When it comes to breathtaking adventures, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is exceptionally one of the best destinations for you to realize your dreams with most exhilarating adventures of lifetime. Besides its spectacular mountain gorillas and the lowland gorillas, this country also features Mount Nyiragongo which ranks as Africa’s most powerful volcano mountains. For adventure lovers, hikers or climbers, you have a reason to visit the DRC now.
This exceptional volcano is situated almost 25 kilometers north of Lake Kivu along the East African Rift Valley within the Virunga National Park. It stands at altitude 3470 metres and it is credited for its outstanding adventure experiences especially for adventure enthusiasts in the world. Mount Nyiragongo contains a volume of 500 cubic kilometers and expansive Lava flows from the volcano blanket 1500 square kilometers of the East African Rift where some Lava flows were sighted covering 30 kilometers from its summit. This volcano is believed to have erupted for about 40 times ever since 1885 and after every few years it explodes with lots of lava flows extending to several kilometers to the scarcely populated sites of the tropical forest and agricultural areas around it while also leaving out physical features. In 2002, it exploded and the Lava Lake drained from fissures on its western flanks. This effect was also experienced around Goma town and as a result over 200000 people were left homeless. The broad shield volcano of about 3058 meters high contains a summit caldera of nearly 2 kilometers wide and its walls extend to almost 100 meters high during certain explosions. A hike to the smoky summits of this volcano is such dramatic experience that comes once in a lifetime. Its crater which is 2km wide features the Lava Lake in between two Lava benches along the crater walls. One of the Lava benches straddles at 3175 meters and the second at 2975m. A hike to Mount Nyiragongo allows you to catch a glimpse of the most stunning Lava Lakes that formed as a result of volcanic activity and features as the largest Lava Lake in the world. While at its outstanding Summit, you can only position yourself at a safe distance to allow you catch a glimpse of the bubbling Lava cauldron that reflects the real volcano energy of Mount Nyiragongo as it heaves and breathes! Whereas the hike is exhilarating, the experience thereafter is worth appreciating and never regrettable. Usually, the hike lasts 4-6 hours which comes with hot conditions that will make you sweat a bit as you hike on the top of this magnificent volcano. The path to the summit is a bit easy and not all that very steep. The hike is really extra-ordinary, but the trail leads you to spectacular birdlife and small species of mammals en-route. All hikes commence at the Kibati station and hikers or climbers and porters are accompanied by the park rangers. You have to be physically well to hike through this mountain.
Getting to Mount Nyiragongo
You can fly into Rwanda Kigali International Airport, where you will connect to Goma town which lies across the border from Gisenyi about three and half hours’ to drive from Kigali. For late arrivals you can spend a night in Kigali and the nest day set off to the Virunga National Park. In case of flights, there is Ethiopia Airlines and domestic Democratic Republic of Congo Airlines that fly up to Goma though this airport has not yet reach international standards. You are reminded that self drives may not be necessary for DRC. You are encouraged to book through the local tour operators. DRC is still recovering from instabilities and you are encouraged to look out for any security alerts before traveling to the Congo.
Packing list for mount Nyiragongo hiking
You need hiking boots but they should be light weight, rain jacket, rain pants, heavy fleece, thin stretchy pants, long underwear and 4 pairs of socks, heavy sleeping bag and light sweater, water, snacks, camera. Also do not forget your walking stick. Hire a porter in case of heavy load. A porter can be hired at $24 and about 15 kg of the luggage is to be carried by one porter.
Mount Nyiragongo hiking permit
You can spend a night at Nyiragongo or Mikeno Lodge, Bukima, Tchegera Island, Lulimbi. To hike through Mount Nyiragongo, permits can be got from tour operators or through the Virunga National Park but this requires early booking. Hiking permit and overnight stay at the summit shelters cost an adult international visitor $300, Congolese $90 and child (international) $175. Only 24 people are permitted to climb to Mount Nyiragongo.
Best time for Mount Nyiragongo hiking
Mount Nyiragongo is an all year round adventure but the weather patterns are hard to tell due to the equatorial rain forest. From March to May and November, the area experiences heavy rain and the dry spell starts in June to October and December. Hiking mount Nyiragongo is best done in the months of January and February, then from June to September. For visitors to Virunga National Park, this adventure is best to combine with mountain gorilla trekking or lowland gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
In conclusion, Mount Nyiragongo hiking is one of the breathtaking adventures in world that you should par take before you die. If you are planning your hike to the bubbling volcano make sure that you are physically well for this adventure.