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Journey To Katanga – An Expedition Into The Past

By personal invitation from the Royal Family and the Garanganze people, Julian Monroe Fisher FRGS FI'00 will lead an expedition to the Katanga Province of The Democratic Republic of Congo. The expedition, the first of its kind ever authorized and fully supported by the Royal Family of Katanga, will be allowed to join the celebrations marking the coronation of His Majesty Mwenda-Bantu Munongo Godefroid Mwami des Bayeke et du Garanganze.

Day One
Arrival into the city of Lubumbashi
'Journey To Katanga - An Expedition Into The Past', will be welcomed upon arrival at the International Airport in Lubumbashi by our host, Prince Eric Munongo, the brother of His Majesty Mwenda-Bantu Munongo Godefroid Mwami des Bayeke et du Garanganze. A welcome reception will greet us at the hotel that will serve as our base camp while in Lubumbashi, the capital city of the southern DR Congo province of Katanga. Our first night in Katanga will be highlighted by a cultural dinner and an expedition of a lifetime overview for the trek that lies ahead.
Overnight in Lubumbashi at the Grand Karavia Hotel.

Day Two
Departure for overland trek to the Upemba National Parc.
Upemba National Park is a large park in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Located in a lush area dotted by lakes, including the eponymous Lake Upemba, and bordered by the Lualaba River, its 11,730 km² dominates the Kibara Plateau. The Upemba National Park was first established in 1939. It is home to some 1,800 different species, some of them discovered as late as 2003. Overnight at the Kiubo Falls Lodge is situated on a 650 hectare preserve with wild and unspoiled woodland bush. The lodge is located situated right below the Kiubo Falls on the banks of the Lufira river.

Day Three
Trekking and river activties. Overnight at the Kiubo Falls Lodge

Day Four
Our team will depart from the city of Lubumbashi after an early morning breakfast which will allow the expedition to travel north to the remote village of Bunkeya. Upon arrival the team will be met by local Garanganze elders. After we establish 'Base Camp Bunkeya', we will enjoy a hearty lunch of local fare before we depart for our trek to the historical sites. The historically significant sites that comprise our vision for the Bunkeya Cultural Village (BCV) are important to the Garanganze in that they believe and rightfully so, that history as it pertains to the late King Msiri who was arguably murdered by a member of The 1890-91 Stairs Expedition to Katanga, needs to be better represented in the 21st century. At each historical site a local elder will explain to our team the Garanganze's understanding of the events of December 20 & 21, 1891. We will discuss with the elders the contradicting viewpoints from the only written account to date of those events, the book 'With Stairs To Katanga', written by the medical officer for the Stairs expedition, Dr. Joseph Moloney. The events of those fateful days were pivotal in Belgium King Leopold II 'scramble for Africa' and forever changing the African continent. The evening will be punctuated by a dinner of local cuisine and accented by a cultural presentation about the vast region of Katanga and the people that inhabit this magical land.
Overnight at the Bunkeya Cultural Village (BCV) Base Camp.

Day Five
We will be honoured by a personal invitation from His Majesty Mwenda-Bantu Munongo Godefroid Mwami des Bayeke et du Garanganze to attend the annual coronation ceremonies for his majesty and the royal family. The day will begin with a hike up Mount Nukulu, the former residence of King Msiri. The team will be allowed an exclusive witnessing of the private ceremonies of the Mwami as he prepares for the journey from the mountain top location of the former home of King Msiri to the village of Bunkeya. As personal guests of the Mwami, the day long festivities will last well into the evening and will include lunch and dinner with indigenous dancers and storytellers .
Overnight at the Bunkeya Cultural Village (BCV) Base Camp.

Day Six
After breakfast at Base Camp Bunkeya, lunch with The Mwami & Honoured Guests, we will visit the location where the Stairs Expedition to Katanga was encamped as well as the location of the permanent camp estabished for the Congon Free State at Fort Bunkeya. Our team will conduct initial reconnaissance for future excavations of both sites. Dinner with the Mwami & Honoured Guests.
Overnight at the Bunkeya Cultural Village (BCV) Base Camp.

Day Seven
Base Camp Bunkeya, the team will travel back to the city of Lubumbashi for a relaxing day touring the local markets, the cultural museum and the zoo. The late afternoon will have us enjoying a variety of local Congolese cuisine.
Overnight in Lubumbashi at the Grand Karavia Hotel.

Day Eight
We will depart after a sunrise breakfast for the Kundelungu National Park, home to lowland gorillas and the rare Okapi. Kundelungu National Park, in the central upper part of the image, has a surface area of 7600 km². Its landscape includes a series of high plateux and savanna hills with altitudes ranging from 1200 to 1700 meters. The park is particularly well-known for its waterfalls, along the Lofoï River, one of the tributaries of the Lufira River. These falls are the highest in Africa and the second-highest in the world, at 384 meters, with an uninterrupted cascade of water for 347 meters. Overnight at the Kafubu River Lodge.

Day Nine
Along with our local guide, we will experience the beauty and wonders of the Kundelungu National Park, the largest national park in the Congolese province of Katanga. Overnight at the Kafubu River Lodge.

Day Ten
Lofoi Waterfalls, Africa's tallest waterfall (Lofoi Falls, 1,115 ft/340 m straight down).
Litupisha, where kingdom was once relocated to. The Lofoi Falls (also known as the Chutes Kaloba and the Chutes Lofoi) is a waterfall in Kundelungu National Park, Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo and is one of the largest waterfalls in Central Africa. It is approximately 165 meters (540 feet) high and drops into the Lofoi River. Overnight in our exclusive Kundelungu Bush Camp (camping).

Day Eleven
After breakfast at our bush camp at the Kundelungu National Park we will return to Lubumbashi for farewell banquet dinner with members of the Royal Family of Katanga. Overnight in Lubumbashi at the Grand Karavia Hotel.

Day Twelve
After a truly amazing expedition to Katanga, we will say our goodbyes to our host Prince Eric Munongo and depart for the Lubumbashi International Airport for departure to our home country of orgin.

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Please note that additional post expedition extension treks can be arranged in Kenya for the annual wildlife migrations across the plains of the Serengeti as well as treks to Mount Kilimanjaro and the white beaches along the coast of the Indian Ocean.

The Bunkeya Cultural Village(BCV) expedition is limited to ten persons. For information as to how you might be able to participate in this unique expedition, please contact Julian Monroe Fisher FRGS FI'00 at contact(at)julianmonroefisher.com.