Heart of Darkness: Virunga

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Shavenhead
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Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:12 pm

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:15 pm

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:18 pm

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by veronica_inheels » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:08 am

that is so awesome. how were the gorillas? :D
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Total Reject » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:29 pm

The night volcano photo is interesting. I was reading something about Virunga recently and I didn't think there were active volcanoes there. I just looked it up and says there is one... is that Mount Nyiragongo? If so, I'm guessing that was a hike.

Edited to add another active volcano listed - Mount Nyamuragira. Also a hike.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:55 pm

Yes, that's Mt Nyiragongo, and it's most certainly a hike. I'm no mountaineer. I believe it's around 3700 meters, and takes about 5 hours to reach the summit where you can spend the night. If you want to be climbing mountains say above 5000 meters I suggest you head north to the glacier laden Ruwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the moon) - still in that region.

I could be wrong, but I think there are three active volcanoes in the region. Nyirangongo had a major eruption in 2002 which caused significant destruction in Goma, and the lave flow reached Lake Kivu.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by veronica_inheels » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:09 pm

3700?

i would die.

i almost died in cuzco and it was 3000.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:11 pm

veronica_inheels wrote:that is so awesome. how were the gorillas? :D


Hi Veronica :D

The gorillas were awesome! We spent about an hour with a family of nine. Two big silverback males, and mix of females and youngsters. I was surprised how close you're able to get to them without them getting fussed, though one of the big males got up, and suddenly made his way briskly past me - almost touching me. It's such a huge ferocious looking beast, and I'm very grateful he didn't choose to rip my head off. That said, they seem to be essentially very gentle creatures, unlike baboons and chimpanzees which can be vicious.

That Virunga forest region is pristine beauty, and definitely worth a visit. The team that manage that area are very dedicated conservationists and are doing an amazing job under very difficult circumstances. It's a very volatile part of the world - some rebel groups have their bases in the forest, so they have to have their own private army to protect the animals - especially the gorillas but also elephants and buffalo etc. They very tough battle hardened types, and over the years about a 150 of them have been killed in their own war against rebels/bandits/poachers - some of these groups are proxies of unscrupulous mineral and oil companies who are trying to push the conservationist militia out of the area.

The guy who is in charge of all of this is a Belgian Prince who has balls of steel. Only last year he took four bullets in an ambush on one of the roads in the area. Some one posted about this a while back - I think it was Kiki.

There's an award winning documentary movie that was made about this towards the end of this year - apparently very worth watching (I haven't seen it yet). Here's a link - check out the movie trailer clip about half way down:

http://virungamovie.com/
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by veronica_inheels » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:16 pm

i read about virunga after you posted photos. they have a photo of an elephant they chainsawed the face off. what evil humans. and of course chinese are behind it.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:19 pm

veronica_inheels wrote:3700?

i would die.

i almost died in cuzco and it was 3000.


I have to admit, I took a bit of strain on the last stretch towards the summit, but as you know, I'm a pack and a half a day man :D
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by judik » Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:19 pm

Wow,what an experience
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Homerj » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:10 pm

Coool!
If you don't mind me asking SH, what did the day trip to see the gorilla's cost you?
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by veronica_inheels » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:19 pm

Shavenhead wrote: but as you know, I'm a pack and a half a day man :D


yes i know.

outrage !
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:31 pm

Homerj wrote:Coool!
If you don't mind me asking SH, what did the day trip to see the gorilla's cost you?


I wasn't paying :oops: :oops:

Though I believe it costs around US$3500 for the night at their camp and the trip to visit the Gorillas, plus a further night at the main lodge and the trek up the volcano. I could be wrong. Either way, it goes to a great cause.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by northern_goddess » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:58 pm

Wow! So amazing. Thanks!

I've been meaning to read your posts here for a while but keep getting distracted.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Lulu » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:06 am

Stunning!
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by kotagiri_tea_planter » Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:20 pm

This is the best travel journalism.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Daniel » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:10 am

Amazing! I can only recommend a trip to see the mountain gorillas. It was one of the best experiences in my life. I did it in Uganda and it cost us 500 US$ per person. I'd love to navigate the river Congo but I reckon it's too dangerous these days...

Thanks for sharing your experience Shavenhead!

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:22 pm

I watched that film this afternoon. It's worth a look.

Most interesting. Some serious scumbaggery been going on up there.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by birdlite » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:21 pm

Wow Jealous (to say the least) but wow.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Kape » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:01 pm

Just amazing.

And so jealous! I wish a got the opportunity go there some day.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Xerius » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:45 am

Fascinating DRC shots (and stories), Shavenhead. That's a country that I'm very curious about, but somehow doubt I'll ever make it to. Seems a bit too raw and volatile even at the best of times nowadays. Which is probably a decent part of the allure.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by 5waldos » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:39 am

Wonderful! How far did you have to hike in to see the gorillas I looked at one program and they said 1-11 hours. 1 hour would be fine- 11 hours not so much. That was when I decided that I had missed my chance in this lifetime.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Paddox1 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:59 am

That looks incredible shaven. May be a little out my price range though :?

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by polardude1 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:07 pm

Awesome.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:36 pm

How did I miss this post? Shaven, where exactly did you go to see the gorillas? Is that at Kahuzi Biega, or is that north of Lake Kivu?

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Shavenhead » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:36 pm

Steve, Kahuzi Biega named after the two dormant volcanos in those parts is in South Kivu near Bukavu as far as I know - southern end of Lake Kivu. My understanding is that the gorillas in those parts are low land gorillas.

This was in Virunga in North Kivu, not far from Goma, and those are mountain gorillas. North end of Lake Kivu.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Steve_in_Exile » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:34 am

Shavenhead wrote:My understanding is that the gorillas in those parts are low land gorillas

I looked this up because I was curious about it. The Kahuzi Biega gorillas are Eastern Lowland Gorillas(Gorilla beringei graueri) which are the same species but a different sub-species than the Mountain Gorillas(Gorilla beringei beringei). Western Lowland Gorillas are a different species(Gorilla gorilla gorilla). So Eastern Lowland Gorillas are more closely related to Mountain Gorillas than they are to Western Lowland Gorillas. Somewhere I have pics of the gorillas from Kahuzi Biega from 1985. I should scan them and post, though I don't think they are great pictures. But it really was a moving experience to sit there with a group of gorillas for an hour or so and just watch them interact.

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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by Lost Soul » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:16 am

Thanks, Shaven.

I missed this with Steve. But I'm jealous, which makes me more appreciative.
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Re: Heart of Darkness: Virunga

Post by dBrother » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:51 am

wow, that volcano is unreal, never knew there was such a sight, totally awesome
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