Nyiragongo Volcano in Virunga Mountains, Congo is definitely a must-see tourist destination. It is located inside the famous Virunga National Park and is quite popular for its distinct lava lake, which has been noted as the most voluminous in recent history.
The volcano may not be as friendly because it has erupted about 34 times since 1882. Very recently, in 2002, the Nyiragongo Volcano erupted, damaging the nearby city of Goma in the province of North Kivu. But still, you can never underestimate its natural beauty, the main reason tourists flock to this spot.
Location and How to Get There
As mentioned earlier, Nyiragongo Volcano is located inside Africa’s first national park, the Virunga National Park. To get to the Virunga Mountains, you can travel by plane or by bus, depending on your point of entry.
There are many tourist guides offering assistance to those who want to trek along the mountains of Nyiragongo. This is good news for tourists who come to Congo not just for the mountain gorillas but also for its other natural wealth.
What to See
The Nyiragongo Volcano has a two-kilometer wide crater, which has two distinct lava benches. The most amazing thing about it is its lava lake. Many explorers brave the 6-hour climb for the fulfillment of seeing the huge lake, which shines brightly at night.
While you are in it, you can take a visit to the gorilla sanctuary situated in the mountains of Virunga, in the Mikeno Sector. Mountain gorillas are definitely worth the money and effort to climb.
If you want a taste of city-life, meanwhile, taking a tour to nearby Goma is advisable. Goma, in North Kivu, is one of the safest places to explore in Congo. It is also a good entrypoint towards the Nyiragongo Volcano. If you have any more time left after traversing the Virunga National Park, taking a side trip to Goma will make your travel even more worthwhile.
There are no records in history regarding since how early the Nyiragongo Volcano has been erupting. But 34 recorded eruptions since late 1800s is enough to tell you how active this stratovolcano is.
Traveling to Nyiragongo Volcano comes with a number of expenses. There’s transport fee to Virunga National Park. The safest way, they say, is via Goma. You need to fly to Goma if you are coming from any other Congo town or any other African country for that matter. There are also buses and boaat rides available, depending on your needs and requirements.
Then, there’s accommodation fee. Hotels charge a fee between $90-$150 on the average. That is not much but will surely add up to your expenses.
Then there’s the amount needed to obtain a permit to climb the volcano. At the moment, the permit costs around $200. That includes an option to stay for the night, sleep the summit, and be able to enjoy the huge lava lake at its brightest.