First timer guide to Nyiragongo volcano hike – If you are looking for a great adventure in a wild place, you should keep reading this blog post as it has all the information you need for guidance. The Nyiragongo Volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most active ones in the world. This 3470-meter-high stratovolcano, just in the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Virunga National Park, has a caldera of more than a kilometer wide. You can climb up there and observe from its summit a lava lake. The last time this infamous volcano erupted was in 2002 and it destroyed the town of Goma with its lava flows.
Standing on the edge of an active volcano and watch its big crater full of bubbling lava is a once in a lifetime experience. It’s amazing to be able to observe nature’s power at its best. This would truly be a highlight in your life.
You may be thinking you need to be an athlete to complete such a deed. Not really. This hike lasts for only two days. Though it is demanding, any healthy person can do it. The surface has rocks and the altitude is extreme, so you cannot hurry. This makes this hike suitable for both slow and fast hikers. If you want to take a look at the lava lake, you need to trek up to three and a half km (11,400 feet). Anyway, it is best if you do physical exercise the months before the hike.
Remember that the temperature in the volcano may be very different from that in the city center. As in any high mountain, it may be cold at the summit. Not even a lake of lava will keep you warm, so make sure you pack thermic clothing. The volcano is in a rain forest and between March to May and November, it tends to rain a lot. The dry months are usually June to October. The rest of the months are more unpredictable and can be both sunny and rainy.
If you want to take good photographs, the dry season is the best moment to visit this volcano. The sky is always clear and you can take clear shots. On a 4-day Nyiragongo volcano hike and Gorilla trekking, visitors have an opportunity to combine the stratovolcano hike and see Gorillas in the Virunga forest. Read more about what to pack for your hike
Bear in mind that at such a high altitude, you may not be able to see the lava lake. Sometimes, when it is cloudy, even the bright lava doesn’t penetrate the fog. You cannot predict the weather in these extreme conditions. So you may climb up and find out the sky is not clear.
There’s no need to pay for a private tour. You will have to book through Virunga Park’s website anyway, and you will get the same experience. Someone from the park will meet you at the entrance and stay with you during the entire hike. Also, you should hire a porter. They charge around USD24 for both ascending and descending. And they carry all the water, food, cameras, and other things you want to bring. They also help where you need a push or pull or if you have difficulties climbing. Bring some extra money for tips as it is not compulsory but customary.
Believe it or not, your group and you can pay a cook to climb the volcano with you. The park offers you this service. This person can hand you snacks, drinks, and cook dinner once you reach the summit. They also provide you with hot tea or coffee to warm up. Though you may not feel hungry at such altitude, you must build your energies for the trip back the following day. in the morning of the second day, you can have a lovely breakfast, too. At the rest stops, you can buy walking sticks to help you keep balance.
There are 12 huts at the summit of the mountain, which have 2 single beds each. They provide some shelter from the outside, but they are still very cold. You may want to bring a sleeping bag and thermic clothing even for sleeping. The park’s fee includes the accommodation. Porters carry their tents and sleep outside the shelters. Read more about Nyiragongo summit accommodation
Remember to get your yellow fever shot and bring the certificate. Otherwise, the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo will ask you to get the vaccine one more time and pay for it. You will also need a hiking permit issued by the Virunga National Park which costs USD300. Hikers have to pay in advance (before the day of hiking).
Unless you are sure you are not prone to get sick in high altitudes, bring some Diamox and take it during the hike. Otherwise, you may feel sick all the time. Also, you may want to bring a warm sleeping bag to put on top of the skinny mattresses they give you. The insulation in the huts is not good and the temperatures are freezing.
You will be hiking with a large group, plus the porters. Do not leave your personal belongings unattended in the huts. You can also leave your things behind in a luggage room and just take what you need.
Hiking this majestic mountain will be a challenge. But if you follow these pieces of advice, you will be good to go. Just imagine reaching the summit and watching the lava move like waves in the ocean. A once in a lifetime experience! Contact Great Adventure safaris if you need more details about the first timer guide to Nyiragongo volcano hike in Congo Africa.