Mbanza Ngungu Caves Congo
Exploring Mbanza Ngungu Caves
Mbanza Ngungu caves are also called Thysville caves and they are situated at proximity of Mbanza Ngungu approximately 150 kilometers from Kinshasa. The caves cover an area of about 750 square kilometers and you will be amazed by its extensive size. They are famous for its threatened blind fish (Caecobarbus geertsii). These a few unique creatures that thrive within the caves and they aren’t found anywhere on planet.
About 3 (three) caves exist in DR Congo, Lukatu (ex Randour). The nearest cave to Mbanza Ngungu at approximately two (2) kilometers off Kinshasa and interestingly visitors can even take a walk from town to the caves but you will need better walking shoes, as the road and caves can be slippery and muddy. Mbanza Ngungu caves are 10 kilometers long and the blind fish can be spotted though it is challenging. Visiting the caves during the wet season is a bit challenging.
Dimba ou Finzolua Ndombolozi (ex Tordeur), this is the largest cave and it is the frequently visited cave. It is located five kilometers off Mbanza Ngungu. Visitors can also take a walk up to the caves. The cave features a large tunnel that was explored by a Belgian colonel called Tordeur in 1915. Tourists always descend about one kilometer into the cave though you can go even beyond. The cave features stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is popular for bat guano that most people harvest and use as a fertilizer. The site features most bats and in the Ngovo cave and this cave is also challenging for tourists to pay a visit. Ngovo is located 13 kilometers off Mbanza Ngungu. Its mouth comes in a shape of Jurassic park or Indiana Jones with vines and water falling down the cliff face. There are also old stone and mental stairs that take visitors up to the caves and at different points in the cave where it is a bit rugged. The tunnels are extensive and they look like a subway tunnel. After a 500 meter walk, visitors also have a chance to visit the underground waterfall and pools where the blindfish thrives.
If you are interested in exploring these caves, you will need to come along with better flashlights or headlamps, some changed money, good car rental with air conditioners, English or French tour guide, waterproof boots, clothes and many others.
The caves are best visited during the dry season as the wet season comes with mud which may make your safari a bit challenging. You can take the Matadi route to Mbanza Ngungu. The tourism office is situated behind the Tribunal de Grand Instance. For travelers who may wish to get to the caves by themselves you can proceed across the Tribunal and take the first paved left hand turn. The first 2 (two) caves are at proximity to the road and for the 3rd one, visitors have to inquire for directions once they reach to the village. You will need to go with a local guide given that the caves are huge, dark and at times confusing. You will spend about three hours while driving from Kinshasa.
A long the way, you will also come across a natural garden known as Kisantu which features unique floral species. There is also River Inkinsi that flows via the garden and forms amazing spectacles. It is situated about 130 kilometers off Kinshasa and was formed by Father De Gullet in 1900. Interestingly, visitors can explore the whole garden and after proceed up to Mbanza Ngungu and descend underground. The caves stand at altitude of about 700 meters above sea level; within the basin of the Lower Congo River of the DR Congo they are overlooking the underground city system of approximately 750 square kilometers and they are fed by River Congo and has numerous spaces filled with water but very small for humans.
In conclusion, Democratic Republic of Congo offers more than just primates and birdlife but also several caves for tourist on safari in Africa to explore and discover. The caves themselves are stunning and feature a number of incredible tourist attractions that will fill you with lifetime experiences. If you are planning to travel to DR Congo this coming vacation, make sure that you include cave exploration in your bucket list.