by Michael Lorentz
Nyiragongo Volcano, D.R.C
Having climbed hard for 5 hours up the flank of Nyiragongo Volcano, I found myself gasping for breath amidst the wind swept lava boulders that form the desolate rim of the crater itself – At 11 385 feet it would have been miserable had it not been for what we were looking at. 1,000 feet below us, at the bottom of a sheer sided crater, was quite literally a flaming lake. This surely was Tartarus and the river Phlegethon had surfaced from the bowels of the earth. Our small party was made up of seasoned travellers and gnarly guides and there was silence. Our porters – all ex FDLR Hutu militia – arrived to set up camp and as evening set in the colours grew more and more vivid, a bewildering array of reds, oranges and purples. I felt drunk.