Mt. Nyiragongo is an active volcano found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the recent history it has had two distressing volcanic eruptions. The first one was related to the lava lake, while the second one from a lethal eruption off the edge of the volcano.
The lava lake is at a maximum elevation of 3250m, inside a 3465m tall stratovolcano. Its estimated depth is at 600m and with one of the Earths most fluid lavas. This lava fluid is found inside the volcano and it causes a destruction on the communities around the mountain, as the lava is a super fluid and moves very fast, lake lava is rather deep, meaning there is a large volume of this lava available and is perched at the top of a very tall and steep sided stratovolcano.
Apart from its super-fast flows that drained into the nearby cities, Nyiragongo is known as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its inability of scientists to predict such lava lake draining events. With all the warnings and disaster documented, hiking Nyiragongo offers one mesmerizing and swirling pool of lava.
When it comes to temperatures at the summit, this can drop as low as below freezing. But due to the elevation gain most people reach the summit out of breath and heavily sweating from the steep hike, however this warmth quickly disappears into coldness. Bear in mind that a complete lack of proper gear can led to endangering one’s rself and others by coming unprepared for such changes. Must carry are; full rain and cold weather gear (moisture-wicking base layer, hat, a 0°C/32° specified sleeping bag, sweater, jacket, rain resistant pants, long underwear and warm socks).
Mt. Nyiragongo has twelve summit shelters that contain two single beds where the visitors can put their sleeping bags. Although these shelters aren’t luxurious, they offer a welcome escape from the elements. An overnight in these shelters is included in the permit fee.
Meal Plan covers snacks, lunch, dinner and water depending on the number of hiking days. Also a sleeping bag, jacket, fleece top, hat and rain poncho is also included at a fee
With porters, these can be hired at the base of the climb to carry luggage and gear. Each porter is paid per day and carries a maximum of 15kgs. Extra porters can be arranged by speaking with the park ranger at the kibati station.
Arrival time at kibati station is 9:15 am on the day of the hike. Hikers naturally descend the volcano between 6:30 – 7:00 am the next morning with arrival back at Kibati station at around 11:30 am.
When it comes to hiking Nyiragongo, the minimum hiking age is 12 years of age.