Climbing Mountain Nyiragongo In DR. Congo
Planning a safari to Congo? A hike at mountain Nyiragongo should not be missed. Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470m in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It’s located inside Virunga National park, in DR. Congo, about 20km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two kilometers wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater has two distinct cooled Lava beeches within the crater walls, one at about 3,175m and a lower one at about 2,975m. Nyiragongo’s lava lake has at times been the most huge known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. The maximum elevation of the lava lake was also recorded at about 3,250m.
The volcano partly overlaps with two older volcanoes, Baratu and Shaheru, and is also surrounded by hundreds of small volcanic cinder cones from Flank eruptions. The lava emitted in eruptions at Nyiragongo is often unusually fluid. Nyiragongo‘s lavas are made of Melilite nephelinite which is an alkali-rich type of volcanic rock whose unusual chemical composition might be a factor in the unusual fluidity of the lavas there. Its lavas flows might race downhill at up to 100km/h. This is because of the extremely low silica content, but the Hawaiian volcanoes are broad, shallow sloped shield volcanoes in contrast to the steep-sided cone of Nyiragongo, and the Silica content is high enough to slow the flow to a walking pace.
About Nyiragongo Eruptions:
There have been about 34 eruptions that have taken place around the Nyiragongo volcanic mountains and these include; the 1977 eruption, which happened when the crater walls of the volcano fractured which led to the draining of the lava lake within an hour. This led to the flooding of the lava down on the edges of the volcano and on the higher slopes which resulted in killing over seventy (70) people in the nearby villages. This 1977 eruption that took place tried to raise awareness about the dangers of this volcano and it also created a fresh small volcano called murara which is a few kilometers away from Nyamuragira.
The second eruption took place in 2002 and this happened after several processes of Fumarolic and seismic activities which happened on this volcano. There was a fissure that was released in the southern flank and was about 13km spreading from about 2800m to 1550m of elevation hence reaching the town of Goma which is the capital along the northern shores of Lake Kivu. The lava greatly streamed towards the city of Goma and about 400000 people had been vacated from the city to the border of Rwanda in Gisenyi town. Lava run and covered Goma airport raising the threat that it might release larger amounts of Carbon-dioxide as well as Methane. This 2002 eruption killed over 147 people and the city of Goma collapsed due to the fact that the building was falling apart leaving over 120000 people without homes. Many more buildings in the city of Goma continued to fall due to the massive earthquake that continued to happen for close to 3 months following the eruptions.
There are also ongoing threats of mountain Nyiragongo including the Carbon dioxide that killed many children up to recent times. In places where gas was released from underground and dispersed in the wind had many deadly effects on the lives of the people. just recently on the 8th of March 2016, the Goma observatory discovered yet another vent that opened at the northeastern side of the crater; there is a possibility of this bringing yet another eruption in Goma town.
About the Nyiragongo Hike- 3 days
Transfer to Gisenyi; upon your arrival, you are picked from the airport by your travel guide and taken to Gisenyi Rwanda. On this day, you have a number of optional activities ranging from enjoying a Kigali city tour and visiting the Iby’ Iwacu cultural village, enjoying a boat ride on the Lake Kivu, or even visiting the Volcanoes National Park. You will also have your dinner and spend a night in Rwanda.
The second day is for hiking Nyiragongo Mountain; you will get up early in the morning and enjoy your early morning breakfast after which you are to head out. You will cross the border and then head to the Virunga National Park at the Kibati Ranger post where you will be briefed on the dos and don’ts of the hike. The Meals, sticks, and rain gear will be provided to you but you can as well carry your own. Porters will also be available for those who would like help in carrying their luggage. While at the top, get to enjoy the breathtaking view of the lava and the active volcano. You will then spend a night inside the mountain huts at the volcano top.
The last day is for descending the Nyiragongo Mountain; Have an early morning breakfast and thereafter descend from Volcanoes Mountain while enjoying the views of Lake Kivu, the Virunga National Park, and the city of Goma, later on, you will be transferred back to Kigali, Rwanda to either catch your departure flight or enjoy another day’s stay in the land of thousand hills.