It’s your first cross-border trip into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there are things that you should do or not do to ensure your safety and that of the truck and cargo.

Marvin Giyava deserves a shout out for compiling this list of how to survive driving in the DRC for truckers.

Here in South Africa and a few other SADC countries, a motorist has rights that cannot be freely trampled upon but in DRC it’s a different story. From SA Trucker experience and countless reports from other truckers, Giyava’s compilation is on point.

It’s always advisable to humble yourself if you are in a foreign land.

Dos And Don’ts For Foreign Truck Drivers In DRC

Essentials and Health

  • Always have an emergency number to contact, plus airtime for direct calls as data for WhatsApp is not always available throughout the routes. You never know when you may need to use it.
  • Never ignore any illness symptoms. DRC is a high malaria zone from January to December, if possible always keep a valid malaria course in your truck, mosquito nets, insect spray etc, they come in handy daily. If unwell please don’t ignore see a doctor asap. Malaria treatment is one of the best in DRC.
  • In DRC anything is possible, you can spend anything from a week to 2 months or more in DRC waiting for clearance, offloading, loading or any other various issues. Against that, always come prepared with enough food, cash etc. It’s never always smooth.
  • Cholera and typhoid are prevalent in DRC stay hygienic and never buy uncovered food like bread, meat, veggies, fruits. Walk into proper shops and markets for your provisions just to be safe.

General Driving Tips

  • You drive on the right-hand side of the road
  • Avoid unnecessary stops on the side of the road. Don’t eat or drink anything that will force you to stop to relieve yourself, if thieves don’t pounce on you the police will.
  • Avoid night driving where possible, here they can repair a broken vehicle in the middle of the road, with poor night visibility you are bound to crash into many hazards.
  • Avoid picking up passengers even the police or soldiers.
  • As you pass through built-up areas in the villages or towns, reduce speed to below 40km/hr if possible.
  • Avoid overtaking unnecessarily.
  • Avoid driving in push-ins or sandals, wear your safety shoes or closed shoes.
  • Trucks are prohibited on some routes please ask before taking the route, the fines are crazy high.
  • Avoid night driving especially between Likasi and Lubumbashi, especially if you are transporting copper.
  • Please follow the queue at the toll gates, they are always congested and many accidents happen as motorists try to jump the queue.
  • Don’t drink and drive or drive under any influence of any drugs.
  • The biggest hazard on DRC roads is motorbikes. Bikers are run over injured and killed daily especially by trucks. Try as much as possible to check around your truck as you drive.
  • The majority of taxis and minibuses, drive with no care for other road users at all, be the difference as an internationally travelled driver. Just be patient, stop and yield even when you have right of way, you will avoid a lot of issues afterwards.
  • Roundabouts or traffic circles in DRC are different from all other SADC states, those already in the circle give way to those not yet in.
  • Your right turn with a truck in DRC is probably most difficult as opposed to all the other SADC states, with lots of cars and bikes around your truck. Give yourself enough space or angle and time to turn right. Some roads are not wide enough and to turn double trailers even a single one from a right lane into another right lane needs special attention.

Police

  • Don’t pick a fight with the police, he is also the prosecutor and judge in any matter.
  • Never remove your seatbelt when you have been stopped by the police, the moment you seat on the driver’s seat without wearing it you will get charged even if the cop saw you wearing it when you stopped.
  • On the weighbridge, make sure you don’t shift to the next gear or risk being accused of over-speeding.

Watch: Watch: Zim trucker shot dead by rebel fighters in DRC

General Tips

  • Armed militia threat ( check if the area you are going to is not under attack from rebels)
  • Avoid cooking inside your truck, besides being dangerous to you, authorities prohibit that as you must use reserved cooking areas especially in the border, and customs yards. The fines are sadly high.
  • Stay away from these lady friends, some of them are a scam as some will demand large sums of money afterwards, if you are lucky not to be charged for rape, you know what I mean.
  • Always check your passport after submission for stamping, sometimes the wrong stamp is used or not used or the wrong passport is returned to you.
  • Ndebele,isiZulu, Swahili and Shona have a lot of similarities in the language, make an effort to learn key words, you will thank me later.
  • For those that allow touts disguised as security escorts to climb on top of loads and tankers just know that when that boy falls to the ground and you run over him, you are the culprit charged with murder. Even if you have not allowed him to climb, in the event of a disaster, you are answerable.
  • Avoid taking any ‘special offers’, skipping tolls, private loads.
  • Avoid jumping queues.
  • If you are leaving the truck, don’t forget your passport at all times.
You May Also Like

Floods warning for parts of KZN

Durban – The South African Weather Service has issued a warning for…

Services added to the list of allowed services under Level 4 lockdown

Some services which are banned during Level 5 lockdown will be phased…

KZN MEC warns trucking companies employing foreign drivers

The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr. Mxolisi Kaunda,…