All about Nyiragongo Volcano

Nyiragongo Volcano Lava

Nyiragongo Volcano Lava

introduction to Nyiragongo Volcano

Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano in the Virunga Mountains of east-central Africa. It lies in the Volcano area of Virunga National Park, Congo, close to the border of Rwanda, twelve miles, north of Goma. It is 11,385 feet high, with a central crater of 1.3 miles wide and 820 feet deep having a liquid lava pool. Some older craters on the peak are well-known for their plant life. Nyiragongo is famous for its shocking eruptions. In 1977, some two-thousand people were killed, in 2002 Goma was largely damaged by lava, creating a refugee crisis.

Nyiragongo hosts one of the biggest lava lakes in the planet. Its near neighbor, Nyamuragira no longer has a lava lake, but has had one in the past. Both volcanoes erupt extremely alkaline lavas, very liquid, from either the crater of fissures in the flanks.

The volcanoes are placed on the Albertine Rift, the western branch of East African Rift Valley system. There are 2 older stratovolcanoes in the vicinity, Shaheru and Baruta. These are incompletely overlapped by Nyiragongo. The flanks of all 4 volcanoes have over a 100 parasitic cones mainly along radial fissures. The grouping has been known as the Virunga Volcanic Field.

The most recent activity at Nyiragongo start in June of 1994. A lava lake once again packed part of the crater. The lava lake was about 130 feet in diameter and sent lava flows on the floor of the 2,600 feet diameter crater. The area of the lava lake was approximately fifty feet below the level of the lake when it drained in 1977.

Nyiragongo is linked with the East African Rift and is part of the Virunga Volcanic Chain. It is in the Congo, close to the border with Rwanda. Nyiragongo is in National Park of Virgunga and is of Africa most active volcanoes.

Nyiragongo Volcano Lava lake at Night

Mount Shaeru and Mount Baratu are the closest of the other volcanic mountains to Nyiragongo each with visible signs of past volcanic eruptions. Dried volcanic rocks, cinder cones, empty craters, steep sided summits, and other volcanic land specs spread in all corners of the bigger Virunga volcanic massif and need no interpretations.

Mount Nyiragongo has erupted thirty-time since 1882, sometimes the lava flowing long distances at top speed causing destruction to anything standing in its way. Such as the 2010 eruption that claimed more than hundred human lives, damaged wildlife, livestock and to the lakeside town of Goma was in ruins with high refugee statistics.

Visitors taking a 1 night hiking safari to the summit of Mount Nyiragongo get amazing thrilling once in a lifetime experiences. Under the cover of darkness in the night, the hikers clearly examine the red-hot bubbling of the lava lake underneath the earth crust and gushing red smoke paints the sky. Not lots of people on earth get this physical experience. The hikers with pre booked hiking permit bring together at Kibati Ranger Post, about thirty minutes drive from Goma town after sunrise. The rangers cross check the hiking permits, brief hikers on the Mount Nyiragongo hiking regulations, share their regular hiking experiences and provide brief orientation about the hiking safari.

Shortly, an entourage that contains porters, armed guards, guides and the visiting hikers set out on an expedition into the mountains. Note the rise is high, terrain may be uneven, it rains at anytime and though the hike is not necessarily so irritating but hikers need some degrees of body physical health. The hike to the summit takes four to six hours on average and the beauty of the adventuring on Mount Nyiragongo surrounds hikers from all corners.

Best time to Climb Nyiragongo Volcano or visit Virunga Congo

Nyiragongo Volcano is found in Virunga National Park placed in Eastern part in Democratic republic of congo and it has been reopened for visitors again in 2019 following the closure in May 2018 after the attack to the 2 British tourists. The Virunga National Park contains both wildlife & primates animals but exceptionally called for gorilla trekking. Congo tourism is at peak during the day season (June to October) and its among the safari activities done in Democratic republic of congo for Congo Safari.

From December to April, even mid-June to October is truly the top time to visit Nyiragongo because it is not as chill as in the wet season and also you will be capable to view the peak very clear. Besides, for most of the mountaineers, January and December are the top time for them to climb Nyiragongo.

Democratic republic of Congo is hot and sunny all year round although you should keep it in mind that others parts of Congo experience different kinds of climate as well as Nyiragongo since it is placed in the middle of the equatorial rain forest, thus there are also changes in the weather where there are continue rains during certain months of years, including October to November and March to May.

Most recommended months of visit

  • End of Dec to April: Dry season for the north means slightly simpler travel situations
  • Jan, the traveler planning for either gorilla mountain trekking as an include on for the Nyiragongo Volcanic hike should consider January.
  • April – September – Dry season for the south and top time to attempt overland routines across the nation.

There truly is no wrong or right time to visit this well-loved place. That said, as a rule of thumb, for safari in Congo, the dry season is the most famous time of year.

Why you have to visit Nyiragongo volcano

Mount Nyamuragira is placed in left and Nyiragongo in the right of Virunga National Park. Not much is famous about how long the Volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least thirty-four times, including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, generally in the form of a churning lava Lake in the crater.

The Volcano partly overlaps with 2 older Volcanoes, Shaheru and Baratu, and is also surrounded by 100s of little volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions.

The lava Lake activity contained via 2010. At present, the Lake is generally confined within a large, steep-sided cinder cone on the crater floor, approximately sixty feet high and six-hundred feet wide.

Between 1894 and 1977 the crater contained a dynamic Lava Lake. On January 10, 1977, the crater walls fractured, and Lava Lake drained in less than an hour.  The 1977 eruption raised awareness of the special risks posed by Nyiragongo, and because of this it was designed a Decade Volcano, worthy of particular sturdy, in 1991.

Approximately 147 people died in the eruption from asphyxiation by carbon dioxide and building collapsing due to the earthquakes and lava. At least fifteen percent of Goma comprising 4,500 building were damaged, leaving approximately 120,000 people homeless. This serious activity continued for about 3 months and caused the collapse more buildings. 6 months after the begin of the 2002 eruption, Nyiragongo volcano erupted again.

Nyiragongo activity is ongoing, but presently confined to the crater, where another Lava Lake has formed approximately 250 metres below the level of the 1994 Lava Lake.

Localized carbon dioxide toxicity, called locally as “mazuku”, has killed kids even more recently. In places where the gas seeps from the ground in relatively high levels, without the dispersing effects of wild, its effect can be serious.

Nyiragongo volcanic eruptions historical facts

Mount Nyiragongo in Democratic Public of Congo and the oldest Virunga national park it lies on the dynamic Volcano of Mt Nyiragongo that is open for tourists and other visitors for climbing/hiking and it is still erupting up-to now.

Mt Nyiragongo is a dynamic volcano with an elevation of  3470m in the Virunga mountains in the line of Albertine Rift Valley, Nyiragong is placed in the Virunga National Park in the Congo approximately 15kms from Lake Kivu and Goma Town, bordering with Rwanda, the big crater of Mt Nyiragongo is approximately 2 kilometers and contains active lava lake in it.

Mt Nyiragongo cater has 2 distinct chilled lava branches within the crater walls and one is approximately 3,175 metres, the lower one is approximately 2,975 m Mount Nyiragongo’s lava lake is the most big lava lake in the history today.

The depth of the lava lake varies; its highest elevation of the lava lake is recorded 3,2650 m prior to the 1977 January eruption, this lava lake is 600mts depth of approximately (2,000 ft).

Since 1882 Mt Nyiragongo has erupted thirty-four times including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, often in the type of a churning lava lake in the crater, volcano overlaps with 2 older volcanoes, Shaheru and Baratu, and is also surrounded by 100s of little volcanic cinder cones from different eruptions, lava lake activity continued via 2010.

Nyiragongo eruption is the most dynamic Volcanic in Africa, Mt Nyiragongo is one of 8 volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, climbing Mt Nyiragongo volcano is an lifetime experience, the hiking starts at the Kibati ranger post, which is thirty minutes from Goma town, the Park ranges lead all porters and treks are accessible to ready to hike with you, reaching the top depends on the fitness of each person in the group but highest it takes 4 – 6 hours on a best day.

Is it safe to climb nyiragongo volcano and stay by the lava lake?

The fact is, you are hiking along a dynamic volcano, so there is a risk factor there. The Volcano is, definitely, is monitored daily and if there any sign of danger or eruptions all treks are stopped. Anyway, with it being mother mature, sometimes it is difficult to guess.

Even though a lot of research has been performed on the activity of volcanoes, there is still much to learn. Even though it is doubtful, there is a pretty chance that an eruption can occur that was not predicted by experts.

Travel to the Congo has forever been flagged as a top-risk country due to their political unrest being a danger to visitors. In May of 2018, the political unrest had moved into the Virunga National Park, where two British visitors who were set to do the Nyiragongo Volcano Trek were abducted by domestic militia.

During the parks tourism closer, they are taking the matter extremely seriously. Outside unique intelligence forces have been brought in to audit the park condition and to access what course of action should be taken to rise the security for visitors. Making sure the park is secure for visitors and rangers is the number 1 priority. One safety is restored to the park, it will be scheduled to reopened for guests to experience its beauty.

The Nyiragongo is one of most good-looking thinks to view in the Virunga behind the gorillas. The hike to Nyiragongo is approximately six hours to the summit of a mountain with approximately 3470m of height.

The evening is spend gaping in fear into the molten, watching earth heart, and watching as the crusted top of the lava lake rhythmically separates, showing bolts of luminous orange liquid below.

What You Need to Know Before Nyiragongo Volcano Trek

Placed within the heart of the popular Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo, hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano is a must-do activity for every visitor to this Central African country. Participants have to be prepared and physically fit for the reason that it involves altitude sickness, sweating and panting but the experience of participating is the activity is fully worthwhile.

The dazzling Lava Lake is forever viewed clearly at night as the sky glows used from Lava thus making the look more breathtaking thus value exploring during Congo Safaris. As earlier described, hiking this mountain needs visitors to be physically fit because of the high elevation to the summit. Anyway, there are some vital things you need to know before hiking this Volcano and these contain;

Mount Nyirangogo can be reached from several places but for security factors, it is safer through Gisenyi town in Rwanda. From Gisenyi, visitors will be driven for twenty km to the border between DR Congo and Rwanda before crossing to Goma. From Goma town, a great black rock is visible which is a reminder of the volcanoes previous eruption in 2002. The Lava that once flowed at big temperature has now cooled to leave a black rock. After Goma, you will be moved to the head trail at Kibati village. You will be briefed on what to guess before beginning your Mount Nyiragongo volcano hike. The briefing covers all vital aspects of hiking the Nyiragongo volcano and contains what to guess, the stopping points and what to pack. Hikers will need to move as a group for most of the activity except for the end part of the hike.

Overnight on top of the Nyiragongo volcano cabins

Twelve summit cabins are offered at the top of volcano each comprising of two single beds where hikers can put their sleeping bags. The cabins have a pillow and mattress. While at the cabin hikers can provided with breakfast, snacks, water, dinner, and sleeping bags. The mountain top can be freezing chill with powerful winds. You need to be to go prepared with hot clothing. The porters and cook will help prepare warm tea and coffee to help relieve hikers from the cold. The cost of an overnight at the summit is added on the permit fee. From the cabins you smell the bubbling and boiling lava.

Getting down

After marveling at the boiling magma and lava lake, it is time to descent. Descending is much quicker and it takes about 3 hours to reach the beginning point. Climbing down through quick rocks and steep sections can be extremely challenging and one needs to be alert so not to be hurt by the sharp rocks. The amazing thing about descending is that you have a sustained view of the remarkable Virunga National Park and distance Volcanoes adding the Rwenzori Mountains in Lake Kivu and Uganda.

Vital information about climbing Mount Nyiragongo

Best in best shape

Climbing mount Nyiragongo is challenging and needs one to be fit. The mountain becomes steeper as one ascends while climbing down has its own issues – ankle and knee pain because of force. The weather situations get more challenging as one ascends the mountains. You need to take that into consideration mainly if you are sensitive to great weather changes.

Mental preparedness

This is a key for the reason that it is not all about being fit. You need to be determined to complete the hike all the issues you may face. One can prepare the body and mind weeks before the hike by going for minor hikes on hills or rocks around your home.

Keep your valuable safe

Forever keep your valuables like money, cameras, and notebooks close to you even while at the cabins with fellow hikers.

A yellow fever vaccination card is vital

To cross the border to Congo, you will be needed to show your passport and yellow fever card. Without the card, you may not be permitted entry to Congo.

The best time to hike mount Nyiragongo

Hiking mount Nyiragongo can be performed all through the year but dry season is preferred by visitors. The dry season fall between June and September and also February, January, and December. The rainy seasons cause the trails to be more slippery and hard for hikers.


Earlier preparation

This adventure is not for the un-prepared and faint-hearted persons but rather for the powerful hearted and physically fit people. Preparation therefore contains planning through doing some physical workout to make sure you muscles are accustomed to what to expect head of you. Not only that, preparation contains timely booking with a trip company or directly with Virugna National Park Headquarters and ensure you have booked for accommodation and transport as well as when booking for the activity.

Advance booking and hiking permits

It is forever vital to book for the adventure in advance thus you have to ensure to get hiking permits earlier before traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo. A hiking permit is one of the must-have things for this activity and cost just $300 per person which is more cost-friendly that gorilla trekking that cost just $400 per person.

Safety precaution

You have to maintain different safety precautions when considering hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano and these contain moving in groups when going around at night, forever be alert and ensure to forever keep your things camera, clothes, phones and binoculars safety.

Climbing/Hiking time

Just like most activities within Virunga National Park, visitors participating in hiking the Nyiragongo volcano have to arrive at Kabita Patrol Station by 7:00am for pre-hiking briefing approximately about the different safety precautions you need during this activity then the real activity begins by 8:00am in the firm of experienced guides and armed rangers. The hiking time depends on the speed you and your participants are moving. There are a number of resting locations within this Volcano but you will need 5-7 hours to each summit of the Mountain.

Where to spend overnights

There are over twelve summit shelters at the Peak of the Volcano that provides exquisite accommodation to climbers, and each of them contains 2 single beds where visitors can lay their sleeping bags. You will need to carry your own drinks and food or come with money since drinks and food are not forever in the cost of accommodation.

Hiring porters

You will need to hire a porter to carry your backpack (with cameras, food, binoculars, clothes and drinking water) as well as support you during hiking to the summit of this volcano.

Accepted age and health status when hiking mount Nyiragongo

The accepted age of this activity is twelve years and participants have to be physically fit. Climbers also have to be hydrated all through so as to adapt to the height changes you are likely to experience when hiking to the summit.

The Essential Packing List for Nyiragongo Volcano Trek

So if you are planning to hike Nyiragongo Volcano! A volcano with a wonderful adventure in Congo also called as Africa paradise. That is quite best that you are about to hike the world’s most active Volcano with the biggest larva lake at the summit. It is vital to purchase best standard and reliable gear and foot wear since you will be facing extremely chill conditions during the hike, yet you will still have to deal with top altitude, low and high temperatures and different weather situations.

Packing List

Due to the fact that you will be climbing to places to higher elevations, you will need to park long sleeved shirts, lightweight rain jacket, long trousers, lightweight hiking boots and backpacker for carrying snacks and drinking water as well as walking stick among others.

Here is a fast list of the gear that you need to pack for your Nyiragongo hike:


Do not underestimate the significance of the footwear regardless of the trails because you need to have a best pair of hiking shoes. You do not have to make your trek miserable by having a twisted ankle at the end of your wonderful trek. You need something with lots of water proof, grip and with ample ankle support since the trails are steep. All you need to do, is to purchase best fitting shoes that you can completely break in before you.


You will need a best wide brim trekking that provides protection from the sun heat and rain drops. Top choices are one with light fleece, are waterproof, simple to pack and cover your neck.

Gloves; you will need hot pair of gloves for the chiller segments of the trek, as well as saving your hands from sharp stones.


Gaiters help protect the ankle high up and are designed to stop water, dust, mud and little rocks from reaching them. From a lot of experience, gaiters are not a supreme necessity for hiking during peak season when it is warmer.


Stay hydrated at all times to support with the altitude such that once you reach the summit you will be sure true experience for overcoming the full day pressure.

Trekking sticks

Most trekkers believe they are too powerful or too young to hold walking sticks which is truly not true. Walking sticks are for every mountaineer who wants to stay on their feet while negotiating steeps, uneven terrains. You will also value the sense of walking sticks during your descent to the base when you face plus challenges of fatigue and gravity.

Head lamp

Since there are no lights at the top, it is advised that you carry a headlamp for sufficient provision of light in your cabins, to the cooking hut to the lake.


It is sensible to come handy with sunglasses to save your eyes from extra dust and wind. The key to clothing is to wear hot layers.


 Dressing in waterproof and windproof layer outer shell offer the flexibility to deal with most situations. Since you do not want to pack heavy on a 1 day hike, then you will have to carry fleece long under wear top, breathable hiking pants, and a long sleeve quicker dry shirt which jobs well for dramatic temperature on mount Nyiragongo. There also work as sweet proof gears since sweat fast evaporates from it so you would not be trekking in a soggy tee when you reach certain areas of temperature drops close to the summit. Cotton material is not advised as it lacks a right insulating capability.

Other extra contain;

  • A treated mosquito net to keep you away from mosquito bites
  • A camera with a durable battery to capture amazing moments and scenery
  • Extra clothes, since with walking, 3 many chances that you will over sweat or even rain may wet your dresses which means that you will have to carry to extra dresses for changing.

Hiking Permit Mount Nyiragongo Lava Lake

Nyiragongo hiking permit costs $300 per person including the overnight accommodation at the summit and excluding the packages and porter charges. Explore the world’s biggest lava lake in Congo on the most affordable prices provided by Congo safari firms that are leading in Congo trips for gorilla trekking & Nyiragongo trekking trip.

Booking Congo tourist visa

Trekking nyiragongo volcano can begin with the securing of the congo visitor visa, unlike other visas of other countries, DR Congo visa would not be stamped into the passport till you arrive on the border of Congo & Uganda or Rwanda & Congo.

To get discounted Congo tourist visa is pretty tiresome since a down payment of either a gorilla trekking permit or nyiragongo hiking permit or booking an accommodation in Congo so as enjoy your complete hiking adventure holiday. The Congo visa processing takes at least seven working days and if your booking are handled by the trip operators, then be assured that it will be delivered to you at no extra cost except when booking is performed by yourself then an extra charge of $100 will be needed for your application.

How to get a Nyiragongo permit

It is forever sensible to work with a honest tour operator so as to fast arrange your vacation details within East Africa or you can permit it yourself through internet by visiting the Virunga National Park site whereas for those within Congo can simply travel to Virunga National Park office headquarters from either Goma or Bunagana (Congo-Uganda border) in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The permit just caters for the services of the hike and so you will hire you posters to help you with your luggage and also find your own meals. Some lodges offer meals for you.

Nyiragongo weather, altitude & temperature

Nyiragongo is a dynamic volcano found in the Democratic republic of Congo and is guessed to have an elevation of approximately 3470. It is one of the 8 Virunga mountain ranges, that is shared between Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. It is placed about 20km from the Goma town into Virunga National Park. Its home to the biggest lava lake in the work which is guessed at 2km long.

The depth of the lava lake change and at this point there are 2 distinct levels recorded, one at 3,175m and other at 2,976m. the next nearby mountain is Nyamuragira and these 2 are liable for approximately forty percent of the full volcanic activity in Africa.

Before 1882, not much is famous about the activity of this mountain but since then it is as erupted approximately 34 times with the most recent eruption happening in 2002 and there is still activity going or even up to today but it is restricted to the lava lake.

Lava eruption at Nyiragongo mountain are generally highly fluid and the lava can flow at a speed of approximately 97/km/hr unlike the Hawaii volcanoes that have approximately 20km/hr speed. The temperature generally change between 10 C to 30 C that are generally above 31 C or below 8 C.

Nyiragongo being volcano every person would guess that it is an extremely warm place but you will be shocked that it is snow-capped on the top.


Virgunga national park experiences 2 rainy seasons of Mid-March through June and from October to December and dry seasons with the primary starting from December to Early March, then the other from June to September.






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