Named "Equator" by Stanley in the 1880s, this pleasant city (pop. 206,000) at the meeting point of the Congo and Ruki Rivers has an Equator Museum (tribal artifacts), a beautiful road along the river and a fascinating river-port area. Visit Basoko (a village built on piles) and Eala (botanical gardens); take a river trip to Makanza and see Lake Paku (25 mi/40 km away) or Lake Tumba, deep in the forest (75 mi/125 km southwest). Mbandaka is 360 mi/580 km northeast of Kinshasa.

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