Mount Nyiragongo Democratic Republic of Congo
Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano located in virunga national park eastern Democratic republic of Congo. Rising at an altitude 3,704 meters above sea level, Nyiragongo is part of the Virunga Mountains which has become popular tourist attractions for hikers.
Mount Nyiragongo resides completely inside virunga national park which makes it accessible and safe to visit. Traveling to democratic republic of Congo, most tourists are deterred by the threats of civil unrest. However, virunga national park being home to gorillas, it highly protected by rangers and this has also attracted hikes to Nyiragongo.
This is perhaps the most beautiful volcano hiking experience to witness active lava lake. Mount Niyragongo was highly active in 1997 and 2002 when it emitted magma that destroyed Goma city and geologists suggested the lava activity continues to this day. Hiking mount Nyiragongo is an experience you will never forget and can be done at least in 3 days safari including overnight on the summit of the volcano.
The landscape is beautiful. It’s possible for tourists to hike across volcanic rocks up to the top where accommodation is provided in camping like cabin shelters. You can look into the active lava lake from the edge of the crater to see bubbling lava and things only geologists would get to experience. If you visit virunga national park, ensure you have more than 3 days to do other activities such as gorilla tracking, boat cruising on Lake Kivu.
The safari to hike Niyagongo starts in Kigali Rwanda from where you will travel across the border into DR Congo. A DRC visa must be processed prior you arrive for safari. Most visitors like to cross the border on the first day. And there are many options to spend a night either in the accommodations found in Gisenyi town on the shores of Lake Kivu, in Goma city or at the headquarters of virunga national park.
From any of the lodges you stay, it’s easy to access Nyiragongo early morning drive to the station of kibati where you begin your hiking adventure.
You will spend a night on top in the cabin huts with mattress, thick plastic cover and pillows. This is not enough for you to be comfortable, you should pack things like sleeping bag, cooking stove that can heat food, head lamp, sweaters, gloves, ear pads and not mention enough drinking water, snacks, energy drinks.
At Kibati station, there are porters you can hire to carry your luggage. You are also accompanied by guides and armed rangers. Hiking to the summit takes 5-6 hours and require fitness. Fog, mist and speed wind are found at the top so emphasis is packing appropriately for cold weather. Dinner will be provided before overnight and the next day you begin to ascend back. As earlier mentioned there are other activities to do such as gorilla trekking, boat cruising on Lake Kivu which will add memories on hiking.