How had is hiking mount Nyiragongo volcano? – It’s 5,000 times colder at the summit than you think. Take twice as many warm clothes as you think you’ll need. Everyone in my group was freezing all night.
Click on the link to read more about what you should pack for the hike
I know it sounds intimidating, but once you are there, it’s anything but. Booking through Great Adventure Safaris, you will have someone from the park meet you at the border and stay with you at all times, and there is no need to worry about anything.
The trek is tough but doable. It can take you 5-6 hours to reach the summit and three to get back down again. Some groups make it up in as little as four hours; some take 12 and get there after nightfall. This is a hard hike. There are no switchbacks, so you are walking straight up a volcano with very little rest. It is easily the hardest physical challenge some times. But don’t let that put you off: if you can walk around 15 miles on flat ground without stopping, you should have a high enough fitness level to make it to the top.
It’s an affordable way to sample travel in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is one of the ten most dangerous countries in the world, so traveling extensively there is not an option unless you want to die. Climbing Nyiragongo volcano is a pretty safe way to spend 24 hours in the country while doing something badass at the same time.
You can’t predict the weather and we ended up being fortunate on our trip. You do run the risk of hiking all the way to the top of the volcano and seeing absolutely nothing when you get there. Nature predicts.
It’s worth paying for extras. On top of that, you can pay $5 for a wooden walking pole/stick, which was more than worth it on the descent. Finally, you can shell out $100 for a gear + meal package. While this isn’t essential, not having to pack a sleeping bag, or attempt to prepare dinner and breakfast for yourself while on top of a volcano, for a huge bonus.
Diamox is a good idea. Unless you’ve spent time above 3,500 metres (around the altitude of Cusco, Peru) and know you aren’t prone to altitude sickness, it’s wise to stock up on Diamox (altitude sickness preventative) and take it on the hike.
You can leave your luggage behind. The good news is that there’s a luggage room you can store your bags in while you are hiking. You can buy the gear package from Virunga National Park, which come with a fully-stocked backpack.
Don’t read the news before you arrive. Here is what you need to know about the safety situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, if you are likely to be in any danger, Virunga closes the entire park and doesn’t let anyone enter. It makes sense if something was to happen to a tourist there, they’d suffer enormous losses.
Because of this, we recommend that you don’t, read any news about the Democratic Republic of Congo before you arrive, and because all you will do is scare yourself. It is better to be ignorant and know that if you were in any real danger, you wouldn’t be allowed into the National Park.
How hard is hiking mount Nyiragongo volcano? – Don’t get too close to the edge. There are no barriers at the summit of Nyiragongo volcano, and it’s all too easy to slip and fall. A few years ago, a Chinese woman died when she tumbled into the crater. Needless to say, be very careful and don’t get too close to the edge not even for the ‘gram.
Don’t bother attempting to fly a drone over the volcano. It is referred to the volcano as a drone graveyard because there were dozens of broken ones littered all over the summit. It has something to do with the ash in the air affecting how they fly.
Avoid weekends if you want a smaller group. Weekends are the busiest times to hike, because the UN and NGO workers in Goma often sign up to climb on Saturdays. Groups can go up to around 24 on the Saturday, but a normal number is more like 6 or 8.
Tip your porter, cook, rangers, and guides. Bring extra cash with you to tip everyone when you finish hiking. These guys risk their lives every day to take tourists all over Virunga, so you will definitely want to show your appreciation.
Get travel insurance. Yes, you need it don’t ignore. Arrange travel insurance way in advance for your trip. Battle face is a good option if you are coming up with nothing, as they will insure pretty much anyone for any trip ever. And, of course, if you are not British, you should definitely go with World Nomads. They are one of the best travel insurance providers.