Apart from tracking mountain gorillas, Virunga National Park is also famous for volcano hiking experiences at Nyiragongo volcano-the most stunning stratovolcano in Africa. Nyiragongo volcano is a home to the world’s largest lava lake while on its forested base area is inhabited by abundant wildlife specifically chimpanzees, monkeys and bushbuck. Nyiragongo’s summit rim is largely composed of vegetation and mostly dusted with snow.
On the top of the Nyiragongo volcano, visitors can view not just its stunning Lava Lake but also the hot gases that explode up with a mosaic of molten lava. Although it is predictable and safe for visitors, Nyiragongo volcano is highly feared for its eruptions. Due to the high silica content of its lava, Nyiragongo’s lava flows had reached 100 kilometers per hour and even went as far as Lake Kivu.
Interested travelers to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano, start their hike at the Kibati patrol station which is about half an hour drive from Goma Town. The patrol station doesn’t take more than sixty minutes for visitors to drive from Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. The park rangers are always available to lead visitors during trekking and porters are also present for hire. The time needed for one to reach the summit depends on the average physical fitness of a given group but in normal cases visitors can spend around four to six hours.
The volcano’s altitude can be challenging since the hike starts at 1989 meters and ascends to 3470 meters in a short time and this means that travelers must have a bottle or two of water. For visitors who are affected by the Acute Mountain Sickness, they must talk to their physicians concerning taking preventative measures prior making the hike. It is possible for physically fit travelers to get themselves on top and even descend within a day.
However, most groups choose to spend a night in the decent lodging facility available at the summit. Nyiragongo volcano hike cost about $300 per visitors! Interested travelers also need to carry their rain jackets and cold weather gear. For visitors who choose to live around Mikeno lodge, they can organize packed meal service for their safari while those traveling with tour groups must provide for themselves. You should note that while on Nyiragongo, there are no food services! For porter hiring, visitors can pay $12 for a day and $24 for an overnight safaris. The maximum weight that porters can carry is 15 kilograms!