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Published: November 17th 2011
What an intimidating country Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) seems to be and it is clear when arriving at the Rwandan border town of Gisenyi. From the relative safety of Gisenyi it is easy to view over the lake into Goma which is the border town for DRC and is known as the one of the most dangerous cities in the world (for political and environmental reasons). Looking further afield your eyes start heading skyward until you reach a cloud of smoke at the most active volcano in Africa and one of the most in the world. Here you are staring at the Nyiragongo volcano which in 2002 covered half of Goma in a layer of lava.
Then looking even further afield you will notice another larger cloud of smoke heading skyward, this is another volcano that had a massive eruption within the two weeks. During the night time when the clouds are clear the sky over DRC is bright red from the two active volcanoes, yes this place is an intimating country. Other severe dangers include Lake Kivu and the Limnic Eruptions which has the potential to wipe out the whole city due to the massive amount of
carbon dioxide in the lake. It will literally suffocate the city. The other concern is, well it is Congo and has a reputation for a reason and with an election looming in one month tensions are very very high.
But at the same time it still has a pull factor for this reason and as we found out, visits to both Goma and the volcanoes can be arranged for an extreme trip but we will get to that soon..
So back to the main topic, Gisenyi is situated on Lake Kivu and is known as the beach resort town for Rwanda so it is the place where the locals come to relax and have some time on the ‘beach’. Well that’s about it for Gisenyi.
And back to DRC, well it is what everyone here talks about here. Other backpackers we bump into head away disappointed as they realize how dangerous the country is and how expensive it is to get a visa on the border (280 dollars) but they didn’t know something that we did, a name and number. Another fellow blogger (FreeSpirit) recently done this trip and has published a blog on both Goma and
the Nyiragongo volcano with a contact number of at the bottom of each blog.
They are both a great read and fully make aware of how dangerous this country is. But the prospect of sleeping on the rim of the most active volcano is Africa for some reason still feels like a good idea as well as two other Americans whom we meet at the hotel we were staying at. FreeSpirit mentioned to us in an email that over his 33 months of travel, this was his highlight.
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