Mount Nyiragongo stands at an elevation of 3,470 meters above sea level and its one the famous Virunga ranges found along the Abertine rift. The crater at the top is about 2kilometers wide containing a lava lake with two lava lakes within the crater lakes.
The lava lake is believed to be the most voluminous lava lake in history its maximum elevation is said to be recorded 3,250 meters, 600 meters depth. The volcano is also surrounded with small volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions
The mountain is said to have erupted at least 32 times since 1982 and it’s not known how long the volcano has been active because there’s little scientific knowledge known about the mountain due to political instability in Congo in the past.
The mountain is said to contain the most fluid lava in the world. When Mount Nyiragongo erupts residents are always affected because they can’t outcompete the lava as it flows at 97kilometers per hour. During the 1977 eruptions, about 300 people got killed within 20 minutes as the lava lake got drained within those few minutes.
The last eruption that occurred in Mount Nyiragongo was on the 17th of January 2002 when lava spewed to three sides of the volcano ejecting smoke and ash high in the sky. Mount Nyiragongo has got the world’s largest lava lake and also the most active.
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo offers one of the most thrilling life experience, photos alone cannot describe how beautiful the summit of the mountain is, the starting point for hikers is just 30minutes drive from Goma town. Tourists will be led by ranger guides to hiking to the top of the volcano.
Other activities to do within Virunga
Mountain Gorilla Trekking. Gorilla trekking should be the highlight of your visit to Virunga national park, the park has got eight gorilla groups habituated that is Bageni gorilla group, Mapuwa gorilla group, Lulengo gorilla group, Rugendo gorilla group, Humba gorilla group, Kabirizi gorilla group, Nyakamwe gorilla group, and Manyaga gorilla group. Tourists can choose to track any of the above gorilla groups at only $450 for an unforgettable experience in Africa.
Hike Mount Nyamuragira. Mount Nyamuragira is also found within Virunga national park in Congo, if you love volcanic climbing you can explore Mount Nyamuragira after hiking mount Nyiragongo. This mountain is similar to Mauna Loa in Hawaii, there have been volcanic eruptions at the flanks of the volcano creating small volcanoes that have only lasted for a while. Mount Nyamuragira is said to have erupted at least 40 times since 1885, it has got a 2-kilometer wide caldera at the top with walls of up to 100 meters high. The last time the mountain erupted was in 2011-201M.
Visit Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage. Tourists can visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage where you will find Andre who was featured at the Oscar-nominated documentary of the Virunga and Senkwekwe orphanage. These gorillas were orphaned after the 2007 gorilla genocide that saw ten gorillas dead and seven injured. In addition to that, you can visit the canine anti-poaching unit, this are dogs trained to find poachers in and within Virunga national park.
Temperatures in mount Nyiragongo can drop up to 0° at night or during the rain season, tourists are always advised to come along with warm clothing, jackets, garden gloves, insect repellents, waterproof hiking boots, sunscreens, energy snacks and so much more.
Climbing Mount Nyiragongo takes about 3-4 hours, the time will always depend on the weather and physical fitness of the group. Porters are always available to be hired at $15-$25 per porter to help tourists carry their backpacks.
At the top of Mount Nyiragongo, are summit huts that tourists can sleep in to observe the natural wonder at night, the are other lodges that tourists can sleep the night before hiking up to Mount Nyirangono like Mikeno lodge.
The best time of the year to visit Mount Nyiragongo is in the dry season because during the wet season, tourists might get disrupted by rain hence ruining the best experience and clouds might also cover up the crater and you won’t be able to see clearly.
Tourists visiting Virunga National Park can sleep in Bukima tented camp, Mikeno lodge, Kibumba tented camp, Nyiragongo summit shelter and Tchegera tented camp among the rest.
Getting to Virunga National Park to hike Mount Nyiragongo is easier when you fly into Rwanda and take four hours to drive to Congo border and then take about one hour to Virunga National Park.