Travel author and photographer Peter Moore reveals the story behind this issue’s cover image.

I took this photo as I bounced my way across the north east of the DRC on the back of an old Mercedes truck.

The Democratic Republic of Congo was still called Zaire then. When the driver stopped at Epulu to visit one of his ‘girlfriends’, I took the opportunity to hop off and get myself a drink.

They don’t get many visitors in Epulu so the patrons of the Chez Mastaki Bar greeted me like a long-lost friend.

Plastic containers on the back of a truck in the Democratic Republic of Congo
A truck broken down in the middle of nowhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Epulu sits right next door to the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, home to the largest population of okapi, forest elephants and chimpanzees in the DRC. 

I’d like to say that I shared a Primus or two with the guys at Chez Mastaki.

Or that I had at least taken a swig of the homemade hooch they were knocking back, straight from a wooden bowl. 

But I was going to be spending the next couple of hours riding high on a cargo of plastic containers, so I simply ordered a coke instead. 

It turns out, I needn’t have worried.

The truck broke down barely five kilometres down the road. I slept underneath it while the driver spent all night fixing it.

I could have had my fill of Zairean beer after all.

Main image: Patrons at the Chez Mastaki Bar in Epulua, DRC (© Peter Moore)