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Mountain Nyiragongo

Mountain Nyiragongo is the highest mountain in the democratic republic of Congo as well as north kivu province. The mountain is located in the east of Goma city in the Virunga mountains. The mountain is known to be an active volcano and it’s the most active volcano in the world. Its popular because of its explosive eruptions and the lava lake summit that spills steam and gases every day.

Although the mountain is not safe to be hiked its amazing to watch from the slopes mostly in the evenings when the lava is visible and glowing red.


The Nyiragongo mountain has been the largest lava lake in history. Since 1882 the mountain has erupted over 34times in a form of an agitated lava lake within the crater. The volcano extends with two older volcanoes such as Baratu and Shaheru and is as well surrounded by various small volcanic cinder cones from top eruptions.

Volcanism at Nyiragongo is mainly brought about by the rifting of the earths crust where two plates are tearing apart. The hot spot is partly accountable for the great activity at mount Nyiragongo as well as Nyamuragira. The lava spitted in eruptions are unusually fluids  and the lava is made up of melilite nephelinite which is an alkali-rich type of a volcanic rock. The Nyiragongo lava flows downhill at 60 miles per hour because of the low silica content.

The 1977 eruption, the crater that contained an active lava lake. Therefore, the crater walls fractured on 10th January 1977 and the lava poured in less than an hour. The lava flowed on the side of the volcanic speed of 60 miles per hour on the upper slopes. This killed over 70 people in the surrounding areas. The eruption was preceded by the creation of small volcano known as Murara that is a distance from the slopes of mount Nyamuragira.

Another major eruption happened on January 17th 2002 where a fissure opened in the south side of the volcano spreading a few hours 2800m to 1550m elevation. The crack released three streams of lava which flowed through the Goma city where over 400,000 people were evacuated from the city. The lava destroyed the Goma airport and reached next to lake kivu.  The eruption left over 120,000 people homeless. Six months later the Nyamuragira volcano as well erupted but activities at mount Nyiragongo are on going but confined to the crater where another lava lake has been formed.


The Nyiragongo volcano hike is categorized into five sections with a break of 15 minutes at ever stop over. The hike starts at the kibati point as well as all preparations for the hike are made from there.

Mountain Nyiragongo
Mountain Nyiragongo

The hikers with a pre booked hiking permit assemble at the kibati ranger post which is just a few minutes’ drive from the Goma town. The rangers check the hiking permits then brief them a little on Mount Nyiragongo regulations as well as sharing their everyday experiences and also a brief orientation about the entire Congo hiking safari. Thereafter, armed guards, porters and guides as well as visitors set out on a speed to the mountains. The average time to climb the mountain is 4 and 6 hours. The time depends on the groups speed

The first section of the hike takes the hikers through the thick forest at the bottom of Nyiragongo. At this point the hikers are told to lookout for wildlife including the bushbuck and monkeys.

The forest goes up to the second section where the trails give amazing views of the valley. The third section takes the tourists to the old lava flows and the steaming volcanic fissures. After reaching the high montane forest to explore the fourth section and the fifth and move upwards to the peak which is 300meters.

While at the top the tourists tend to relax as the mount offers a breathtaking experience to those that have overcome the slopes. The existence of the world’s largest lava lake stirs away in a medley of molten red fire. However, when the sun goes down mount Nyiragongo starts its glow against a background of stars.

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