wooden boat with two strong outboard motors that we use for transportation. In addition, the vessel has a generator, lighting, freezers, sanitary installations, and safety gear. An experienced and certified captain, along with a mechanic and sailor, operate it. Throughout, there is a chef and a tour guide. You can spend your evenings and nights ashore, allowing you to engage in cultural exchanges with the locals.

This classic Congo River Expedition takes us to one of the world’s least travelled regions, and it is a great adventure in and of itself. We are pleased to offer it to our clients.

The Congo River Explained

Detailed 28 Days Congo River Expedition Itinerary

Day 1: Kinshasa

You will be transferred to your hotel upon your arrival in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Nearby Sultani Hotel for One Night Stay

Day 2: Kinshasa City Tour

Go to the beautiful Lola Ya Bonobo chimpanzee sanctuary, located just outside of the southern suburbs of Kinshasa, after breakfast. We will later visit Kinshasa, one of the most interesting megacities in Africa, to see the neighborhoods, marketplaces, and buildings that make it unique. Once known as “Kin La Belle” (meaning “Beautiful Kinshasa”), the city’s reputation has taken a beating due to its turbulent past. Nevertheless, Kinshasa is making gradual efforts to restore its grandeur.

Overnight Hotel Sultani or similar.

Day 3 – Kinshasa – Mbandaka (Domestic Flight)

Mbandaka, the capital of the Equateur Province in the DRC, is where our Congo River trip will begin today. We will be flying there today. In preparation for our early morning departure on the journey to Lisala, we set up camp in the city for the night.

Overnight tented camp. (BLD)

Days 4 – 13 – Congo River Expedition: First Leg

Our initial journey upriver from Mbandaka to Lisala will likely take ten nights. We traverse a huge region devoid of airports and roadways. For the towns we pass through on our travels, the river provides an essential lifeline. We will watch as they go about their daily lives, bringing goods across the Congo in little boats. We encounter locals who have never been on a plane and have no idea what tourists are. Intrepid travelers must go on this pioneering voyage for the truly serendipitous encounters. There are fewer and fewer locations on Earth where you can have an experience like this. Bolton Limited

Two strong outboard motors propel our 34-meter wooden boat. Despite its classic style, it comes fully furnished with all the necessities for a safe trip, including restrooms, a generator, lighting, and food and drink storage in the freezers. The entire journey is accompanied by a chef and a guide who can speak English.

We spend each night ashore or in a village, where we shop for fresh food, cook dinner, and pitch our tents. A self-inflating mattress, cotton sheets, and cushions are standard amenities in spacious and cozy walk-in tents. Towels, toiletries, a sleeping bag, and a sheet are all things that travelers should remember to bring along.

Day 14 – Lisala

Lisala, the birthplace of Mobuto Sese Seko, the president of Zaire from 1965 to 1997, is where we want to reach today. The atrocities and excesses of Mobuto’s dictatorship might fill volumes. Also, midway between Mbandaka and Kisangani is Lisala. Tomorrow, a few of the passengers will board an aircraft to Kinshasa, the capital. Concurrently, some will board the boat after flying to Lisala from Kinshasa, and then continue on to Kisangani.

Overnight tented camp a few kilometres outside Lisala. (BLD)

Day 15 – Lisala

At Lisala all day long. Upon saying goodbye to some of the group as they board the plane back to Kinshasa, we go supply shopping and load up on water and food. You can also take advantage of the many opportunities to discover the city.

Overnight tented camp in Lisala. (BLD)

Days 16 – 25 – Congo River Expedition: Second Leg

Our journey continues as we head upriver from Lisala, our last stop before reaching Kisangani. We will spend each night ashore at or near a village where we may purchase fresh vegetables, cook dinner, and set up our tented camp, just like on the cruise to Lisala. The trek is estimated to take ten nights. The highlight is undoubtedly Bumba, the place where the Congo River widens to a width of almost 20 kilometers, adorned with water hyacinths. The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve, home to 32,000 different types of trees, is an essential stop on the way to Kisangani.

Wildlife in the reserve includes elephants, river hogs and monkeys. (BLD)

Day 26 – Kisangani

Henry Morton Stanley, an intrepid writer and adventurer, established Kisangani in 1877 under the name Stanleyville. At more than 2,000 kilometers upstream from the Atlantic coast, it is the furthest navigable point on the Congo River. Over the past half-century, the city has been through more than its share of turmoil, from the conquest by Simba rebels in the 1960s Congo crisis to the horrors of the DRC conflict in the 1990s. The half-million people who call Kisangani home are slowly but surely getting better today. A trip here is not just fascinating, but essential, if you want to know more about the DRC. Once we’ve had a chance to explore the town, we head to Tshopo River Falls and Wagenia, a settlement where the fishermen keep their one-of-a-kind bamboo fish traps set among the rapids of the Congo.

Overnight Hotel Triangle or similar (BLD)

Day 27 – Kinshasa

Today, after over a month, it may be difficult to comprehend the end of the adventure. Make your way to the airport in Kisangani to catch a flight back to Kinshasa.

Overnight Hotel Sultani or similar. (B)


  • Airport to hotel return transfers
  • Return domestic flight
  • 5 nights hotel accommodation
  • 22 nights tented camp accommodation
  • Breakfast in Kinshasa
  • Full board when camping
  • English/French speaking guide

Not Included

  • Meals not stated in the itinerary or when camping
  • Drinks
  • Congo entry visa
  • Local airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single supplement – please enquire