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Hiking Mount Nyiragongo, Africa’s Active Volcano

Have you ever thought about smoky volcanic mountains? Is hiking or mountaineering one of your lovely adventures?  Do you wish to see the world’s largest Lava Lake? Just at 20 kilometers in the Virunga National Park, lies Africa’s most active stratovolcano “Mount Nyiragongo” at an elevation of 3470 meters. Mount Nyiragongo is situated on North of Goma town in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just within the Virunga National Park. Visitors taking gorilla safaris to Congo don’t enjoy only watching the mountain gorillas or Eastern Lowland gorillas but also enjoy several remarkable hiking experiences of kind. The Virunga National Park offers opportunity tourists yet another glorious hike at Nyiragongo Mountain. For adventure seekers, you have no reason to doubt about Mount Nyiragongo hike!

Hiking the Nyiragongo Mountain is one of the life changing experiences that reward visitors with striking crater and Lava Lake. The crater stretches about two (2) kilometers wide and the Lava Lake is situated in the crater with two different cooled Lava benches in the crater walls. The first Lava bench lies 3175 meters and the second is around 2975 meters. Have you ever heard about the world’s largest Lava Lake? Lava Lakes are one of the spectacular forms of volcanic activity in the world and Mount Nyiragongo offers you opportunity to explore the world’s largest Lava Lake. At the Nyiragongo Mountain Summit, position yourself in a safe distance and the strike at a bubbling Lava cauldron and be filled with authentic volcano energy of Mt Nyiragongo as it heaves and breathes. Although the hike is breathtaking adventure, the experiences thereafter are unforgettable. The hike takes at least 4-6 hours and this also involves an endurance of the hot conditions as you hike however, the path is a bit simple and it is not excessively steep. Your hike is not an ordinary one, but trail that takes you through the beautiful birds and small mammals along the way. The hike starts at the Kibati station and visitors together with porters are led by park rangers. Remember your fitness determines what time you will reach the summit!

Mount Nyiragongo forms one of the most striking fiery volcanoes in African continent. Because of it’s an active eruption, Nyiragongo Mountain has erupted for about 34 times since 1882 and the effect thereafter leaves lots of bubbling and spewing fires that take years prior settling down. Never miss to stare at the smoky bubbles of this great volcano.

Like any volcano eruptions, in 2002, Mt Nyiragongo erupted and the Lava Lake drained from fissures on its western flanks. This impact was also realized in the Goma town, a capital of the East Virunga province and due to this rendered 200000 people homeless.

Accessibility of Mt Nyiragongo

Tourists, interested in visiting the Virunga National Park can fly into Kigali International Airport, Rwanda then connect to Goma Town. Goma is situated across the border from Gisenyi and it takes the visitors about 3 to 3.5 to drive from Kigali. In case of late arrivals, visitors can as well spend a night in any of Kigali hotels and then take off the next day to the Virunga National Park. For your flights, there is Ethiopia Airlines and domestic Democratic Republic of Congo Airlines that fly up to Goma although the airport is not up to international standards. While you are planning for trip to DRC, note that self arranged transport may not be useful. Your safety is very vital that is why we recommend that you book our recognized tour operator. Most importantly, note that DRC is still recovering from political unrest but the government is concerned with your safety and the tourists are encouraged to check out for any security alerts before taking a trip into the country.

What to pack for Nyiragongo hike?

For adventure seekers, some of the most important clothes and gear for you to pack include rain jacket, rain pants, running shoes (hiking shoes), heavy fleece, thin stretchy pants, long underwear and 4 pairs of socks, heavy sleeping bag and light sweater, water, snacks, camera. Other things may include the walking stick and as well, ensure you hire a porter to assist you carry your backpack. Hiring a porter may cost you $24 and approximately 15 kilograms of the luggage can be carried by one porter.

Nyiragongo hiking permit and summit shelter

Accommodation is basic for this adventure. Despite several accommodation facilities in DRC, some of the notable ones include Mikeno Lodge, Bukima, Tchegera Island, Lulimbi, and Nyiragongo Summit. For hiking permit to Mt Nyiragongo, they are obtainable via tour operators or through the Virunga National Park but ensure you book in advance. However, the cost doesn’t include the transport. Hiking permit and overnight in the summit shelter cost an adult international visitor $300, Congolese $90 and child (international) $175. Remember only 24 people are allowed to hike Nyiragongo.

When to visit Mt Nyiragongo

Nyiragongo Mountain can be visited throughout the year for hiking experiences however, the weather patterns are unpredictable given the fact that the volcano lies in the middle of the equatorial rain forest. Around March to May and then November, the area experiences heavy rain and the dry spell starts in June to October and December. For Mt Nyiragongo hike, it is better visiting in the month of January and February, then from June to September. During these months, the area is cool and dry.

As well, you can book for your gorilla safari within the Virunga National Park. The mountain gorilla permits cost $400 for adult international visitors and $150 for Congolese.

In conclusion, despite the mountain gorillas or the Eastern Lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country is also offers adventure experiences especially at Mt Nyiragongo. The hike is one of the strenuous experiences of kind for adventure seekers! Come and explore the beauty of the Mt Nyiragongo volcano and be filled with striking world’s Lava Lake and varied animal species on the forested lower slopes. Visitors can as well combine their hiking experiences and gorillas within the Virunga National Park.  Enjoy the best of your hike!

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