I can’t imagine you’ll ever find yourself in the town of Lukala. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself worse for wear on the side of the road and this was the only logical place to end up. I arrived in Lukala and soon ended up in the medical care of the hospital with a tough case of malaria. I probably would have spent the night here anyways, but in hindsight, if you’re around you’d be better off just shooting straight through to Mbanza-Ngunu instead. If you do come to Lukala, be sure you find Mama Bridgette, get yourself a bowl of her food, and tell her I said hi!
Where to Eat in Lukala
There aren’t really restaurant options here in Lukala. Instead, you’ll find plenty of little food stalls along the highway. There are a couple places that are more like bars, and they do some local grub usually as well. If you ask people in town for Mama Bridgette – everyone knows here – and you’ll be taken to her little street-side eatery. She’s amazing, so please, if you’re there, go say hi for me.
Where to Stay in Lukala
There are two hotels in town both of abysmal standards. The one I stayed at was nameless. If you’re coming from Kinshasa the hotel will be on the right side of the road. If you ask people, they can point you to it. I paid about $8 a night and had a private room and a big bed. It was pretty rough and I didn’t have electricity the whole time I was there. There are just squat toilets, and they’ve seen better days. However, as much as I could complain, I left all my valuables there for the 2 days I was in the hospital and when I returned, they were still there.
Communications and Banking in Lukala
There is meant to be one internet place in town, but when I was there it wasn’t working. You can buy SIM cards and data top-ups at just about any street-side vendor. If you need cash, you’re likely in a bit of trouble. There are no international bank machines nearby. The closest one will likely be in Mbanza-Ngunu. You can probably find a Western Union in the neighboring town to the west, though if you’re in a pickle.
If you’re trying to get out of Lukala, you wont have to wait too long. There is a constant stream of vehicles passing through town with either the border of Angola or Kinshasa as their final destination. There is no bus terminal of any sorts, just wave down a shared taxi or a mini-bus on the highway.