We were skeptical when IgoUgo designer fallschirmhosen announced he’d be vacationing in the Congo, but now that he’s returned with a fascinating journal, we see there’s a point to his travel derring-do. From a pygmy village to an okapi reserve to one of Africa’s highest peaks, his potentially risky trip was nothing if not rewarding.
For the rest of us, the rewards of reading Finding Brightness in the Heart of Darkness—fallschirmhosen’s collection of 14 reviews, 8 experiences, and 102 photos from the DRC’s East—will be satisfying enough. The length of the journal’s “Logistics” section is telling, but its tales are entertaining; check out Beni to Epulu by Bus for a taste of traveling overland (and over-river), Congo-style.
Another highlight is his visit to the pygmies of the Ituri Forest, where a donation resulted in a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” of singing, dancing, body-painting (photographed above), and a feast. Despite the hardships they face, fallschirmhosen found the forest’s people to be “extremely friendly and very proud of their culture.”
Not content to venture only behind international-news headlines, our apparently fearless colleague also went above them, attempting to climb the Rwenzori Mountains’ Margherita Peak for the second time (he previously tackled it in Uganda). This time he summited, but only after ascending 16,763 rather treacherous feet.
We can’t say these stories have convinced us to visit the DRC just yet, but fallschirmhosen’s journal is a window into what we hope will be a more attainable destination in the future—it sounds like an incredible place.