This 2 days Nyiragongo Hike tour takes you Virunga National Park in the Congo for an amazing time viewing a boiling lava lake. Mountains with lava lakes at the summit are very few in the world. Most are not open to tourism except for research purposes in very controlled conditions. The Nyiragongo volcano is very special because it is the only one in Africa were tourists can pay to observe boiling magma up-close. The mountain is found in the eastern part of the Congo, 17 km away from Goma town and in Virunga National Park.
Virunga National Park is known around the world as one of the last strongholds for the endangered mountain gorilla. It is a world heritage site with many of Africa’s famous mammals including the rare okapi and bongo antelope. As the oldest national park in Congo and Africa, Virunga was once larger than it is today. At that time, it was merged with the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and parts of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. The park is made up of mostly rain-forest, lakes, rivers, savanna grasslands and 3 volcanoes. The key attractions in the park are hiking mountain Nyiragongo and gorilla trekking.
Mount Nyiragongo is 3,470m high and is one of the 8 making up the Virunga chain of volcanoes. Others include Mikeno, Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhavura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo. Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanoes in the world with a crater that is about 2 km wide. The Volcano has erupted over 30 times but the most recent eruptions where in 1882, 1977, 1994 and 2002. The eruption in 2002 was so fast that it flowed up to Lake Kivu and Goma town in only a few minutes. The eruption displaced thousands of people while also leaving many dead and properties destroyed. During this last eruption, the lava lake was drained for a short while but refilled after a few weeks. Mount Nyiragongo is not about to erupt soon and remains calm and safe for tourism.
Our 2 days Nyiragongo Volcano Hike starts from Goma or Kigali in Rwanda depending on circumstances. It is one of the best packages we offer because it offers travelers a very unique experience. Nyiragongo volcano hiking can be combined with gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park for a truly unforgettable experience.
The 2 days Nyiragongo hike tour includes:
- The Nyiragongo hiking permit
- The Congo Visa (Will depend on whether you are arriving from Congo or Rwanda)
- Transport to and from the Volcano
- The Nyiragongo Package which includes porters to help with carrying supplies and someone to prepare food while at the summit.
The tour excludes: –
- Porters to carry your personal stuff
- Gratuities/tips to porters, rangers and park guides
- Personal expenses like alcoholic drinks and cigars
- Hiking mount Nyiragongo is organized throughout the year and the park is currently very safe to visit.
- This tour can also start from Gisenyi or Kigali in Rwanda. Excellent African Safaris will help process the Visa through the Virunga National Park. The cost of the Visa processing is included in the price of the overall tour. It is important to have a yellow fever vaccination card before arriving in Congo.
- Climbing up and down the volcano can be very strenuous although the trails are not so steep compared to other mountains in the area. With that in mind, this tour is not recommended for pregnant mothers, those with back problems or serious medical conditions.
- Expect a personal cook among the porters moving with you to the summit. You will be provided with a lunch package, a sleeping bag and warm fleece.
- In order to have the best possible hiking experience, it is important to pack a rain coat, a hat, night torch, a camera, extra clothes, binoculars, sun cream, toiletries, proper hiking boots and a walking stick.
LODGES AND HOTELS
Mikeno Lodge: Mikeno is the only true luxury lodge built within the Virunga National Park. It is managed by the park and was built to offer high quality services offered close to the park offices. Guests who book with Mikeno Lodge have an opportunity to visit the nearby Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Centre. This Centre was established to take care of orphaned mountain gorillas. It is the only one of its kind in the word. Visits to the Centre are usually arranged late in the afternoon after the completion of gorilla trekking or Hiking Mount Nyiragongo.
How are the rooms? Mikeno has 12 large cottages made of lava stone and thatched roofs. The rooms are built on top of a hill overlooking a forest/valley with amazing views of Mount Nyiragongo and Mikeno. Each room are self-contained (showers, stone baths, open fires for warmth, verandahs and quality furniture) with modern and local Congolese decorations. Colobus Monkeys, chimpanzees and other park animals visit the lodge premises occasionally making for very interesting observations while relaxing at the verandah of your room. The lodge also has a separate bar, restaurant and lounge area.
Kibumba Tented Camp: This is a recently built mid-range lodge inside the Virunga National Park. Like Mikeno, it also has excellent views of the park, Virunga volcanoes and other points of interest. The lodge has 18 self-contained tents with the capacity to take in 36 people. Each tent is self-contained with warm showers, bathrooms, a large bed and furniture. Although the lodge is not built close to the park offices or the Senkwekwe Centre, the lodge is very close to the Goma/Rwanda border crossing and the Nyiragongo hiking point. Kibumba offers all that one would need for comfortable time in Virunga National Park while remaining affordable. They also have great food, a bar and a central lounge where guests meet to share amazing stories of their time in Africa.
Tchegera Island Tented Camp: This is an amazing mid-range lodge built on the shores of Lake Kivu and is also managed by the Virunga National Park. The lodge offers good quality self-contained tents and is excellent for relaxation after completing activities in the park. It also offers a level of privacy because of its location in a secluded island.
Guests can tour the island more closely using a kayak or paddle board after completing activities like gorilla trekking or Nyiragongo Hiking in the park. Birders and those who love beautiful nature will not be disappointed while at the island. They can go out for a simple walk and look out for herons, African Eagles, gulls and cormorants. In the evenings, all residents gather on the shores of the Lake to relax by the Lake shores/beach while marveling at the red sky as a result of the lava lake spewing from mount Nyiragongo.