Nyiragongo Summit Camping
Nyiragongo Summit camping is a fun activity that has travellers spending the night at the summit of Mount Nyiragongo in shelters allocated for hikers. Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanic mountains in Africa and the world at large, with the largest lava lake in the world. It is this lake that has boiling magma that has travellers from world over coming to hike the Nyiragongo volcano. Whereas there are some really fit travellers and with limited time to spare who can hike the volcano very easily that they can actually not have to spend a night at the summit, some cannot however hike the Nyiragongo and descend on the same day. Overnight stays at the summit are required for travellers to rest and regain their lost energy after hiking the 3,470 meter Nyiragongo volcano.
Nyiragongo summit camping is a great place for travellers to experience the primitive wildness of the Nyiragongo volcano and the Virunga Massif Area with volcanoes stretching as far as Rwanda and Uganda, get to relax and meditate as you gaze at the lava lake not so far off.
There are currently only 12 shelters available at the summit that travellers can stay in while at the summit. Each shelter has two beds, and can be shared by two or taken solely and have the other bed to store your luggage. These shelters or huts at the crater rim are Spartan with tiled roofs, small windows and foam mattresses on wooden slats. Travellers are encouraged to carry their own sleeping bags given the ones at the shelters may not be appreciated by many for their basicness. There is no running water in the shelters at the summit, carrying wet wipes to cleanse yourself after the hike is advised just to be fresh enough. There is no electricity, either. Carrying a torch and a portable charger is advised to help you with the lighting as well as have your gadgets charged that you may use them again. There is a lavatory shared by travellers which is only a short steep walk away and has no locks. The trip to the lavatory is quite an experience in itself given that travellers have to access it with the help of a safety rope due to the steepness of the slope. The summit shelters or cabins or huts have great views as well.
Just like any camping facility, there is no food service for travellers on the Nyiragongo summit camping experience. Travellers need to hire chefs who would hike up the Nyiragongo volcano and prepare you a 3 course meal that would be welcome after such a long hike and the cold of the summit. Some lodges where travellers stay prior the Nyiragongo hike, since many have it as part of the gorilla trekking activity in Virunga National Park, can pack for travellers meals, especially the lunch and water for the hike. Dinner, however and breakfast the next day could be tricky to pack. Having a chef hired, therefore, is the best option that most travellers actually opt for.
Travellers who have a lot packed, say their meals and whatever else in their luggage, can hire porters to help with the luggage during the hike that can be quite tricky given the steep slopes of the volcano and many spots where the rocks are very wobbly that one needs all the strength and ability to keep balance. Hiring a porter can cost anything from $24 and are restricted to carrying not more than 15kgs.
The slopes of the Nyiragongo volcano are quite scenic with a variety of animals that can be spotted in the bushes and forests during the ascent and descent say monkeys, bush bucks as well as chimpanzees. The numerous bird life, plants and butterflies are also worth noting.
Hiking the Nyiragongo volcano to see the world’s largest bubbling cauldron at a safe distance, of course, is for persons that are 12 years and above only. One needs a Nyiragongo hiking permit that costs only $300 per person per hike to take part in the adrenaline-filled activity. Permits can be got at the Virunga National Park offices or through a reputable tour operator. Travellers are reminded to carry very warm cloths as they prepare for the hike of the Nyiragongo. The volcano gets colder as you ascend, and the summit is freezing cold despite the churning magma in the lake below not so far off. The Nyiragongo summit camping is worth experiencing; be sure to book yourself and your group if you have one, a Nyiragongo volcano hiking safari.