Hiking Mount Nyiragongo
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is a 2 day activity offered in the Virunga national park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hikers get to view the active boiling magma in the lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo. Mount Nyiragongo is one of the only active volcanic mountains in the region along with Mount Nyamulagira. Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira are both located in the Democratic republic of Congo and are said to be responsible for 40% of the volcanoes in Africa. There are a few mountains with lava lakes at the top in the world and the Mount Nyiragongo is among the few and most of them are reserved for research purposes not for tourist use.
While hiking up Mount Nyiragongo, you get to be a part of this special experience of watching the boiling magma up close from the summit and even spend a night. The mount Nyiragongo is a special one as it is the only one in Africa that offers this experience. The mount Nyiragongo is 17 kilometers away from Goma town in the eastern part of DR Congo. Virunga national park is a world heritage famously known for the mountain gorillas living within the park. The Virunga national park is also a home to the chimpanzees.
Virunga national park is known as the oldest national park in Africa and its boundaries are much bigger now than before when it was recognized as a reserve. The park is mostly made of rainforest with some water bodies that is the lakes and small rivers along with some savannah grasslands on top of the volcanic mountains. The main reason for people visiting the Virunga national park is for the mountain gorillas and the mount Nyiragongo hike.
The Mount Nyiragongo stands at an altitude of 3,470 meters and is one of the Virunga mountain ranges. The Virunga Mountains are 8 and these are the Mount Mikeno, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhavura, Mount Gahinga, Mount Sabinyo and the two above mentioned Mount Nyamulagira and Mount Nyiragongo which are the only two active volcanic mountains. These volcanoes are shared by three countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic republic of Congo.
The Crater Lake at the top of the volcano is one of the widest and is 2 kilometers wide from the last eruption and has boiling magma that can be viewed on a daily basis. The Nyiragongo volcano has had a number of past eruptions about 30 recorded times since the 70s. There were eruptions in 1977, 1982, 1994 and also one in 2002 which was the most deadly as the lava flowed far into Lake Kivu covering a large part of Goma town and the Goma international airport in a very short time. The lava was much more liquid which gave it the momentum to move at a very fast speed reaching the communities in minutes, destroying properties which left people homeless and jobless while it also claimed a great number of lives. The lava lake after this eruption was left empty for a short while and only began to refill after a number of weeks.
We offer trips to Mount Nyiragongo on a daily basis all year long and this visit to Nyiragongo may start from Goma or you can have a pick up from Kigali or top up your visit from the mountain gorillas with the visit to the world’s largest volcanic Crater Lake.
There is a 2 days Nyiragongo package from Goma, a 3 days Nyiragongo package from Kigali and also a 4 days Mikeno mist package that includes the mountain gorilla visit. Once you book yourself any of these packages, you will be expected at the Grande Barrier to check in for our activity by 7 am and receive your permits for the Nyiragongo hike. You will join the team headed to the Bukima ranger post for your briefing before the trek, receive the briefing and take some time to hire whatever necessities you may need on this overnight hike up and then follow behind your ranger guides on your 6 hour uphill hike.
You may have two stopovers to cool off and refresh midway your hike and continue uphill reaching the summit in the early evening hours. You will enjoy the views from the top and spend a night in the Nyiragongo summit shelters. It can get as low as 0 degrees so be sure to carry enough warm clothing. In the morning, you will wake up ready to descend the volcano and reach back at the starting point by midday and there you may connect for lunch or your next destination. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience every hiker should engage in but noting it can be a challenging but rewarding hike.