Miles on the clock: 38,290
Archie and I sat on a hillside wasteland by the town of Sandoa and shared an almost-cold Simba beer. The river Lulua lay before us; only 40m wide and invitingly placid. The dying light of dusk reflected silver on this winding swathe of water that lumbered in the valley bottom. This was the river we'd spotted on a map, half a year earlier when tipsy in Cape Town, and vaguely vowed to descend by pirogue (the traditional, flat-bottomed dugout canoe, ubiquitous across Congo). The mosquitos rose and we retreated to the Salvatorian Catholic mission where we were renting a couple of guest rooms. We'd found our river, now we needed to find our pirogue.