Kisangani

Overview

Introduction

This city (pop. 475,000) was known in colonial times as Stanleyville. Today the former neighborhoods of Belgian expatriates have an atmosphere of decaying elegance—grand old houses have fallen into disrepair, and formerly fancy hotel restaurants now have only stark furnishings and a few small tables. Observing the daily life of its residents is the main tourist activity. Take a dugout canoe (or one with an outboard motor) or ferry across the Congo River, just for the experience; walk around one of the residential areas (Tshopo is the most interesting); browse through one of the most fascinating markets in the world (be prepared to see charred monkeys, live palm grubs and dried caterpillars in the food section); visit a disco at night (though be aware that some hotel clubs are overpriced and uninteresting); and just stroll around the commercial section. Trips to Wagenia Falls are more trouble than they're worth, but if you have the time, go ahead and see it. Plan to stay one night. 760 mi/1,225 km northeast of Kinshasa.

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