Mount Nyiragongo – A hiking Challenge Awaits 

The spectacular Mount Nyiragongo is one of the active volcanoes that make up the 8 Virunga mountains.  Mount Nyiragongo last erupted  in May 2021. The other Virunga mountains are Mount Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Muhabura, Mikeno and another active mountain Nyamuragira. Mountain Nyiragongo is 3,470 meters above sea level and known for having an intriguing lava lake at its summit which has been recorded as the world’s largest lava lake.

Nyiragongo is a major tourist destination in Democratic Republic of Congo located near Virunga National Park. The hiking doors for this mountain were opened in 2014 and since then the number of visitors has rapidly increased.

Hiking Mount. Nyiragongo takes about 5-6 hours to the summit and back. Hiking the mountain is not easy especially if you are not prepared and physically fit. The mountain has steep slopes that are tiring to climb especially if you are carrying some luggage, you can however hire porters from Kibati Ranger station located at the starting point to help you with carrying the heavy language and also support you during the climbing like pulling you at rough terrain spots.

Hiking Nyiragongo Mountain

Hiking Mount Nyiragongo
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo

The Nyiragongo hiking starts in the morning at 7:00 am with a briefing by the rangers who tell you a little bit about the mountain and what rules to follow during the hike. You will come across five sections while climbing, the first one is the low altitude area which is easy to trek for those who feel that they can’t continue always end here.

The second section is at a more elevated altitude, the trails are filled with small loose lava rocks therefore you should have good hiking boots to help you navigate this section. The difficultness increases as you go higher, this is witnessed in the third section which has slippery rocks, the fourth section gets even steeper and cold, on some occasion it might rain so always carry some warm clothing for such occasions.

The fifth section leads towards the summit, this is the shortest but steepest section. Once you reach the summit, there are cabins in which you can rest and spend the night in and even prepare some tea and food and then descend the following day. There are 12 cabins and each can accommodate two people. While here you can smell the boiling lava.    

Nyiragongo hiking permits cost $300 per person. They can be directly paid at the entrance to the park or through your trusted tour operator. Besides hiking Mount Nyiragongo, there are other activities you can indulge in while there.

Other activities to do alongside visiting Mount. Nyiragongo

Gorilla trekking

Most visitors combine gorilla trekking with hiking mount Nyiragongo. The endangered mountain gorillas are a sight to admire during this hiking adventure. Gorilla permits are purchased at a fee of $400 per person. It is a thrilling experience once you get to meet the calm gorillas which are also man’s closest cousins as they share about 98% of their DNA with that of humans hence the similar characteristics and behaviors such as laughter, sadness as well as family settings.

Chimpanzee trekking

After the hike at Mount. Nyiragongo, one can opt for an easier trek like chimpanzee trekking in Virunga National Park, chimpanzees don’t stay in very high-altitude areas and therefore easy to find. This activity costs $100 per person.

Nature Walks

Hiking Nyiragongo can be tiring and challenging, for those who can take upon that challenge can go for nature walks in Virunga National Park. These are more relaxing and easier to do. Visitors are guided by rangers as they walk through the park, these walks offer opportunities to get closer to the different natural features of this popular park such as the over 2000 plant species, and they can also come across different animals like elephants, buffaloes and a variety of bird species.

Best time to Hike Mount. Nyiragongo

Hiking the Nyiragongo mountain is best done during dry season which occurs between July and September. This is because navigation and climbing is easier during this season. The trails are dry and easy to penetrate through unlike the wet season when they are muddy and slippery. You wouldn’t wish to climb when the trails are slippery and hard to navigate. Book yourself a Safari to Mount Nyiragongo and get an extraordinary hiking experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 


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