Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano in the Virunga mountain ranges, in East-central Africa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mount Nyiragongo is located inside Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only 20 kilometres north of Goma and Lake Kivu; west of the Rwandan border. Mount Nyiragongo has an elevation that stretches to 3,470 meters, with a main crater about 2 kilometres wide containing a lava lake. Given the Mount Nyiragongo height, hiking it is one of the best and most done activities by travelers who visit Congo. The depth of Mount Nyiragongo’s lava lake varies and it at one time had the most volume in the world, with a depth of 600 meters.

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the top tourist attractions in Congo after the Virunga National Park famous for the mountain gorillas.

Mount Nyiragongo has a number of small volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions surrounding it. During an eruption, the lava of Mount Nyiragongo flows quickly at a speed of 100km per hour. The rapid lava flow causes a danger to human life as it quickly gets to them even before they can get to safety when the volcano erupts.

Mount Nyiragongo has been erupting for centuries now though not much is known of it before 1882. Since 1882, however, Mount Nyiragongo has erupted up to 35 times to date. There were times when even after an eruption, the activity was continuous for years at a time, with a churning lava lake in the crater.

The most recent volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo after the 17th January 2002 after several months of seismic and fumarolic activity occurred in 2021. The 2021 Mount Nyiragongo eruption happened on 22 May. The Mount Nyiragongo eruption lava spread as far as the Goma Airport and moved towards the city centre of the eastern Goma area. The Mount Nyiragongo eruption claimed lives of at least 32 people mostly caused by the car crashes resulting from the evacuation.

The 2002 Mount Nyiragongo eruption had up to 400,000 people being evacuated upon warnings raised of the eminent eruption, with people being taken to nearby Gisenyi in Rwanda. The lava flowed long enough that it covered the northern end of the runway of Goma International Airport, leaving only two-thirds of the southern part usable, and continued to flow till Lake Kivu.

Scientists from the Goma Volcanic Observatory monitor Mount Nyiragongo 24/7 year after year with seismic data produced every 4 minutes and temperature data produced every 10 minutes. However, the 2021 Mount Nyiragongo eruption caught everyone unaware and occurred so abruptly. Minimal impact however was felt as compared to the 2002 Mount Nyiragongo eruption.

Mount Nyiragongo
Mount Nyiragongo

Mount Nyiragongo is undoubtedly of the most visited tourist attraction in Virunga National Park and the Congo at large, after the mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park as well. Mount Nyiragongo has been visited by over a million tourists who all come to marvel at the beautiful scenic boiling lava lake. Following the eruption however, and the unrests in Virunga National Park, safaris to Mount Nyiragongo especially for travelers after the sought after Mount Nyiragongo hike, have since stopped.

There are Mount Nyiragongo safaris organised for travellers who would wish to hike the volcano. 3 Days Nyiragongo hike is one of the most opted for Congo safaris tour that has travellers exploring and hiking Mount Nyiragongo.

For one to take part in a Nyiragongo volcano hike, purchase of a hiking permit which can be purchased through a reputable tour operator like Focus East Africa Tours is important. Get in touch with a tour operator of your choice for as long as they are knowledgeable to help you create a fitting Mount Nyiragongo hiking safari and give you more information about this stratovolcano during your planning process, should you wish to visit the Mount Nyiragongo when it’s still closed.

As you plan out your ultimate Mount Nyiragongo hiking safari in due time, be sure to also ask your safari planning a whole lot more about the active volcano for example, the best time to visit Mount Nyiragongo, tips for hiking Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Nyiragongo height (which can be got from the internet though!), Mount Nyiragongo map, facts about Mount Nyiragongo, among so many others. A Mount Nyiragongo hike safari is a rewarding experience, unique in that you get to watch an active volcano with a boiling lava lake! As we wait to have the Nyiragongo Mountain and the Virunga National Park re-opened, do not hesitate to always check in for updates about the same, that you can get back to planning your ultimate Mount Nyiragongo hike safari.

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