Mount Nyiragongo in Congo

Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano located within Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mountain stands at a height of 3,470 meters above sea level and is part of the volcanic mountains in the Virunga Massif. It is situated 20km north of Goma town and Lake Kivu. It also borders Rwanda to the west.

The main attraction on mount Nyiragongo is its lava lake which is about 2 kilometers wide and is the main crater. The lava lake is 250 meters deep and contains liquid lava. This crater lava lake lights up the skyline with a red glow, creating a beautiful and dazzling view that most tourists hiking the mountain would love to see. The mountain also has older crater lakes that are rich in bird and plant life. These make a great spot for scientific research expeditions and studies, as well as bird watching activities.

Mount Nyiragongo in Congo
Mount Nyiragongo Eruption

Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano, meaning that it can erupt at any given time. The mountain first erupted in 1977 following the rupture of the crater walls holding the lava lake. The entire lava lake drained out just within 30 minutes, releasing about 5 million cubic meters of lava towards the north, south and western part of the mountain. This eruption caused devastating damage to many homesteads of people living within close proximity to the mountain. It is reported that the lava flows from mount Nyiragongo reached Goma within 20 minutes and killing about 300 people.

In 2002, there was a volcanic eruption on the mountain, killing several people and destroying a large part of Goma. This displayed a lot of Congolese who were residing in Goma, and thus created a huge refugee crisis. However, there are no eruptions that have occurred on the mountain since the 2002 event. Mount Nyiragongo along with Mount Nyamuragira contributes to 40% of historical volcanic eruptions in Africa.

Hiking Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hiking Mount Nyiragongo can be the most amazing experience that any tourist visiting Congo can have. Hiking expeditions to the mountain marks one of the highlights of a visit to Virunga National Park. Visitors can include a hike to Nyiragongo Mountain in their travel package of a Rwanda Safari or gorilla trekking safari in Virunga National Park in the DRC.

Hiking starts at the park’s headquarters in Kibati at 10 am. Just like tourists partaking any activity in the park are briefed, likewise, visitors going to hike Nyiragongo Mountain will be briefed before hiking begins.

Hiking Nyiragongo Mountain in Congo takes about 5-6 hours to reach its summit. Hikers are accompanied by well trained and knowledgeable park rangers, along with potters to carry your luggage at an extra fee. 

There are accommodation shelters on mount Nyiragongo for visitors who wish to spend an overnight on the mountain. The scenery at the lava lake during the night is an overwhelming sight that one can’t really put into words. The red glow created by the boiling molten lava in the Crater Lake is something that visitors don’t get to see every day. This is why putting a hike to Mount Nyiragongo on your bucket list is a MUST for any tourist traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hiking Nyiragongo Mountain takes 2 days and does not involve a lot of vigorous activity, so any tourist can hike the mountain. However, the altitude on the mountain can be extreme, so some hikers may tend to feel dizzy especially if you are hiking for the first time.

What to Pack on a Hike to Nyiragongo Mountain in Virunga National Park.

Every visitor planning to hike Nyiragongo Mountain should the following on your packing list;

  • Warm clothing.
  • A good pair of hiking boots.
  • A raincoat for emergency purposes.
  • Camera and waterproof camera bag.
  • A sleeping bag.
  • A water bottle so that you may always keep hydrated throughout your hiking trip.
  • Diamox medication for visitors who fall sick in high altitudes.
  • A valid tourist visa to Congo.
  • Make sure you have been vaccinated for yellow fever and always carry your yellow fever card with you. This card is a requirement for visitors travelling to most African countries.
  • Make sure you have a valid passport.
  • Pack insect repellant just in case you have allergies to bugs and mosquitoes.

Best Time to Hike Mount Nyiragongo in Congo.

The best time for any visitor to hike Nyiragongo Mountain in Virunga National Park in Congo is during the dry season which is between June-October and December. However, because Nyiragongo Mountain is in the middle of a tropical rain forest, expect some rain at any given time.

Cost of Hiking Mount Nyiragongo.

A hike to Nyiragongo Mountain in Congo costs 326 USD and in case a visitor was to hire a porter to carry your luggage, you will have to pay and extra fee of USD 15 dollars for luggage weighing below 15kg. Hikers can also opt to pay an extra 100 USD for your meals, a sleeping bag and water in case you are planning to spend an overnight on the mountain.

Accommodation on Nyiragongo Mountain in Congo.

There are 12 shelters on the mountain and these provide lodging for visitors hiking Nyiragongo Mountain. Each of the shelters has a single bed, but hikers are advised to bring along extra warm clothing, as the temperatures on the mountain tend to drop to extremely low levels.

Mount Nyiragongo
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo

How to Get to Mount Nyiragongo.

Most safaris to Mount Nyiragongo start in Kigali, Rwanda. Travel 163 km to Gisenyi town and then drive 30 minutes to Goma town in DRC. Mount Nyiragongo is just 16km from Goma town.  In case you are one of those visitors who travel solo, you can rent a car or hire a taxi at a fee of about 20 USD and drive to Mount Nyiragongo in Virunga National Park in Congo.

Do get in touch with us for any inquiries or bookings and get the best deals for hiking tours to the exotic Nyiragongo Mountain in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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