A visit to Virunga National Park combines two of the most unique offers in DR Congo including mountain gorillas trekking and Nyiragongo volcano hike. These two unique activities are magical encounters that are a dream of every adventurous world travellers. Look, you can do this trip much less expensively and simply with budget gorilla safaris, we book the circuit Bukima tented Lodge for the gorilla hikes; Mikeno (luxury) Lodge; the climb up Nyiragongo with an overnight in the summit shelters; and finishing with some time at the tented Techegera Island Lodge) with the park itself.
The safari commences with a transfer from Kigali to Gisenyi the largest of all Lake Kivu towns. The town offers beautiful beach environment suitable for relaxation. Lake Kivu offers a boat cruise at the shores of the lake to see a range of islands, bird species with unique characteristics, colour and attributes and overlooking Nyiragongo volcano. While at this settle for lunch after which you cross the Congo border to Goma in the province of North Kivu and then to Virunga National Park with an overnight at Mikeno lodge.
Early morning you wake up and take your breakfast, you then undertake the hike to the Nyiragongo volcano. The beautiful morning is set to embark on the day long adventure hike to one of the few remaining active and violent volcanoes on African continent featuring the most fluid and expanse lava lake on global scale. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa, and one of eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. The main crater is about 2km wide and usually contains a lava lake which appears in the summit crater.
Nyiragongo has three subsequent eruptive histories from 1977, 1994 and 2002 the most recent eruption where 147 people were killed. During this eruption lava flows moved through the city of Goma on the shores of Lake Kivu destroying 13% of the city and approximately 12,000 to 15,000 homes displaced hundreds of thousands of people flows entered Lake Kivu and posed a threat of releasing the CO2 and CH4 stored within the lake.
After a safety brief and final check of everyone’s packs and equipment you begin the climb towards Mount Nyiragongo’s summit. The group will be lead and escorted by a set of rangers/guides and a small contingent of porters. The Nyiragongo hike is very rewarding last 6-7 hours and backbreaking and habitually in humid and rough conditions, save for the trail is reasonably simple and not extremely steep; expecting to see rare species of birds and animals such as monkeys, bushbucks and chimpanzees alongside the track and the sight whilst you arrive at the apex, is eye-catching.
The overnight is spent at the crater rim and the best views of the lava lake occur at night. You are now standing on the lava flow remnants of Mount Nyiragongo’s 2002 eruption.