Our 2 days Nyiragongo Hike tour takes you to Virunga National Park in the Congo for an amazing time viewing a boiling lava lake. Mountains with lava lakes at the summit are very few in the world. Most are not open to tourism except for research purposes in very controlled conditions. The Nyiragongo volcano is very special because it is the only one in Africa were tourists can pay to observe boiling magma up-close. The mountain is found in the eastern part of the Congo, 17 km away from Goma town and in Virunga National Park.
Virunga National Park is known worldwide as one of the last stronghold for the endangered mountain gorilla. It is a world heritage site with many of Africa’s famous mammals including the rare okapi and bongo antelope. As the oldest national park in Congo and Africa, Virunga was once larger than it is today. At that time, it was merged with the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and parts of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The park is made up of mostly rain-forest, lakes, rivers, savanna grasslands and 3 volcanoes. The key attractions in the park are hiking mountain Nyiragongo and gorilla trekking.
Mount Nyiragongo is 3,470m high and is one of the 8 making up the Virunga chain of volcanoes. Others include Mikeno, Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo. Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanoes in the world with a crater that is about 2 km wide. The Volcano has erupted over 30 times but the most recent eruptions where in 1882, 1977, 1994 and 2002. The eruption in 2002 was so fast that it flowed up to Lake Kivu and Goma town in only a few minutes. The eruption displaced thousands of people while also leaving many dead and properties destroyed. During this last eruption, the lava lake was drained for a short while but refilled after a few weeks. Mount Nyiragongo is not about to erupt soon and remains calm and safe for tourism.
Our 2 days Nyiragongo Volcano Hike starts from Goma or Kigali in Rwanda depending on circumstances. It is one of the best packages we offer because it offers travelers a very unique experience. Nyiragongo volcano hiking can be combined with gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park for a truly unforgettable experience. You can check out our 5 days Mount Nyiragongo Hike and Gorilla Trekking Package. If you find this 2 days package too ambitious, then read about our 3 day Mount Nyiragongo Hike package for more flexible travel.
Our Driver will pick you up at 7am from Gisenyi in Rwanda or Goma town in Congo and take you to the gathering point in Kibati by 8am. The briefing point for hiking mount Nyiragongo is relatively close to the Congo Rwanda border crossing. On arrival, you will be registered and given the Nyiragongo permit. This is the time to hire a personal porter. A porter costs between 10 to 15 US Dollars in cash. After the briefing, you will head out to the mountain slopes along with your personal porter and those carrying supplies (water, food etc.).
Climbing to the top of the volcano takes between 3 to 6 hours depending on how fit and fast the team is. By 5 pm, you should have reached the summit. The hike is divided into 4 major sections and gets tougher as one gets close to the summit. For the first three sections, the entire group moves as one with no one left behind. Should there be a slow hiker, the group has to wait for him/her. It is only after the 3rd section that faster hikers may leave the slower one behind. By this time the remaining distance is short and anyone left behind is expected to catch up.
Once you reach the summit, you will be shown your room from among the cabins. The cabins are built on a rim just above the lava lake. The cabin has a bed, mattress and warm bed sheets but we recommended that you bring your own sleeping bag if possible. The Guides will take you to a safe spot to admire the boiling magma for as long as you wish. The lava lake glows majestically in the night and witnessing such a spectacle can be very overwhelming. Although the smoke and amazing fires can also be observed during the day, the spectacle at night is incredible.
After spending the whole night and morning hours marveling at the lava lake, it’s time to descend the mountain. Wake up at 5:30 am and take breakfast from the summit as you wait to begin the descent at 2 Days Nyiragongo volcano hiking safari 6:30 am. Descending is much easier and takes a shorter time (2 to 3 hours). As you climb down the mountain, take time to admire the vegetation, lava soils and amazing Virunga volcanoes in the horizon. Apart from mountains, you will have more sustained views of the vast Virunga national park, Kahuzi Biega National Park, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga National Park and off course the amazing Lake Kivu. On reaching the starting point at Kibati Patrol post, you will find the driver waiting to transfer you to Goma, Gisenyi or Kigali in Rwanda. If time permits, the drive can take you for an extensive tour of the town of Goma.
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