Until late 2011, nobody had ever successfully navigated the Inga Rapids on the Congo river in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
That’s not to say nobody had ever tried.
For centuries, foreigners attempted and failed to conquer what’s become known as the “Cauldron of Hell.” Dr. David Livingstone’s friend Frank Vardon drowned at the Inga in 1877. In 1974, an expedition navigated the entire Congo river except for one unpassable segment: the Inga Rapids. And in 1985, a French raft expedition through the rapids ended in tragedy, with 7 rafters losing their lives in the Inga’s swirling brown waters.
Despite a cloud of doom and failure hanging over Inga, which some consider the largest rapids in the world, kayak pro Steve Fisher vowed to be the first through the gauntlet.
In 2007, he traveled to Kinshasa and applied for a permit, getting himself arrested in the process after authorities wrongly accused him of spying for Uganda. Finally, four years after applying, that permit was granted and Fisher’s dream paddled into reality.
“Congo: The Grand Inga Project” captures the adventure undertaken by Fisher and fellow unfazable kayakers Tyler Bradt, Ben Marr and Rush Sturges.
Check out the trailer above. The full 80-minute film is available on iTunes.