Mountain Nyiragongo is a beautiful strato volcano that is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and also features the world’s largest lava lake. It stands proudly on the border of Congo and Rwanda, sitting over 11,000 feet high. The volcano’s caldera (magma chamber) is almost one mile wide and it holds a deep lava lake. Treks to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano begin at the Kibati patrol post. The time required to reach the summit depends ones average –fitness.
How to Get There
When visiting Mount Nyiragongo one can start at the town of Gisenyi in Rwanda and then cross into Goma in the DR Congo. The volcano is around 9 miles away from the town of Goma. You can either rent a car, or pay around $20 to a taxi driver to take you to the Virunga National Park. The budget option would be to take the public bus, however it is usually overcrowded. The hike usually starts early in the morning.
If you need more assistance with hiking, you can hire a porter who will carry your backpack for around $24, but bring cash for tips as it is customary plus instead of packing your own food, you can pay a volcano staff person to climb the volcano and cook for you. The cook will carry snacks, drinks, and prepare dinner when you get to the summit. They will also serve belly-warming beverages to battle the cold temperatures. Though you may feel dizzy because of the altitude, it’s important to keep yourself well fed and hydrated. In addition, accommodation is included in the price if you book a tour company. Once you summit to the top of the volcano, there are 12 huts waiting, each with single beds.
You don’t need to be an athlete to take on this hike, as the duration is only two days. Nevertheless, it still is very demanding and you need to be in a good healthy condition. The surface is not even, and the volcano is rock-strewn. The altitude is extreme, so you may feel tired or dizzy. Everyone can climb the mountain at their own pace but always bearing in mind that the summit is at 11,400 feet high, so it will be hard work.
One should have a Packing List
The conditions are varying and extreme during the hike hence one must make sure you pack everything you need. The temperatures may vary from hot at the bottom to freezing cold at the peak of the mountain. That said, remember to pack all the warm clothing you can. Though there is a volcano lake in the summit, you will freeze. There is also a lot of rain during the wet seasons (between March and May, and again in November) so one should have a change of clothes just in case.
It would also be a great idea if you also bring a sleeping bag to put on top of the mattresses of the huts, otherwise, you will feel cold. They are not well insulated and the mattresses are thin. Unless you are sure you don’t get sick in high altitudes, buy some Diamox to take during the hike.
Hiking through lava fields
There are certain requisites for going on the Nyiragongo hike;