After a few days spent in Goma in mid-March, my flight was arranged and I was able to fly on March 23rd to Kindu, in Maniema Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo on a small UNHAS (UN Humanitarian Air Service) flight. The bureaucracy involved in flying with UNHAS is a bit much, but considering any one-way ticket costs only USD 100, it’s hard to complain.
The day before, I had spent the entire afternoon sitting in the somewhat bleak Goma airport waiting area until someone eventually announced the bad news that the flight was cancelled and rescheduled for the next morning. Come next morning, they weren’t sure if we would fly as there was a storm raging in Kindu and landing would be tough. Luckily we were able to take off a bit late and arrived after an hour and a half in one piece in Kindu, after some rather intense turbulence and driving rain during the flight.
This is the little 15 seat plane that would carry us a few hundred kilometres to Kindu:
As our small plane taxied along the runway, this larger plane sat lifeless, its belly pressed against the sharp lava rocks from the 2002 volcanic eruption that swept through Goma.
Goma from the air:
Some of the nice scenery flying between Goma and Kindu:
The Congo River (at this point, known locally as the Lualaba) below us:
Kindu from above:
A MONUC (UN Mission in the Congo) transport helicopter at the tiny Kindu airport:
Goma during my brief visit had been relatively cool, dry, and the roads were either dirt or lava rocks. As we stepped out of the plane in Kindu, it was hot, humid, raining like crazy, and the roads were all mud. I was happy to be out of Goma, and happy to have arrived in “Kindu Paradise.”