A sharp turn northeast brings us back in the direction of the ‘Green Abyss’, the dense rainforests of the central Congo River Basin. As we get closer to the centre of the basin, we can see the Congo River meandering through vast swampy areas.
This is the wet season, and the areas surrounding the river are flooded. Keeping a steady course to the east, the land begins to rise as we approach the montane forests of the Albertine Rift in the eastern DRC, one of Africa's most important sites for biodiversity. We see ice fields, on top of the Ruwenzori Mountains, active volcanoes, hot springs, bamboo, alpine vegetation, montane forest, savanna and the lowland forests of the Semuliki Valley.
What you won’t see with the naked eye
But there’s one thing we can’t see from above, and that’s how dependent on each other these ecosystems are. The tiny elephant below, the vast green expanse of rainforest and the swamps all function in a closed circle. Lose one element, and all remaining ones will be affected, some imperceptibly, others significantly. Find out more about the major ecosystems of the Congo River Basin: Rivers Forests Savanna Swamps and flooded forests