Rwanda / DR-Congo

Volcano: Nyiragongo

  16th of Januar to 26th of January 2011

 Ch.Weber, J.Edelmann, M.Szeglat, R.Roscoe, M.Rietze, Th.Boeckel

in deutsch

 Cinema

Nyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. BoeckelNyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. BoeckelNyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. BoeckelNyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. Boeckel

Nyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. BoeckelNyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. BoeckelNyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. BoeckelNyiragongo 2011, Berg Gorillas Kongo, by Th. Boeckel


Coming from Rwanda/Kigali, going to Goma

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

In a positively manner the country Rwanda welcomed us. The current impression of a traveler from people and country was the perfect contrast to the former dismal history of this land, the genocide 16 years before. This historical event, an incomprehensible human tragedy in the African history adhered almost in everyones head. The present shows instead a colorful country wich deals openly with it's past. The town Kigali appears modern and in the rural areas you are always cordially welcomed as a tarveller. The feeling of trepidation was taken from me in all visited parts of the country very fast. I had the impression that the Rwandan people are again proudly on their 'new' country by watching open minded into their future.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

The won liberal feeling ends abruptly with the border crossing into the Congo. The social downward gradient decreases steady on a distance of 200m, and when the tar streets are ending you can be sure arriving Goma. The city is split. The UN on the one side, the other side is situated in the dirt. Photographing in town is forbidden, but no one informs you, till you get ripped off by the civil police, and now you can 'enjoy' the corruption mill. After long negotiations we paid 50 dollar for punishment and I guess that this police guy will come back to our hotel the next day. And he came back and exalted the amount up to 60 dollar again. After our driver was held back for 3 hours and stubbornly refused the payment, the police gave up finally? For taking photos in the town centre you have to catch up a permission in combination with unknown costs. So far, it didn't worked at all. The tourist Ministry knew nothing about it, and after a while they interrogated Chris and Marc about our camera types with the attempt to classify us as“ professionals”. The total cost, the flabby amount of 5000 US $ per nose. As the employees became aggressive both left escape-like the so-called Ministry. Now we understand that we have to behave us in this city as unnoticeable as we can . Welcome in Goma! Up and away!

Mountain Gorillas in the Congo

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Far away from this ailing condition we reached the national park on a rough road or track after three hours. While fearing the rebels which are situated on the neighbour volcano only a few visitors get lost in this really wonderful area. This circumstance has the advantage, that at this place nearly undisturbed free-living mountain gorillas can be observed.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel      Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel      Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

The first contact with this peace-keepers of the mountain forests

We entered the upper area a little late. The two-hour march through the jungle resembled as a mud battle, however the 36-head strong group of gorillas was still in the greenwood. If one comes too late, the group of gorillas walks into the impenetrable mountain forest lain more highly. Excitingly and strong impressively moment was to stand in a distance of five meters in opposite of such a King Kong for the first time. However these fantastic jungle inhabitants radiate such a peaceful behavior, that the thought to an unequal brawl disappeared fast. Compared with Grizzlys, we all would already sit in the highest crowns of tree.

      Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel      Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Little 'King Kongs'

  Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel        Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Left: Maybe boss in a few years, Middle: The Boss/Silverback

O.k. with the boss even the Scouts were carefully acting. The silver back showed up however calmly, was snorting a little and eyed the innumerable flies which circled like the Saturn-Rings around him (video). Suddenly he stood up by drumming on his chest and dashed without regard of losses through the forest. Here two gorilla children tumbled widely through the air, but were softly caught by the soft bottom. Generally young gorillas are quite similar like rubber balls. They often climb higher plant carpets, by rolling down uncontrolled through the jungle.    

Nyiragongo Vulkan

Ascending the volcano

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel    Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Nevertheless in the city of  Goma nearly all necessary implements for a mounting route on the Nyiragongo are available. The supermarkets offers western products but the prices are high. Besides this, a permit is to be caught up in the park office in Goma. Here the price amounts is 400 US $ for three nights. This was a special price, otherwise 200 US $ per night is usual. Uphill 15 carriers were at work, whereby the water and food supply was the main important point. Cost per carrier 12$ up, 12$ down. The armed park Ranger are contained in the basic charges. Our main target was to transport the camera equipment save about 1500 elevation meters to the summit.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel      Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel 

During the ascent the weather situation, fog and storm with smaller showers accompanied us the last meters. But this trend is typical for this season which called little rain time.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel      Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Although his season is more damply, you have one advantage. If you get a clear gap or a fair weather period you can appreciate the amazing clarity, which is important for the long-focus photography.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel      Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Activity

     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze             Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze          Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze  mr

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

The entire crater area of an diameter of apprx.1.35 km appears gigantically, and you'll understand fast at this place not to deal with contemplative dimensions. Here a small town could be placed inside, or for instance the Olympic Oval in Munich fits nearly 6 times in the bowl. The bubbling lava lake measures 250 meters in diameter.

  Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

With night temperatures of approx. 5 degrees C ° the immense radiation heat could be felt even through dense clouds. Even from the estimated distance of 500m to the warm up some degrees. An useful thermal support while the strong summit hoists are whistling around your ears.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze  mr   Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Jens Edelmannje

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze  mr

Moon halo and lava illuminated crater areal with a fisheye objektiv

The day view in the big bowl

Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel   Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel

Waiting for a suitable cloud gap is a toilsome affair, but if the crater became “free-blown” a great view opened. Cooking fissures, lava blisters and drifting crust soils showed up the surface in constant motion. The tele lenses strengthened the rapid movement of the lava, and you'll get surprised how fast the bubbles are crossing your view-finder. That is not necessarily helpful while focusing the optics, and from time to time I registered a quiet cursing in the wind-protected gaps of the crater edge.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel    Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel    Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Nyira-bubbling

Bubbles and lava figures in a detailed view

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

   Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze  mr

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, by M. Rietze  mr  rr

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

The whole thing becomes interesting photographing the detail. Here also the fast change of the formations was considerable. Still admired a bubbling nest, a lively tear opened itself after the next cloud. Smelling the uprising gases remembered us actually to our planned descent into the crater.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

Nothing, the otherwise quite friendly park Ranger refuse the descent into the interior. A permission should be caught up in Goma. We fixed clear this act in the park office in Goma, but the information chain to the rangers tored off between Goma and the base of the mountain. Well well, then the telephoto lenses turn out to be very needful. The zoom 70-300mm was quite good, but the last bite of sharpness was missing. Thus I had to live on loans, and here big thanks to Richard and Martin. The 400er / f: 4 was perfect.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel    Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel

With the sunlight the colour of the lava crust and the withdrawing lava changed.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

This tricky bog had actually its special malice. Built on a volcanic fissure, the disposal of the toilet paper turned out as a difficult act. Due to the thermal lift of the gases which pushed importunately toward the wood recess, the used perfumed tissue hung some times at your cheek….

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckeltb   Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckelrr    Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by R.Roscoerr

The summit of the Nyiragongo crater was nearly overgrown up to the edge. In the foreground burned trunks from the year 2002. If you get a closer view you'll discover tree-hanging lava bombs.

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel        Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

The lava took a straight way through the area and flowed around the still healthy trunks. At the “juicy” trunk the lava solidified, and the 'tooth of the time' let the trunk decay out, by leaving the negative. 

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel        Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel        Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

 Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel         Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel         Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel  

The descent through the sumptuous vegetation. The armed protection was always present, in addition, you get accustomed yourself in this area.

Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel        Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel        Nyiragono 2011, by Boeckel

   Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel    Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel    Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel 

People of Rwanda

     Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel       Nyiragongo DR-Kongo, Virunga Vulkane, Gorillas , by Boeckel

The most important facillity, the brewery in Gisenyi/Rwanda at the lake Kiwu .

Due to this relation, a special and surprising homelink to Munich by a regular used stamp in the Rwandan post system.


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© 2011, Photos und Text Th. Boeckel, R.Roscoe (rr), M.Rietze (mr), last modification 04/24/2011