Mountain Nyiragongo

Mountain Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano located in Virunga National park and its most recent eruption was in May 2021. The mountain consists of 12 basic summit shelters and they are set close to a beautiful stratovolcano. The volcano’s lower forested slopes are home to a variety of animals. Mountain Nyiragongo is comprised of hardened lava, and solidified volcanic ash.

Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira mountains are together responsible for about 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions in the Virunga conservation area in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It lies just beside the Albertine Rift.

The highest elevation of Nyiragongo Mountain’s lava lake was recorded at about 3,250m (10,660 feet) before the 1997 eruption. The depth of its larva lake varies significantly at about 600m (2,000 feet), after the January 2002 eruption the lava lake was recorded at an elevation of about 8,500 feet below the rim and the level has been rising since then.

The mountain holds the world’s largest lava lake churning away in a mosaic of molten red fire.

Hiking Mountain Nyiragongo.

Travelers begin their hiking at Kibati Ranger Post and reach the summit which is at 3,740m.The total length of the Mountain trek is 7 km long.

The Nyiragongo mountain hike is divided into 5 sections and it’s in the first section in which travelers maneuver through dense forest at the base of the mountain. There’s also a 15-minute break at each stop.

During the first section, travelers are therefore encouraged to look out for different beautiful wildlife including baboons, monkeys and bushbucks. Climbing Nyiragongo takes 6 -7 hours depending on the pace, fitness of hikers and the nature of the trails while its descent goes for approximately 5 hours.

The forest goes up to the second section whose short vegetation and open trails offer very attractive views of the valley down. After that, comes the third section that takes you past steaming volcanic fissures and across old lava flows of Nyiragongo. The high montane forest is encountered just before the fifth and final up rise to about 3000m to the summit after traversing the fourth section.

The incline is a bit steep but the scenery of lush vegetation will make it a little bit easier for you to get to the summit. After reaching this magnificent mountain’s top, hikers are rewarded by the sight of the world’s largest lava lake while on top of Mountain Nyiragongo.

Amazingly enough, the mountain offers a soothing feeling to the visitors after they’ve reached its summit and all the tiredness goes away.

Trekkers are advised to carry water, food and strong trekking boots but most importantly the comfy warm clothing and sleeping bags for the weather on this mountain is unpredictable. The weather at the summit often drops below freezing point with huge amounts of rain and winds. The views down towards Lake Kivu and Ishasha plains towards Uganda are extraordinary.

Nothing beats the most remarkable moment when one carries food and charcoal for cooking at the top of Nyiragongo volcano. The feeling of preparing meals at the volcano is exceptional. Most travelers prefer doing all this by themselves since hiring the cooks can be unnecessarily costly.

However, porters are always also a good option to be employed and hiring them is a way of supporting the local community and they can also be booked at the Virunga offices and websites.

The hiking experience at Nyiragongo is such a risky one but exceptional that you can’t hike alone and independently. One must be accompanied by experienced armed rangers, they will not only guide the hikers but will ensure their safety as it’s their first priority.

Tourists can go hiking on the mountain and gorilla trekking in Virunga National park when they book this itinerary.

STAYING AND HIKING PERMIT COSTS.

Accommodation at one of the basic shelters on the summit and the trekking permit all go for $300 inclusively. However, the costs exclude transportation from the nearest city of Goma and the Rwandan border. The cost of the Democratic Republic of Congo Visa is also excluded.

The small cabins on the summit sit right on the edge of the crater and they simply come with 2 single foam mattresses. There’s a rope on either side that can be used to go down to the high-end toilets and also have the best views. Hikes and other activities in the park will not go on if there are any security concerns in the park.