Did you know that Democratic Republic of Congo has the most rewarding volcanoes in Africa? Get wonderful treks, hikes, incredible views and unique feeling at the top of the Nyiragongo Volcano. NYIRAGONGO VOLCANO is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa. It is noted for long active lava lakes which appear in the summit crater. Nyiragongo is one of eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. The volcano is located near the town of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Situated in the Virunga National Park, Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most Africa’s most exciting and rewarding hiking experiences. It is rising majestically to an altitude of 3470m overlooking the Virungas National Park and associated Albertine Rift. The mountain is a spectacular stratovolcano that hosts one of the world’s largest and rarest lava lakes and the rout to climb Nyiragongo was re -opened to the mountain climbers in October 2014. At the summit of the mountain are craters and the main crater is about two kilometers wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls – one at about 3,175 m (10,417 ft) and a lower one at about 2,975 m (9,760 ft). The most impressive forms of volcanic activity at the lava lakes are no doubt and travelers are assured of witnessing these formations.
It is so interesting that after arriving at the summit, travelers are able to observe its bubbling lava cauldron but viewing from a safe distance and feel this volcano’s energy, as it heaves and breathes. Once travelers opt for an overnight stay at Mount Nyiragongo’s crater edge allows them to enjoy this spectacle in the dark, but also at dawn and dusk when its alluring beauty is enhanced. Trekking takes a maximum of 5 hours and therefore travelers have ample time to observe fully and acquire great experience never to forget.
Nyiragongo Volcano Treks
Nyiragongo is a beautiful stratovolcano that features the world’s largest lava lake. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees, monkeys, and bushbuck. Nyiragongo’s summit rim is largely devoid of vegetation and is sometimes dusted with snow. This is an active stratovolcano which has an elevation of about 3470m with in Virunga Mountains and is greatly connected with Virunga Albertine rift valley. This volcano is located within the Democratic Republic of Congo inside Virunga National Park. It’s also located 20km north of the town of Goma as well as Lake Kivu. It has a crater which is two kilometers wide and also contains a lave lake. This lake which is located in the crater has got two different cooled lava benches in the crater walls. One of the lava benches is about 3,175m and another one is about 2,975m. The Nyiragongo Mountain and the Nyamulagira are responsible for about 40% of historical volcanic eruptions in Africa.
Treks to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano begin at the Kibati patrol post, which is approximately 30 minutes by car from Goma. The patrol post is less than a one hour drive from the Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. Park rangers lead all treks and porters (unaffiliated with the park) are available for hire. The time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group, but typically takes 4 – 6 hours. Altitude sickness can be an issue for some because the climb begins at 1989m (6,525 ft) and ascends to 3470m (11,382ft) in a short time. It is possible for fitter people to climb up and descend in one day, but the vast majorities choose to overnight in the basic accommodations available at the top (included in the permit fee) because the best time to view the lava lake is at night.
Why You Should Hike the Nyiragongo Mountains?
The fantastic hiking adventure gives you a chance to explore Virunga National park jungle and the beautiful volcano scenery including that of mountain Rwenzori. One needs two days to climb to the top of this active volcano but day one ends with an overnight in a tent accommodation which is amazing. The shelter keeps you warm, comfortable with no rain penetration that is if you visit the area during the rainy season. Besides Africa weather is amazing, it can change out of blue and it starts raining so being ready with rain gears, waterproof equipment and changing clothes is a priority. It’s good to combine the Congo gorilla adventure with a 2 day Nyiragongo Hiking Tour to the summit and have a rewarded breath taking view of Lake Kivu, the dazzling lava lake, Goma as you witness the volcanic activities that remind you of the recent eruption that took place in 2002 and displaced many settlements in the area.
Hiking Nyiragongo is challenging but rewarding especially when going up to the summit but you keep a moderate pace all though.All hiking trips to Nyiragongo are great and most travelers start from Rwanda being the best and convenient place for connecting to Congo. Congo Visa are applied before travel and cost only $100. However, if Nyiragongo hike is next on your trip would recommend you to stay around Gisenyi in Rwanda, cross the border the next morning for your trek, hike along with a porter because they help out a lot to carry all your hiking equipment, food and water. The climb to the top is around 5-6 hours depending on your pace and coming down is only 4 hours. Being fit is a must but the hike is really very colorful with amazing views all over. Don’t forget your warm clothes because it gets cold up in the mountains so warm clothes and sleeping bag play a vital role. This hike is oftenly referred too as one of the most exclusives in Africa. Taking a trip to Nyiragongo is another way of getting away from the stay crowd and has a break up close to the sky.
Nyiragongo is popular worldwide and still on many travelers bucket list especially great world adventurers.The unforgettable experience in Virunga of seeing the most biggest lava lake in the world- Nyiragongo. Let fear not fail you to experience the most rewarding and challenging hike in DR Congo just because of the insecurity rumors.It doesn’t matter who books you trip or who plans but the fact remains that park rangers and armed guards will pick you up from the border and they can’t take their eyes off you all through. They really ensure that everything is fine from the beginning to the end and would recommend travelers to always appreciate the great team work. Remember those people are your friends forever because, given the fact that they care about your well being in their homeland.
- All climbs begin promptly at 10:00 am. Late arrivals will not be allowed to climb and permits are non-refundable. For security reasons, there will be no exceptions. The Kibati ranger station, which is the trailhead for Nyiragongo, is approximately 30 minutes from Goma by car. All climbers must check in at the Kibati station by no later than 9:15 am on the day of their climb. Climbers typically descend the volcano at between 6:30 – 7:00 am the next morning and arrive back at Kibati station by 11:30 am. If one intends to fly out of Kigali on the same day, please make sure not to schedule your departure flight before 6 pm.
2.Trekkers are strongly advised to bring full rain and cold weather gear (moisture-wicking base layer, sweater or fleece, jacket, rain resistant pants, long underwear, warm socks, hat, and a 0°C/32° – rated sleeping bag). Temperatures at the summit are routinely below freezing. Although most people arrive at the summit sweating from the steep climb, this sense of warmth quickly gives way to cold. A complete change of base layers is a must. Failure to bring proper gear will lead to hypothermia. Please do not endanger yourself and others by coming unprepared for these conditions.
Guests staying at the Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Tented Camp or Tchegera Island Camp can arrange meal service for the trip, while those coming with tour groups must supply their own. There is no food service on Nyiragongo. Porters can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads for $12/day ($24 for the overnight trip). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15 kg.