Almost 1 year since one of my greatest adventure so far! Traveled to other places last year, but nothing compared to our African Adventure. 1st - it was my big 3 birthday present, 2nd - it was a huge dream of mine to visit Africa and 3rd - because it was simply awesome!
Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo were the countries we visited. But I’m not gonna talk too much about the first one since our main activities were in DR Congo. It was supposed to be one single article, but I babbled way too much, so I made it in two parts. On this first part I’m gonna say a few words about Bukima and Gorilla Trekking, my Nyiragongo struggle and a beautiful lodge in the midle of nowhere.
Compared to other trips, it wasn’t as easy to plan, but the guys from Virunga have a professional website, good customer support and they are very helpful! They helped us with our visas for DR Congo, they offer transportation from one point to another and they even rent equipment for the Nyiragongo climb. We chose to fly in Rwanda because it’s easier to get from Kigali to Goma by car then to land directly in DR Congo. ;)
First activity was trekking to see Mountain Gorillas. Considering that there are less than 1000 left on this planet, that 98% of our DNA is similar and they are some freaking majestic creatures I would say it was quite great to see them so close! When you are face to face with them you realize just how much we have in common and it’s absolutely mesmerizing to observe them. You need to know that if you are sick (even a small cold), they won't take you to see them. Every family has a name, we visited Nyakamwe Family, they know exactly how many members are in that family and they are putting a great effort into keeping a safe environment for them!
On our way back, we got caught by rain and we arrived soaking wet to our accommodation. I also experienced jungle ant bites! It’s like stepping on a lego that crawls on you, gets in your underwear, under your armpits and burns! They are called Fire Ants for a reason! Horrible little creatures! Oh! And the noise in the jungle is incredible! I was expecting a quite walk in the forest, but it is a continuous noise around you, a beautiful and fascinating one. It was a real surprise for me!
Getting back to our accommodation at Bukima: it was a beautiful tent in the middle of nowhere, with millions of stars above, red volcano light in front, Mount Mikeno (the second highest peak in the Virunga Mountains - 4437m) on our right, and bizarre shapes of jungle trees on our left! A glass of wine and a campfire made us forget about our wet clothes!
Leaving the romance aside and on a funnier note, you must know that the only solution we had to dry our clothes was to put them above the stove and when it was time to take a shower we announced our desire and one guy came rushing with two buckets with hot water! Quite a shower it was! 🙈 And because it was soooo cold at night, they put hot water bottles on our bed at night!
Our next step on our agenda was Nyiragongo Volcano. A 6 hour hike to summit, to the biggest lava lake in the world! The main crater is about two kilometres wide! I was over the moon excited and sounded pretty easy at the moment! Except that it was a 6 hour hike in the pouring rain and wind. The route is well planned and has like 5 stops. When we got to the first stop, I was still brave and fearless! Around stop no. 2 my thoughts about quitting came to mind, but the view from above kept me going! After stop no. 3 I really wanted to quit. The lava rocks were a big problem as I had to watch my every step and the rain didn't helped at all. Having Cornel encouraging and pushing me (sometimes literally) kept me going! At stop no. 4 I was convinced that I’m not gonna make it. I was seriously thinking that I can camp there until the next day when my husband will pick me up, on his way down. But after our 5th stop I couldn’t think anymore and the only words I kept repeating to myself were “one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other”. The lack of oxygen was no help also! 😅 That was until we got to the summit and I immediately forgot all about my struggles! Seeing such a huge lava lake, being so close to it, hearing and feeling the Earth boiling underneath us was quite something! That is a feeling I will never forget! I turned 30 on top of Nyiragongo Volcano! My husband even carried with him, at 3470m altitude, a small bottle of red wine! 🙈 I really couldn’t ask for more!
In case you're wondering, our way back was easy breazy, took only 2hours, no rain and no wind! ☺️
The next day, since it was my big day, we relaxed in a bungalow, at Mikeno Lodge. In the middle of the jungle, with a view over the savannah, surrounded by monkeys! But most important with a laundry service. After Gorilla trekking and Nyiragongo, ALL of our clothes were dirty, wet and/or stinky! In case they don’t offer a complimentary laundry service anymore, it might be our fault! 🤭
Thank you for reading so far, I promise Part II won't be as cheesy as this one!