Nyiragongo Volcano is the most active stratovolcano in the Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This volcano is set near Lake Kivu just on the Eastern border of DRC with Rwanda; western side of the rift valley. Mount Nyiragongo is magical with a glowing Lava Lake on its summit offering hikers on Congo hiking safari with breathtaking views. It straddles at elevation of 3470 meters, approximately 11384 feet and features a 1.2 kilometers’ diameter summit caldera.
In 2002, Nyiragongo Volcano erupted and its Lava Lake drained from fissures on its western flanks. Over 400000 people were displaced especially those who stayed around Goma City. Goma is found on the shores of Lake Kivu which is just at the border between the DR Congo and Rwanda. Nyiragongo Mountain overlaps Shaheru and Baruta Volcanoes. However, this volcano has had a series of eruptions and the recorded ones include 1884, 1894, 1899, 1898, 1901, 1900, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1911, 1918, 1920 to 1921, 1927 to 1977, 1982, 1994 to 1996 and the current one in 2002.
The geology of Mount Nyiragongo
Nyiragongo Mountain is believed to have erupted about 34 times since 1882. The eruption effects also resulted into formation of other cones and it erupts with the older Baratu and Shaheru Volcanoes. The Lava that erupts is mainly in fluid state and made of melilite Nephelinite.
Nyiragongo Volcano offers the best hiking adventure experiences to hikers on Congo safari. Hikes to the summits of this volcano begin at Kitabi Patrol Post and hikers are accompanied by an experienced guide. Hiking to the summit of Nyiragongo Mountain takes hikers about 4 hours or more depending on your speed of hiking and there are also porters for hire at the Kitabi Patrol Post. You can hire a porter to help you carry your heavy luggage at a pocket friendly rate.
Best time to hike Mount Nyiragongo
The dry season is regarded as the best time to hike to the magnificent summits of Mount Nyiragongo. Hiking through this volcano during the dry season is ideal because the trails are drier and it is easy to hike. June, July, August, September and December, January, February are the dry months of year in Mount Nyiragongo. The wet or rainy months are March, April, May and October, November. Regardless of the season, hiking to the summit of Nyiragongo Volcano requires you to be well-prepared right from your physical fitness to what you pack.
Packing list for hiking Mount Nyiragongo
There are many essential items to pack if you have any plans to hike Mount Nyiragongo. They include camera, hiking boots that are waterproof, day pack, insect repellents, torch, rain jacket, gardening gloves, sun hat, sun glasses, hiking permit, toiletries, visa, passport, first aid kit to mention but a few. Hiking permits for Mount Nyiragongo are obtainable at $300 and you can book one at the Virunga National Park office or through tour operator. Note, about 24 hikers are accepted each day to hike to Mount Nyiragongo.
Where to stay at Mount Nyiragongo
Visitors on Congo hiking safari in Mount Nyiragongo can spend a night in Nyiragongo Summit Shelters. The summit shelters are the only place where visitors can spend a night while at the summits of Mount Nyiragongo. The shelters comprise of 12 cabins, each of which accommodate about 2 clients.
How to get to Mount Nyiragongo
Mount Nyiragongo is situated in the Virunga National Park, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. You can reach to this volcano from Kigali Rwanda via Gisenyi or Kisoro and through Goma. You may also take a flight from Kigali International Airport to Goma International Airport.