Visit to Erupting Volcano in The Virunga Massif

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 path to the eruption.  DRC.  AoC 2011A 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.

Nyamulagira at left of fissure.  DRC.  Art of Conservation 2011.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.

Room with a view.  DRC.  Art of Conservation 2011During 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.

Eruption in DRC.  Art of Conservation.   2011Nyamulagira last erupted in 2010. November 6th it began again.

Close up of erupting volcano in DRC. AoC 2011View 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.

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2 Comments

  1. cheryl
    Posted November 27, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    This is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Was it hot?

  2. Posted November 28, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    You’re welcome, Cheryl! It wasn’t hot or sulfur smelling from the distance we maintained. My photos are not so great. Challenging with extreme lighting and sky and landscape! One of these days you’ll get here!

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