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Climbing Mount Kahuzi

July 16, 2012

Last month we went to the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, not far outside of Bukavu, to climb some mountains.

Well, one mountain in particular, actually.  Mount Kahuzi, an extinct volcano, is the tallest peak in the area.  It hasn’t erupted in more than 12,000 years, so no worries about that part (although there is an active volcano a bit north of here near Goma that we hope to visit in the future…)

Mount Kahuzi lends its name to the national park around here (Kahuzi-Biega), which most people visit to see the rare lowland gorillas.  Although we didn’t see any gorillas on this hike, we did see patches of turned-up dirt in the bamboo forest, where the gorillas dig around for young bamboo shoots.

As we went up and up and up to the peak at about 10,800 feet, we went through different mini-habitiats: first a lush, green jungle, where it almost seemed that the vines and bushes would grow back immediately after our guides cleared the trail with their machetes.  Then a the bamboo forest, with straight towering poles that were cool to the touch, and very little undergrowth besides the giant asparagus-like bamboo shoots.  Higher up, we passed through low brush, almost like the chapparel in California, or the fynbos in South Africa.  And even higher towards the top, an area of trees covered in something like spanish moss in a Louisiana bayou, dripping off the branches and watered I think by the clouds that cover the mountain at this high elevation.

We made it to the top in about 4 hours up and a bit less than that down.  From that high of an elevation, we were met with beautiful views of the surrounding area.  The hike was steep, but doable, though I have to say my legs were sore for about 4 days afterward.

Next time we head over to Kahuzi-Biega again, though, it will be to hang out with our giant, hairy cousins… the gorillas

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Glyn Goodall permalink
    July 16, 2012 8:34 am

    What a beautiful area. And that fact that your guides had to hack a path shows that it is still preserved from mass tourism.

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