A few days ago I grabbed my backpack and crossed the Rwandan border into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to catch a view of an erupting volcano. The volcano, Nyamulagira, is located in the 7800 square km Virunga National Park which is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities (ICCN) and its partner the Africa Conservation Fund.
A great group of hikers and I are safe with ICCN rangers and guides leading us the way to Nyamulagira during afternoon hours.
You are probably asking yourself, “But how are the gorillas and the forest?” Fortunately they are ok, for now. Please read more here from ICCN.
Source: Gorillas and Volcanoes by LuAnne, gorilla.cd
Gorillas: The gorillas are safe and far from the eruption site. There has been no noticeable change in their behavior according to the rangers who monitor them. They have lived around volcanoes for as long as anyone knows, so a small eruption about 13 km away seems not to disturb their world.
My foot is supposed to help you see the distance we maintained from Nyamulagira’s erupting fissure. The 400,000 year old volcano itself stands to the left of my foot. The new lava fountain flowed out from the flatness nearby Nyamulagira.
Once we arrived at the camp site which ICCN quickly created for excited onlookers, we dropped our heavy packs and grabbed our cameras to get a closer look. As the sun went down, colors accompanied by nature’s guttural growling left us all in wonderment.
During the night, we peered from our tents at the spectacle that never ceased giving us an amazing exhibition.
At 4:30 in the morning, guides woke us for our last closeup viewing of the eruption. We walked as close as permissable to take more photos as well as reflect at nature’s way with the rising of the sun on our backs.
Nyamulagira last erupted in 2010. November 6th it began again.
View of Nyamulagira’s lava fountain.
Just goes to show us, the laws of nature are still alive and well. Thanks goes to all those at ICCN to make this special trek possible.