The degree of deterioration seems to depend on two things.  One: the level of development at the time a particular African country achieved it independence, and adopted majority indigenous rule, and two, The amount of time passed since that event took place.  This became evident during the 1997 recce survey in Northern Zambia and Eastern DR Congo.

This part of DRC (previously Zaire), could be considered to be the far flung dregs of the Belgian administration in Kinshasa.  Although the mineral resources of this part of DRC were known in the first half of the nineteen hundreds, it was just too far, and too hard-going, with many different languages and cultures, to establish the infrastructure, and investment, needed to develop these resources.  When DRC adopted an indigenous government in 1962 it was simply forgotten about.

Zambia (previously Northern Rhodesia) had a much more robust kick-off during the same period.  This can be attributed to a European type government (manned by europeans) in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and held sway in the copper-rich Northern Rhodesia.  Even when Northern Rhodesia were given independent indigenous self rule, around 1964 / 65 the South African / European mining companies were allowed to stay, and manage, if not own the country’s mines and other businesses.  Over and above this, Northern Rhodesia / Zambia maintained the English language to educate, and do business with.  This was the situation until around 1998 – 2000 when the South African / European mining companies decided The new Zambian Government was too hard to do business with, and pulled out of Zambia completely.  It was only then that natural decline took root.

If one compares the photographs and descriptions in this reconnaissance effort of those in DRC, and in Zambia, one can see the degree of deterioration is proportional to the level of development at the time of independence, and the time elapsed since independence.  Again supporting the mathematical probability of South Africa’s infrastructural future.  As mentioned in PART 1 of this


Kapulo is located 45 km ENE of Pweto, approximately 40km north of the NE corner of Lake Mweru. It is situated just into the hills leading to the Marungo Plateau, immediately east of the Mweru depression.

Pweto is an administrative centre and port on the north side of Lake Mweru, immediately east of the point where the Luvua River flows out of the lake, to become the famous Congo River. The road from Lubumbashi to Pweto (and hence the route from Dikulushi to Pweto) is broken by the Luvua River. Crossing the river with a vehicle is possible on the Office des Route barge for a fee of 500 000 to 1 000 000 New Zaires if you can provide the bargemaster with a 12V battery and 4 litres of diesel. The maximum carrying capacity of this barge would appear to be around 5 ton and maximum vehicle length would be 6-7m.

There is a road from Pweto to Zambia on the east side of Lake Mweru. This route crosses the Lunkinda River, which forms the border 10 km east of Pweto. The bridge over the Lunkinda at this border has been destroyed and this route is presently impassable to vehicles. (During the course of this visit to Pweto two engineers from Ingenue Sans Frontiere arrived in Pweto with the stated intention of putting a new bridge at this crossing. Regular contact with these engineers is recommended to chart the progress of this bridge. Some assistance may speed up the construction.)

From Pweto access to Kapulo village is 57,5km along the Pweto-Puta-Moba road. Kapulo village is at S 8º 18′ 14.8”, E 29º l4′ 45.8”, 1 395m above sea level (GPS readings). The road is 4WD only and would prove virtually impassable in the wet season, starting late September.

The Shaba prospect is presently accessible by foot from Kapulo (20 minutes walk along steep slopes). It is near the base of a valley formed by a river that feeds into the Lunkinda River (variously referred to as the Kafwakumba River and the Poshia River). Vehicle access for previous work was made via a track cleared along this riverbed. Although now grown over, largely by bamboo it should be possible to clear this track for dry season access. Wet weather access would be problematic.




This recce trip took place during September and November 1997. During September 1997, by road from “Kilwa” to” Pweto”, a distance of 140 km. The road is very difficult, especially the section along the West Side of Lake “Mweru”. From “Kaikalamu” to “Pweto”. There are several bridges along this route, which are unserviceable. The river crossings at these bridges are very steep and while they are satisfactory for ordinary 4 x 4’s in the dry season would be very risky for truck-mounted drilling machines. It should be kept in mind that drill trucks are in the order of 23 tons and usually have to tow a heavily loaded four-wheel trailer.

About 5 km southwest of “Pweto” the road is interrupted by the “Luvua” river which discharges out of Lake “Mweru” to become the “Zaire” river. At this point, a diesel-powered ferry is in use to carry vehicles across the “Luvua” river. This ferry is a trimaran arrangement with wheelhouse and 6-cylinder engine mounted to the rear of the centre pontoon. The vehicles are loaded across the pontoons from port to starboard and vice versa. The maximum vehicle length is 9metres and maximum width is 2,4 meters. The operator claims the ferry can carry an all up load of 30 tons. This figure is very much in doubt. Most likely the ferry could handle a well loaded 7 ton truck, The engine and pontoons appear to be in fairly good order, but the pontoon decks are rusting through in places and conditions may be worse inside the pontoons.


The road continues from the ferry crossing to the town of “Pweto”. Along this route 2 bridges/culverts have been washed away and in their present state would not be passable by truck mounted drill rigs, however, an ordinary 4 x 4 can pass across these water courses during the dry season. These 2 structures would have to be rebuilt to effect wet season crossings. There is also a water course across the main street between the port and the central business district where a bridge or culvert has collapsed and 4-wheel drive is necessary to cross.

The C.B.D. of “Pweto” is very dilapidated. There is no evidence of electricity, running water or any kind of motor vehicle in the town. It is unlikely that any modern service would be available in “Pweto”.

The offices of the “Secretary of Maritime” control the so-called port of “Pweto”. The port has no structures and consists of the continuation of the main street to the beach on Lake Mweru. Ships of an estimated capacity of 50 tons are anchored about 100 meters offshore and loaded via the smaller 6-meter long wooden “clinker built” boats from the beach. In some cases the cargo is carried out to the ship on the heads of the ship loading labour force.  This method was seen during the recce visit. The bigger (50 ton capacity) ships are reportedly bound for “Kasenga” with produce destined for “Lubumbashi”.

The road out of “Pweto” to the north is reported to be no longer in use and was not investigated. The road out of “Pweto” to the east leads to the Congo / Zambia border, “Lunkinda” on the Congo side and “Chipungu” on the Zambian side. The road to “Kapulo” starts to the north about 5 km east of  “Pweto” at a small church market called “Nsomboshi”. It is 45 km to “Kapulo” and travelling time is 2,5 hours in a Land Rover. This would equate to 5 or 6 hours for a truck-mounted drilling convoy.

There are 2 bridges on this road that are in need of minor repairs. In addition to bridge repairs, it is recommended that the road be cleared of vegetation and potholes and wash-aways be repaired by hand. Past experience has shown that this labour intensive operation can halve travelling time on these types of roads.

In Summary – “Kilwa – Pweto – Kapulo” Road:

The road from “Lubumbashi” to “Kilwa” is known to be in a very bad state and is nearing the end of its life in many places.

The road from “Kilwa” to “Pweto” is passable by ordinary 4 x 4’s and can be used by such if necessary, however, this road is closed to drill rigs by the limits of the ferry crossing at the “Luvua” river and other risky water course crossings mentioned above.

Lake transport for heavy vehicles from “Kasenga” to “Pweto” is an option at this stage, although no suitable vessels exist on the lake and would have to be built, i.e. motorised barges or similar. Also a ramp or other vessel off-loading facility would have to be constructed at “Pweto” and maybe at “Kasenga”.

Access to “Kapulo” via “Kilwa” and “Pweto” for drilling convoys is at present not feasible. This reality led to an investigation of various road routes to “Kapulo” via Zambia. A report on this investigation follows.



Access to “Kapulo” via Zambia was carried out by means of a 2-pronged approach, namely:

  1. From “Nchelenge” in Zambia on the East Side of Lake “Mweru” using the lakeside road via “Mununga” and “Chiengi” to the Zambia / Congo border near “Pweto”.

2. From “Nchelenge” in Zambia via “Mununga, Kafulwe” and the “Mweru Wantipa” national park to the town of “Kaputa” and then to the Zambia / Congo border near the village of Musosa, at S. 8 24 17. E. 29 36 41.

Note: The road routes from the Zambian copper belt to and from “Nchelenge” have been described elsewhere – see report on Concentrate Transportation.

Dealing with the “Nchelenge” to “Pweto” road first. This road has a standard tar sealed surface until the northern outskirts of “Kashakishi”, where it reverts to a gravel surface. The gravel surface is in good condition and still has plenty of stone in it and is of sufficient thickness to allow it to be reshaped and graded for many years to come. The horizontal alignment is roughly parallel to the lake shoreline, except where high ground or ridges make it necessary to deviate away from the shoreline for 1 – 2 kms. Habitation along this road can be considered as one long village. Photo Q-18 is typical of the road surface on one of the deviations away from the shoreline. Photo Q-19 again shows road surface and fairly new lattice girder bridge over the river near “Mununga”. This bridge is 57 km north of “Nchelenge” by road. There are numerous concentrations of fishing activities on the lake to the West Side of the main road with side roads to the lake at these points. There is periodic evidence of minor road maintenance and rebuilding being carried out, probably by the district council. At a distance of 101 km from “Nchelenge “there is a district council controlled boom on the road at “Puta”. It is no trouble to pass through and the reason for its existence is unclear. Possibly to do with the transport of fish along this route. Photo Q-20 shows a typical road, village, lake scene with the northern shore of Lake “Mweru” in the background. Photos Q-21, Q-22 and Q-23 is a panoramic of the northern end of Lake “Mweru” taken from the village of “Chienge”. It shows the Mining Company’s Convention area in the background. “Pweto” would be just above the large thatch roof seen in photo Q-23. The road as it is to here (116 km from “Nchelenge”) is an all weather road.  The hard surface would make it passable by any vehicle without risk of becoming stuck. Average speed in L.R. is 50 km/hour.

Note: Work commenced in 2001 to upgrade this road from Kashakishi to Chienge. The work consists of re-shaping, re-surfacing and some small changes to the alignment.  The work is scheduled to take place over several years and is being carried out by Contractors J J Louwe from Lusaka. In addition a new three-conductor power line is being erected along this road, reportedly to Chienge.

At “Chienge”, S.8 39 39.  E. 29 09 40, the road turns northwest and falls to almost lake level and parallels Lake Mweru’s northern shoreline. The road here is shaped but not surfaced. Potholes and soft spots have developed, but it is still very safe for pick-ups and drill rigs.

Photo Q-24 shows typical road along northern shoreline of Lake “Mweru”.

The last village in Zambia is 131 km by road from “Nchelenge”. The small river which demarcates the Zambia  / Congo border is 2 – 3 km beyond the village at S. 8º 30′ 18″. E.28º58’22”.

On arrival at the Zambian immigration, post (see photo Q-27) the reconnaissance party asked if they could be informally shown the border crossing and be introduced to the Congo officials for preliminary discussions. The Zambian immigration chief, Simon Musonda agreed and the party saw the log foot bridge. The river crossing at this point is not passable by vehicular traffic. The bridge was apparently destroyed during the Mabuto regime in DR Congo, to prevent stolen vehicles from Zambia being taken to the then Zaire. Discussions with both Zambian and Congo immigration chiefs revealed that both parties would like to see the bridge reinstated now, as the situation has normalised, however, this would be a case for negotiations with the respective governments. It was noticed that several steel “I” beams had been dumped near the site of the bridge (they were not measured). Enquires revealed the beams were put there by Ingeniurs Sans Frontiers – Belgique ASBL (Engineers Without Borders – Belgium Non-Profit). The project administrator is Jean-Philippe Guisset, Tel. No. ++32-10-47 2466, e-mail is

Note: Ms Guisset has since contacted the Mining Company to ask for financial assistance to build this bridge. At this stage the intended design is not known. Further discussions with I.S.F. should take place, as this bridge could be useful to the Mining Company.

This is what is needed:


Sketch map: The reconnaissance party asked the respective immigration chiefs if use could be made of an unofficial (smuggler’s route) border / river crossing and for assistance in this regard. The two officers agreed and escorted the recce party to a point about 2 km downstream near where the river runs into Lake “Mweru”. This route necessitates going back about 600 meters and then turning towards the lake and driving along the beach. The river spreads out here on hard white sand. The maximum water depth was 450mm. Any 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 vehicle would have no trouble negotiating this crossing. The recce continued on to rejoin the main road to “Pweto” about 600 meters beyond the border.  The “Kapulo” road to the north was found at the church market of  “Nsomboshi” about 8 km west of the official border of “Lunkinda”. Please refer to the earlier part of this report for the description of the road from “Nsomboshi” to “Kapulo”.



As can be deduced, this route from “Nchelenge” to “Kapulo” has no real physical obstacles. The total distance – “Nchelenge” to “Kapulo” is in the order of:    “Nchelenge” – in the order of                                    135 km

Border via bypass to “Nsomboshi” (say)                                        18 km

“Nsomboshi” to “Kapulo”                                                               45 km

TOTAL                                                                                                       198 km

Note: There is no need to use the ferry, or to pass through “Pweto”.

A visit to the local governor in “Pweto” (Jean-Maria Mutolwa Chibuye – L’Administraer Du Territoire, Territoire De “Pweto”) with both immigration chiefs, Amos Kalyate of Congo and Simon Musonda of Zambia, confirmed that people, goods and equipment could be bought into Congo via the bypass (smugglers route) or new bridge if it is build, provided the relevant import permits and visas are in order. The recce’s visas issued in “Lubumbashi” were acceptable at this time. Permits and other documentation requirements would have to be firmed up prior to importing equipment into Congo.

Note: This crossing can only be used in the hours of daylight.

Photo Q-26 shows Congo commander Kayiji with AK 47 and Zambian immigration chief Musonda on right in short sleeves at border bypass crossing.

Notes of Interest: There are major villages at the bypass (smugglers route) river crossing. Their activities are devoted almost entirely to fishing. The Zambian village is “Mukese” and the Congo village is “Katomeno”. There is a small military presence in “Katomeno” commanded by Kayiji.

The recce was not allowed to travel the smuggler’s route after dark and slept in the village of Katomeno.  Tea and bread were provided by courtesy of commander Kayiji.  Zambian immigration chief Musonda returned early the next day to assist the recce back to Zambia.

At least 500 small 2-man boats put to sea every night. Their main catch is small Kapenta type fish that are laid out on the beach to dry.  The larger fresh-water bream fish are also amongst the catch.

Photo R-1 is typical of low area in Zambia adjacent to northern shoreline of lake “Mweru”, looking east.

Photos R-2, R-3 and R-4 are in and around the village of “Puta”, which is very smart and tidy with a school and council offices. Thousands of mango trees, but no fruit for sale.

Photo R-6 shows maintenance and rebuilding work on road drains by district council south of  “Chiengi”.

The governor at “Pweto”, although he speaks no English, said the recce and Mining Company are very welcome to come back, and should come to see him first, next time.

Dealing with the “Nchelenge” to “Kaputa” to “Kapulo” roads.  (Second prong). via MWERU WANTIPA NATIONAL PARK.

This reconnaissance trip effectively re-started at “Nchelenge” and traveled 58 km north to “Mununga”, then turned east on the road to “Nkoshya”. This road to the east is of good hard gravel and is well drained and kept in good repair. It has a rough surface, but there is no risk of getting stuck with any vehicle. Where pothole filling and other repairs have been carried out it has been done properly with the right material. Photo R-8 is typical of this road. At a road distance of 23 km from “Mununga” S. 9º 07′ 34″.  E. 29º 12′ 58″. The route turns off in a north-east direction almost directly to the town of  “Kaputa” and passes through the “Mweru Wantipa” national park and to the west side of Lake “Mweru Wantipa”. The road is similar to that already described. Photo R-10 shows typical road and part of Lake “Mweru Wantipa” to the northeast.

Note: This road is not shown on the map and the position of the lake does not plot correctly when compared to G.P.S. readings.

The entrance to the “Mweru Wantipa” national park is 47 km from the turn off or 70 km from “Mununga” and the northern exit is 111 km from “Mununga”. Photo R-12 is taken inside the national park. The truck seen in the photograph has been there a few months. Transit through the park is 24 / 24 hours.

The town of “Kaputa” is 124 km from “Mununga” and the road apparently continues on to “Kalaba” and “Bulaya”. In the general direction of lake Tanganyika.  At “Kaputa” there is a permanent police road block right in the middle of town. The Zambian police and C.I.D. record the name and passport details of all visitors passing through. The C.B.D. is small and consists of 2 short streets. Fuel and very basics such as groceries are available there. The police could not say much about the border or conditions there. The road to the border takes off to the left (north) just past the eastern outskirts of  “Kaputa”. It is 18 km from “Kaputa” to the Zambia  / Congo border at S. 8º 24′ 17″.  E. 29º 36′ 41″ (marked “B” on map). The road is winding and there are 2 log bridges with plank decking on route to the border.  One 2 km and the other 13 km from “Kaputa”. There is an assortment of small culverts made with logs, pieces of pipe, old drums and steel Armco type pipes. The side drains are narrow and overgrown. The road would be dangerous for loaded trucks and drill rigs. Clearing of bush, grass and other obstacles followed by culvert and pothole repairs is recommended before regular use of this road. It appears the Zambian roads department takes no interest in this road.  And therefore no interest in this part of Eastern DR Congo.

There is no immigration or customs presence on the Zambian side and the Congo immigration is in a hard to find house 2 – 3 km into Congo. The border itself is a stream with a broken down log bridge (see photos S-14 and S-15). As can be seen it is suitable for bicycle and pedestrian traffic only.

Photo S-16 shows vehicle route to the right through the grass. This would be risky during the wet season. In fact the recce party missed the Congo immigration office and traveled a further 4km before realising it was in the Congo. Locals were called upon to guide the recce party back to immigration and military offices. The village is called “Musosa” and is large by most standards and accommodates a military presence with a commander (Commander Nowa) and 2 – 3 other high ranking officers, together with 2 – 3 immigration officers. Immigration and internal security can be considered the same thing and negotiations should be focused on immigration first and military second. It is always good to try to involve the District Governor whenever possible. The recce party spoke to the commander, the immigration chief and the Governor and asked for an English-speaking escort to accompany the recce to “Kapulo”.

After prolonged but necessary discussions, which included a vehicle search, passport stamps and various other formalities, the recce party with escort (translator) set off at 18h30 Tuesday 18 November 1997 for “Kapulo”. The route was to go north to “Kampinda” and intersect the “Moba” to “Pweto” road, then carry on to the west to “Kapulo”.

Note: The local Governor, commander, immigration chief and the escort were all familiar with “Kapulo” and the copper deposit there. The recce was expected to find a military checkpoint there, but no commanding officer.

Note: It should be recorded that the recce took a wrong road to the northeast for 19 km. This road was very risky with rickety bridges and open culverts. The recce on this road stopped at S. 8º 17′ 45″. E. 29º 42′ 22″. After seeking information the correct road out of the village was found at S. 8º 22′ 34″. E. 29º 38′ 08″ which is about 4 km from the commander’s office, but still in the village of “Musosa” recorded as km 164.

The road starts to climb immediately out of the village. At 3 km from the village a small log bridge would have to be rebuilt, or replaced by 2 x 750 mm concrete pipes.

At 11 km from the village at S. 8º 17′ 45″. E. 29º 36′ 00″ altitude 1 300 m A.M.S.L., there is a high log bridge 2,5 to 3,0m above a fast flowing stream. While the bridge is reliable for ordinary 4 x 4’s it would have to be completely rebuilt for use by 6 x 6 mounted drill rigs. See photos S-12 and S-13. Not shown in the photos are the log abutments that are in disarray. There are abundant stands of timber in the area for this purpose.

The road continues to climb to a high point of 1 745 m A.M.S.L. At a distance by road of 29 km from “Musosa” there is approximately 75% continuous village to this high point and a few kilometers of village beyond. Photo S-11 shows typical road and village at this point.

Note: As can be seen by the G.P.S. plot, this road does not intersect the “Moba-Pweto” road at “Kampinda” as predicted. There is a small village at the “T” junction intersection. This “T” junction is 32 km from “Musosa” at S. 8º 10′ 13″.  E. 29º 31′ 23″.

It appears the wrong road taken earlier by the recce may be the correct route to “Kampinda”, however, it is not recommended for any purpose.

The average comfortable speed for the last 32 km has been 20 km / hour, probably 25 km/hour in daylight. The road being on high ground offers nor risk to ordinary 4 x 4’s and 6 x 6 trucks, however, it is recommended that the normal hand clearing and minor road repairs be undertaken.

From the “T” junction at S. 8º 10′ 13″.  E. 29º 31′ 23″. the recce party followed the “Pweto” road. There is a gentle fall to a point which is 35 km from “Musosa” at S. 8º 10′ 59″ E. 29º 30′ 14″. At this point there is a Bailey bridge with wood plank decking. It is constructed with a standard single lattice girder each side. Its span is 8,5 m. This bridge has 6 main pins missing and needs at least 10 diagonal girder stays. The abutments are concrete blocks and are in good order, but are very low to the water. This bridge being low and in its weakened state, runs the risk of high floods exerting sideways force which it would not be able to withstand. See photos S-2, S-3 and S-5. It is recommended that missing parts be replaced as soon as possible and secondly the bridge be lifted about 1,0 m and placed on new abutments. This bridge only has one crossbeam clamp.  It requires at least 10 additional clamps to be installed. The approaches each side for at least 1 km are badly eroded and would initially require hand labour to speed up driving times. See photos S-4 looking east and S-6 looking west.

There are 2 waterlogged areas in black mud with no trees. These are respectively at 42 km and 48 km from “Musosa”. The already shallow fill embankment across these areas has collapsed in many places and trucks have been forced to take many different detours making driving conditions either side of the shallow fill risky. Photo R-24 shows shallow unused fill on left-hand side and photo R-25 shows unused fill on right-hand side.

Note: It had been raining for several days prior to these photos. Photo R-26 shows top of typical fill with sunken wheel tracks each side. Both of these waterlogged areas are about 2 km in length.

These 2 waterlogged areas would be very risky for drill rigs even after a few days rain, but are probably passable all year by ordinary 4 x 4’s. It appears that any remedial work undertaken should be focused on the fill embankments and drainage culverts under them. This would include cutting the fill down say 750 mm, install pipe culverts, scarify and compact, and rebuild embankment up to level. A borrow pit would have to be located first.

The remaining 24 km to “Kapulo” can be traveled at a comfortable 15 km / hour average in a Land Rover. The road is mainly on high ground with occasional small stream approaches and exits badly eroded. See photo R-22 as typical of this situation. Also some sections of standing water, as seen on photo R-23, are typical. In some instances, detours are in evidence. Most of the erosion and standing water sections can be improved by hand labour. The decent into the valley where “Kapulo” is situated is steep and rocky with wheel track erosion evident in some places. There is about 4 km of descent to reach “Kapulo”, however hand labour could be used as an effective means to repair this road in order to speed up travel on this section. Photo R-15 overlooks the “Kapulo” valley and shows typical decent road conditions. There is a small log bridge on the outskirts of  “Kapulo” that would need rebuilding, see photo R-16, if regular traffic were to be using this road. There is sufficient standing timber in the area to rebuild with.

At “Kapulo”, 74 km by road from “Musosa” S.8º 18′ 16″. E. 29º 14′ 42″.     Altitude is 1 460 m A.M.S.L.  The predicted roadblock was there and in an angry state of mind as they say the recce party had failed to stop for them 2 days ago going in the opposite direction. The recce’s escort who had some seniority soon told the roadblock personnel the error of their ways.  It seems some other party in a white Land Rover passed through the roadblock traveling east towards Goba.  The occupants are not known.

Note: Some of these military roadblocks in Congo are very flimsy and can not be recognised as anything.  A thin stick and or a tin on the side of the road could be a roadblock with the soldiers some distance away.

The recce went on to explain the purpose of the visit and asked for assistance in finding the “Kapulo” mine site. The military indicated that the owner? a certain Mr. Francois Kapulo would have to be informed and his permission obtained. Mr Kapulo was found at his house about 1 km walk up the hill to the north of the roadblock and village. He was an old black man and not up to a visit to the mine site. He did, however, give his permission for the recce to visit the mine site and one of his men Kalula Kandola to act as guide. The military, now very friendly, agreed to guard the recce vehicle and one of them would assist by carrying the water and mangos on the mine site walk.

The mine site visit involved walking back along the “Moba” road to a point near the Log Bridge on the outskirts of “Kapulo” and turning south. The foot track went over the ridge and was followed by a long decent into the valley to the location of the mine site, where the adit at S. 8º 19′ 28″. E. 29º 14′ 16″. The walk from “Kapulo” village to the adit took 45 minutes. This route could not be used by vehicular traffic. The use of D6 or D7 bulldozer would be required to make roads in this terrain. The guide brought to notice a vehicle track passing below the adit and continuing south to where he said a man was looking for emeralds.

The recce walked about 1,5 km along this old vehicle path to the overburden, which was apparently from the emerald excavations. See photo R-17 taken at S. 8º 19′ 42″. E.29º14’18”. Looking west and showing emerald overburden and typical vegetation.

The vehicle path carried on to the south reportedly all the way to Lake “Mweru”. This may be worth investigating some time. It is interesting to note that Lake “Mweru” is visible from certain vantage points around “Kapulo”. Exploration geologists should make a point of finding and clearing vehicle paths in the area. The intersection of 3 such paths was recorded at S.8º18’48” E. 29º 14′ 05″. Another spot on a vehicle road was recorded at S.18º19’21”. E.29º14′ 11″. No further effort was made here; The recce party returned directly to “Kapulo” village.

The recce party was invited to eat with the military (brown beans and maize meal) and in return the recce’s escort, Paul Mesengo, carried mail and other documents back to “Musosa”. Paul Mesengo is in fact a Zambian acting as a mercenary to the Congo A.N.R. He is very responsible and has done a tour of duty in “Pweto”, speaks good enough English and seems to be well respected within the military structure in the area. He is one of the soldiers who actually get paid. It would be worth while to look him up next time one is in the vicinity.

Note 1: The military do not charge for the use of an escort. They view it as a free motorised patrol, which enables them to gather intelligence quickly, some time should be allowed for this intelligence gathering. At times the military commanders have to be reminded of the benefits of a free motorised patrol.

Note 2: Photo R-18 shows from left to right: escort Paul Mesengo, Kalula Kandola the mine guide, front chief of roadblock and right soldier who accompanied recce on foot to mine site. Photos R-20 and R-21 are “Kapulo” soldiers posing on the back of the Land Rover.

The recce party returned to “Musosa” the average comfortable speed in daylight was 22 km/hr to the Bailey bridge (39 km) and 24 km/hr from Bailey bridge to the commander’s office in “Musosa” (41 km).

The recce party thanked commander Nowa and the chief of immigration. Paul Mesengo took the recce right to the border. He was financially rewarded.

Note: 1 Several tribal or village officials were keen to find out more of what the Mining company was going to do in the light of future employment for village people. There is certainly a ready source of willing labour in this area. Wages would be US$1,00 to US$2,00 per day per person. Inquiries for this labour would start at the Governor and end with the chief.

Note: 2 Generally the chief sends the labour required and a list of names is recorded. The presence or absence of each worker is recorded each day and payment is made based on this record.

The recce left the Congo into Zambia and reported to Zambian police at “Kuputa”, and so ends the recce narrative of the “Kapulo” via “Kaputo” route.

NOTES: The road from Kaputa to Kapulo should be treated in two parts.

  1. Up to the Bailey bridge at 35 km from Musosa.
  2. From the Bailey bridge to Kapulo.

The first section has no risk and there is the basis of a sound road.  One however should take notice of the small log culverts both sides of the border and in the village of Musosa.  They could lead to minor delays if they collapsed or the driver missed them in wet conditions. The border bridge was destroyed years ago to prevent vehicle theft has been rebuilt only sufficiently to accommodate cycle and pedestrian traffic.  Arrangements would have to be made with Congo and Zambia authorities to re-establish this border crossing.  Initial work would include –

  1. Clearing vegetation close to the road.
  2. Installation and repairs of minor culverts.
  3. Re-opening of road drains.
  4. Draining standing water and backfilling larger holes with gravel.

It is envisaged this work being carried out by means of local labour using their own tools and minimum equipment such as Tipper Truck, Front End Loader and small compactor.  There should also be an experienced road foreman and mechanic.


Distances from “Nchelenge”:

“Nchelenge” to” Mununga”                                                          58 km

“Mununga” to “Kaputa”                                                               124 km

“Kaputa” to “Musosa”                                                                    21 km

“Musosa” to” Kapulo”                                                                    80 km

  TOTAL                                                                                                  283 km

Note : that this is 85 km longer than the “Pweto” route.

Other Points of Note: There is much repair work to do on roads and bridges prior to taking truck mounted drill rigs to “Kapulo” via “Kaputa”.

There is no official Zambian presence at the border.

It is believed the road to “Moba” is in similar condition to the roads described here, based on reports of drivers coming from “Moba” and therefore similar road conditions to “Kalemie” based on other reports and my own experience south of “Kalemie”.

There appears to be no through road from “Kaputa” to the port of “Mpulungu” at the south end of Lake “Tanganyika” in Zambia.

This route is at present not comparable to the “Pweto” route but should nevertheless be kept in mind as a backstop and potential route to “Kalemie”.    

The recce party examined the road from Nchelenge to Kawambwe to Mporokoso and on to the port of Mpulungu at the south end of Lake Tanganyika.  Details of the roads and the port are available if required.


Q-18 Typical Road north of Nchelenge.
Q-19 - Copy (2)
Q-19 Mununga Bridge at km 56.


Q-20 - Copy (2)
Q-20 Typical road, lake and village scene on Zambian side of lake Mweru.
Q-23 - Copy (2)
Q-23At Chienge on the N E Corner of Lake Mweru S. 8º 30’ 39” E. 29º 09’ 40
Q-24 KAPULO - Copy (2)
Q-24 Typical road along the north end of Lake Mweru between Chiengi and Pweto
Q-25 KAPULO - Copy (2)
Q-25 Congo military commander Kayaji from Katomelo in blue and Zambian Immigration chief Musonda in short sleeves.
Q-26 Congo Commander Kayiji from Katomeno in blue with AK 47 and Zambian Immigration officer Simon Musonda on right at the river crossing on the smugglers route between Katomeno and Mukese.
Q-27 KAPULO. - Copy
Q-27 Zambian Border Officials.
R-1 KAPULO. - Copy
R-1 Road along north side of Lake Mweru
R-2 KAPULO. - Copy
R-2 Typical road along north side of Lake Mweru
R-3 KAPULO. - Copy
R-3 “PUTA” A better village on Zambia side Lake Mweru
R-4 KAPULO. - Copy
R-4 “PUTA” A better village on ZAMBIA side of Lake Mweru looking south.
R-6 Road works Zambia side of Lake Mweru.
R-10 Road to Kaputa at km 40. Lake Mweru Wantipa to right. Looking north
R-12 Road inside Mweru Wantipa National Park. km 54.
R-15 Start decline down to Kapula on Moba road.
R-16 Small log bridge km 237 just before Kapulo. near start of walking track to mine.
R-17 So-called emerald Exploration site near copper workings Kapulo S. 8 19 42. E. 29 14 18. Looking west to stream.
R-18 From L. to R. the Recce’s escort from the border Paul Masengo in green, the guide to the mine Francois Kapulo and two Kapulo soldiers.
R-21 Typical road to Kapulo.
R-22 Typical standing water on road from Moba to Kapulo.
R-23 Typical waterlogged road to Kapulo. The original road embankment is to the left and overgrown in this case.
R-24 Typical waterlogged black mud. log culvert in foreground and original road embankment on right. this is a dangerous area.
R-25 Subsiding wheel tracks on unused road embankment. Too soft to drive on.
R-26 Land Rover in black mud area.
S-2 Bailey bridge at km 199. S. 8 10 59. E. 29 30 14.
S-3 Bailey bridge at km 199. NOTE: all of the diagonal girder stays are missing on this side.
S-5 Dreaming about the road back to Johannesburg
S-11 Typical Village at High Spot (1700M) on Kapulo road near Goba road “T” junction.
S-12 Log bridge at km 175. S. 8 17 45. E. 29 36 00. The bridge is 2,5 TO 3,0 meters above river bed.
S-13 Log bridge at km 175. The log-stack abutment was found to be in disarray and will have to be re-built
S-14 The Zambia Congo border bridge north of Kaputa at km 318
S-15 Close up of border bridge at km 318
S-16 Vehicle by-pass to east (right) through grass at km 318. Dry conditions only.