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NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton admires some old maps from the Belgian Congo.

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Congo Odyssey, Day One: 'In The Mood For Adventure And Discovery'

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Congo Odyssey, Day One: 'In The Mood For Adventure And Discovery'

Elaborate hand-written maps for navigating the Congo River have been drawn for more than a hundred years. This vintage map, bearing colonial place names of the Belgian Congo, dates back to 1917. Jonathan Blakley/NPR hide caption

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Jonathan Blakley/NPR

Planning a Congo River odyssey is an exciting prospect. Researching the journey can be equally satisfying, especially when it takes you way back in history, to the early 20th century, seeing maps that were designed back in the early 1900s — manuals for navigating the Congo River.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton admires some old maps from the Belgian Congo.

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/129523437/129524141" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

That immediately puts you in the mood for adventure and discovery. Identifying the colonial names for cities, such as Stanleyville for present-day Kisangani, takes you straight there — to our first stop this week along the fabled river.