The Guardian’s Africa correspondent recounts his experience of reporting from the troubled country as it edges towards elections promised by president Joseph Kabila later this year

The light streamed through the curtains of the Ihusi hotel on the shores of Lake Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The hills on the Rwandan shores were wreathed in mist as the temperatures began to rise and the rain-soaked earth gave up its moisture. The sun had struck our side earlier, the mist has gone and kites wheeled and turned in the empty sky.

It was a scene of stunning beauty, a reminder of the unfulfilled potential of the DRC. Over the previous week, riding through the hills and woods on the back of trail bikes, I had been struck by the power of the landscapes. If there was peace and halfway decent roads, Lake Kivu and its hinterland would be one of the great tourist attractions of Africa. Instead the region is the scene of violence, misery and chaos.

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