DRC: Camp above world’s largest lava lake in volcanic Virunga

A Secret Compass expedition team has been granted unprecedented access to summit three volcanoes and to sleep inside a volcanic crater above the world’s largest lava lake in Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.25.21
Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.25.21
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Feb. 23, 2016 - PRLog -- A Secret Compass expedition team is about to stage a world-first in the Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga was established in 1925 and has been a UNESCO-protected habitat since 1979,” said Tom Bodkin, director of Secret Compass. "We're going to be the first team to make commercial summit attempts on three remote and wild volcanoes, sleeping inside the crater of a fourth above the world's largest lava lake.

“Virunga has received attention from Leonardo DiCaprio’s eponymous film – concerning the fate of the park and its gorillas – and as a New York Times’ top 2016 destination.”

“Formerly Zaire, the DRC is a challenging destination to access and to move around in. From 2009 to 2013 it ranked as the poorest country on earth, with the wealth of its rich mineral resources being outweighed by corruption and political instability.

“As a pioneering expedition company aiming to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places, exploration within tough-to-access DRC appeals to well-travelled, intelligent and savvy adventurous travellers who are keen to get beyond the nation’s headlines.”

Bodkin concluded “We’re privileged that the Park is allowing our team to stage this world-first. The income generated from our gorilla and volcano permits will help support the rangers’ incredible work to protect Virunga’s threatened wildlife for future generations.”

Virunga expedition highlights

Climb highest volcano wholly within DRC, Mount Mikeno at 4,437m

Straddle the Rwandan border on Mount Karisimbi at 4,507m

Camp inside Nyiragongo’s volcanic crater above the world’s largest lava lake

Spot endangered mountain gorillas on a dedicated trek

Explore the ecological diversity of Africa’s oldest national park

Expedition fact box

Name: The volcanoes of Virunga

Dates: 9 – 23 July 2016 (14 nights)

Cost: £3,299 all inc. except flights (LHR-KGL £594 with KLM)

Secret Compass’s marketing director, Kerry O’Neill said, “Ten of the 12 team spots went in just one week much interest also noted from fit and active individuals. Until those spots are gone we welcome applications to join this pioneering team using our online form.”

O’Neill continued, “Adventure travel has myriad definitions but whichever way you look at it, Secret Compass expeditions are at the tougher, more ambitious end of the scale.

“Our expedition teams often set out to achieve exploratory firsts, from challenging first-ascents on Mongolia’s unclimbed high peaks to pioneering pack-raft missions in the wilds of Gabon. This expedition is no different with the team aiming to make several first commercial ascents of Virunga’s high volcanic peaks.

Former team-mate Tracey Croke said she felt like an ‘explorist’ as part of an expedition, saying, “Secret Compass lets me make history on my annual leave! I’m now the first woman to have traversed Kyrgyzstan’s Talas Range by mountain bike, and was part of the first commercial expedition to mountain bike to Ras Deshan, the roof of Ethiopia at 4,543m.”

Expedition destinations for 2016 and 2017

In 2016 and 2017, Secret Compass’s expedition and adventure travel destinations include Afghanistan, Armenia, Burma, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Panama, Mongolia, Kamchatka, Siberia’s Arctic Circle, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad, the southern Sinai and North Korea.

Expedition styles range from mixed-terrain trekking and minimalist desert traverses to mountain-biking, rafting and horseback expeditions. Secret Compass welcomes applications from anyone with a good level of fitness who’s keen to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places

For further press information, contact Secret Compass's marketing director Kerry O’Neill.

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Secret Compass redefines what is possible by creating pioneering projects in the world's wildest places. Secret Compass is built around a team of trusted experts who combine a passion for exploration with industry-leading professionalism. Secret Compass reignites your primal need for adventure, providing the catalyst for you to come alive and achieve the extraordinary.

Specialist Film, TV and brand project services
Secret Compass also takes film crews, journalists, brands and photographers to remote and previously inaccessible areas thanks to its unrivalled location management expertise. Clients to date include the BBC, Nat Geo, Animal Planet, Discovery and Channel 4.

Press enquiries: Kerry on +44 (0)207 096 8428

Kerry O'Neill, Marketing Director
Secret Compass
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Tags:Congo, Volcano, Adventure
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