Weekend Gateway to Bombolumene
I must thank to Pablo (one of the coolest friends that I met in Kin) for taking me to Bombolumene Hunting Reserve for the most valuable weekend gateway. After keep cancelling any trips on Saturday due to my works (“Hey. Come on. Come and join us. I’m gonna leave Kinshasa in two weeks,” Pablo said), finally my chief gave permission to take off day on that Saturday. I immediately took my phone and sent the short message to Pablo. “My chief said yes. I’ll join you,” . Pablo answered less than five minutes. “Great. We’re going to Bombolumene”
Before going, we made small meeting with all participants. I knew most of them from the party where Pablo always took me. There are few new people that just came to Kin. Lately one of them became one of my good friends. After all discussion and preparation , on Saturday morning, we’re heading to Bombolumene.
We were not alone. On the way, I found that many people would join us to Bombolumene, who most of them were working as humanitarian worker. We became a large group. I share the lift with Pascale (thanks to Pascale, for driving us for the whole trip), Kristin and Gabriel (Pascale’s son). We divided the lift based on language ability of participants. Kristin and I could not speak French or Spanish (where most of them spoke with these two languages). Meanwhile, Pascale speak English and French excellently.
Bombolumene Hunting Reserve is located 130 kilometers from Kinshasa, on the way to Kikwit, in Bandundu Province.It was built in 1958 by an Belgian agricultural extension agent to protect the natural capital of the site. Name of the site refer to Bombo and Lumene rivers flowing through the area. The reverse is completely protected where human settlements and activities are not allowed within its limits. Despite the reduced numbers of animals, Bombolumene remains a beautiful and peaceful area and becomes home to number of expatriates that look for peace weekend gateway.
The park is equipped by guest houses and some gazebos for doing barbecues. The park is covered dominantly by savanna grasslands that we could see once we passed the main road to enter the park area.
Due to the large number of visitors, and the lodge couldn’t accommodate 17 adults, the park manager rent some tents to us. In addition, mattress and cooking equipment are also available. What you must bring from the city is only your food.
After having the light lunch, we went to the river for swimming. From guest house to river, we had to pass footpaths with some grasses, bushes and trees along the street. It was a bit challenging for the people who are not used to do trekking like me. When passing this street, I must walk slowly and watch my step carefully since it was a little bit steep. Coralie, a new friend that I met from the last meeting, accompanied me for most of journey.
From the guest house to Lumene river, it took around 15 minutes by foot. A root bridge lying there to accommodate people to cross river. In the middle of hot weather of Kinshasa, sitting and swimming by river was extremely relaxing. Some of friends even jumped to the river from the upstream, let strong rapid brought them back to the downstream.
If you want to do trekking, small jungle is on the other side of river. Saul, Pablo’s roommate, took me there where we could see strong rapid from the top of the hills.
The guest house was not equipped by electricity. During the night, we just used emergency lamp for lighting. Fortunately, the weather was good. There was a perfect moon and million stars in the sky. A friend made camp fire to keep us warm and kept insects and mosquito away. To enliven the atmosphere, other friend took his car closed to camp fire and turned on the music from the car.
Pablo and I talked about his plan to go to Indonesia in the next two weeks until a friend came and he was ended having serious discussion with Pablo, talked about the latest political situation in Europe. I left them when they started to talk in French (sometimes in Spanish too) about the strongest president candidates for the next election in France and joined Saul to dance and sing.
It was a perfect weekend until the next day, on my way back to Kinshasa, my chief called me on the phone to inform that a gunshot happening in Kinshasa.