There is a place...
Towering above the rest of the Central African plateau on the canopy of the Rift Valley is the mother of resistance, a remnant surviving pillar from the great Pleistocene era that saw the grand-scale disappearance of fauna and flora. The Cooler Ages dominated climates, reconstructing habitats in the wake and flushing organisms to diversify, survive or fall victim to the advanced ecological processes. It must be noted though, there was one particular kingdom of resilience that managed to not exhaust itself in full, and shielded life within, rather beautifully, arrogantly. This phenomenal outreach of mountain peaks, distribution of volcanoes, soil-smelling forests and mega-fantastic wildlife goes by the alias, ALBERTINE RIFT.
Before we give thanks to the endangered Mountain Gorilla who resides within, that parts its presence in peace, we must first understand the magnitude of life in all that this refugium of diversity harbours. Life in the valleys below where pushed to their limits and the altitudinal diversity and available niches where abundant within the Albertine. So, it is not surprising, but equally fascinating that the Albertine Rift is home to 402 recorded species of mammals, about 39% of all the mammals in all mainland Africa. Lets ignore the lack of bat and rodent research for the time being.
A landscape totally dominated by Volcanoes and one of our closest living relatives is only bound to leave you in ancestral awe of how life on Earth came to be and how it continues to mutate through the process of modification, natures marvellous metamorphosis like that of the grand Charaxes butterfly. Spending a day in search of a relaxed family of gorillas, walking on soft foot-deep leaf litter and humus, an audible surround of unidentifiable bird presence and a canopy of trees above you thriving with more life than we could ever wish to uncover, the sensory overload is intense. This is the type of safari, or more accurately deep-nature-experience that without fail prepares lifelong experiential memories.
And, to spend a day using your legs to summit the Nyiragongo Volcano, the largest bubbling mass of lava currently spitting fire from the core of the Earth... there is no definition worthy of this pit of questions and answers. It is true, you can peer into the bellowing mass and ascertain all we ought to understand, for what lies before you does arise from the very centre of the planet we habituate.
A lot must be thanked to the many people who strive for a working model of eco-tourism-conservation within this confusingly unsettled region, the people who call it home and prefer to smile and protect this marvel against all the odds.
There is a place...
It goes by the name of Virunga National Park and it is a conservation success story and sensory experiential destination par excellence. Long may we be able to Immerse ourselves in Africa’s oldest National Park.
A Forest Mirror
An Enchantment, Humbly Communicating
Walkways at Bukima Camp
The newly built Kibumba Camp overlooking the lava glow of Mount Nyiragongo
Shared inhabitats of Mikeno Lodge
How we as humans share so many qualities of the Gorilla
Virunga Gorilla Trackers and Guides
We have a lot to learn
The Roar of Nyiragongo
The Room View from the summit of Nyiragongo
A settling cup of Tea inside a small hut on the summit of Nyiragongo
The Valley Below
Black Capped Waxbill