Safaris to hike Nyiragongo Volcano
Safaris to hike Nyiragongo Volcano DR Congo
Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 m in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, about 20 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. Nyiragongo, located in the Western branch of the Rift Valley near Lake Kivu and the DR Congo-Rwanda border, it’s one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It is notorious for its lava lake, the volcano erupts with extreme fluid, the fast-moving lava flows have repeatedly devastated areas around the volcano, such as the Goma eruption which took place in 22 May 2021, when a lava flow destroyed much of the city’s commercial center and displaced 300,000 people.
The large lava lake contained in its deep summit crater, now active again, became famous in the 1960s and 70’s when volcanologists such as Krafft’s and Tazieff studied it. It had been active for half a century before it drained in one of the volcano’s recent most catastrophic eruptions in 1977: through openings in its outer flanks in 1977, a huge lava flow poured out and killed hundreds of people. A similar event happened again in January 2002, when lava flows from flank vents drained the lake and cut through Goma, reaching Lake Kivu.
In contrast to its neighbouring, Nyamuragira volcano, a typical, and very active shield volcano comparable with Mauna Loa, – the 3470-m-high Nyiragongo displays the steep slopes of a stratovolcano. Terraces inside the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century.
Two older volcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south and look like eruption cones. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks of the volcano.
The 1.2 km diameter summit caldera containing the world’s most active and largest lava lake, Nyiragongo is famous for its extremely fluid lava that runs as water when the lava lake drains.
On the list of one of the most spectacular safari adventures one must undertake is hiking the active Nyiragongo volcano, the views of the hot boiling lava cannot be compared to anything else after the 8 km hike is one of the life-changing and unbelievable experiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo alongside mountain gorilla tracking and the low land gorilla tracking in Kahuzi-Biega.
See our popular safaris to hike the active Nyiragongo Volcano
Preparations before hiking adventure
This is considered to be one of our private guided safaris due to the nature of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, our expert guides will escort you on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure which will see you hike one of the world’s most active volcano.
However, advance planning is required in order to make arrangements in the remote eastern DR Congo.
Six months in advance is required for this expedition to take place however a last-minute inquiry can be considered based on the availability of services.
What to pack before hiking?
- Walking shoes, these hiking boots are not so needed but a good pair of hiking shoes is a must!
- The warm clothes: two layers and to sleep in when you arrive at the top, you pack warm clothes and then park extras, you are also better off having extra layers and warmth so you can enjoy watching the lava lake boiling and the bubble at night.
- The rain gear: The lightweight rain jacket with a hood will help in protecting from potential downpours especially during your hike. The rain poncho is also provided in the Virunga that provided the volcano pack in case you opt for it.
- The hat and the Sunscreen: this is mainly protecting you from Sun protection; there are lots of sun and heat in the bathroom, which is mixed with the heavy showers for the packing conundrum.
- The headlamp/ Light: there is also no light at the top as the cam is very basic; bringing the headlamp or the flashlight will help the light from your camp to the cooking hut to the lava lake.
- The Camera: This is a must for the journey as well as the lava lake even though I also found my personal iPhone did the best job of taking the images. Also, something to record the movies is good and also for capturing the movement in the evening
- Portable chargers: there is no electricity so it’s important to carry pre-charged portable chargers that will help you boost the power of your mobile devices.
- Change of dry clothes, also means that between sweat and the rain, some of your hiking clothes will be dirty and wet by the time you get to the top. You can bring a change of dry clothes including the socks to change into as well as a dry bag.
- The lightweight and the treated mosquito net
- The extra-sized passport photos for the photographic permits and the possible visa extension application.
- The first aid kits
- A torch, rechargeable lambs, spare bulbs, and the batteries that can be used as temporary for electricity in case of power failure
- The insect repellent is to protect you from mosquito bites since the park is a tropical forest and harbours many insects.
- The bush hat with a brim for sun protection will protect you from the strong sun rays.
- Sunglasses with a net strap
- The video/photo camera with extra lenses and reserve batteries. Photographing is the main component of the safari and may make sure that you have your camera ready, always change the batteries very well and in case it’s necessary, you can carry extra batteries.
- The film and torch LED models are lightweight and also have good battery life.
- The Binoculars, don’t forget that you are on the safari and you will want to clear the views of everything, so, during the process of gorilla trekking, you will be able to spot some other wildlife species like birds, primates, and mammals.
- Have a pocket French dictionary or the phrasebook that might do you some good as 8 out of 10 regions are also French-speaking
- The calculator that will help you calculate the exchange rates
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What time does the hiking start?
Travelers must be at Kabita by lately 9:00 am for a simple briefing about the safety precautions. At exactly 10:00 am, travelers start off the hiking guided by an armed experienced ranger guide. The hiking speed depends on the slowest person in the group meaning that all travelers hike at the same speed. Any travelers who will not have reached the starting point by 10:00 am will not be allowed to hike alone after the others. This, therefore, requires all travelers to be at the starting point by 10 am. There are several resting points on the slopes of the mountain meaning that travelers do not hike at a terrible speed. It takes roughly 5 hours to hike to the summit of the volcano providing travelers with spectacular views of Virunga national park and the adjacent communities.
Booking a Nyiragongo hiking permits
One of the most important requirements for hiking the active Nyiragongo volcano is the permit which costs USD 300$ and is obtained from Virunga national park in advance please ensure you book your permit with us before traveling to the Congo.
being a strenuous hike we advise hikers to hire the local porters to carry their luggage during the hike and this will be one of the ways of supporting the local communities living near the active volcano.
Accepted age and health status
Travelers above the age of 12 years are allowed however being a very remote part of Africa we at Wilderness Explorers Africa recommend at least 20 years.
Where to sleep at the summit
At the summit of the volcano are 12 summit shelters, which provide quality accommodation services to travelers. Each shelter has 2 single beds where visitors can lay their sleeping bags. Travelers who book through tour operators or direct with Virunga national park enjoy these sleeping services as part of the hiking permit fee.
In the course of the night, travelers are reminded to mind much about their property such as money, cameras, clothes, and even food. This is because the cabins at the summit are not secure as different groups of travelers gather together with porters with different hobbies and characters converge at the summit hence requiring travelers to guard their property. Similarly though interestingly, travelers are reminded to be careful while at the edge of the dazzling volcano and keep some distance.
How to get to Nyiragongo active Volcano?
The easiest way to get to Nyiragongo volcano is by flying into Kigali in Rwanda and then drive down to Lake Kivu in Gisenyi Rwanda overnight before crossing to the DR Congo the next day for the final preparations of the hike.
Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), the Congolese wildlife authority, has an agreement with Direction Générale de Migration (DGM), the Congolese immigration service, to facilitate obtaining 2-week, single-entry tourist visas for people visiting Virunga National Park. The cost of the visa is USD $105.
To qualify for a tourist visa, you must first purchase a mountain gorilla trek permit, a Nyiragongo trek permit, or book and pay for accommodation at the Mikeno Lodge.
Treks or accommodation are linked with the purchase of a tourist visa through Virunga National Park are non-refundable.
Is it safe to travel to DR Congo for hiking Nyiragongo Active Volcano?
Interestingly for the case of safety before traveling to the Congo clients are advised to check with Wilderness Explorers Africa before traveling for the current state of security as the eastern DR Congo has heavily been disturbed by rebels over years now.
When is the best time to Hike the Nyiragongo active Volcano?
From December to Mid-March, even mid-June to September is really the Best time to visit Nyiragongo because it is not as cold as in the wet season and also you will be able to see the peak very clear. Besides, for most of the mountaineers, December and January are the best time for them to climb Nyiragongo.
See our long DR Congo safari packages
THINGS TO DO
|Gorilla Tracking in Virunga national park|
|Lake Kivu Boat Safari|
|Visit Goma Town|
|Visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla Sanctuary|
|Visit Tchegera island on Lake Kivu|
WHERE TO STAY
|Tchegera Island Camp|
|Bukima Tented Camp|
WHEN TO GO
|Best time to Hike Nyiragongo Volcano|
|3 Days Nyiragongo Hike|
|7 Days Nyiragongo,Lake Kivu & Rwanda Safari|
|11 Days Nyiragongo, Virunga & Uganda Safaris|
|12 Days Nyiragongo, Lowland gorillas & Mountain gorilla safari|