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Home » Congo Trip Vacations, Visit Congo Safaris, Congo Tours 2024-2025 » Mount Nyiragongo Volcano In DR Congo, Nyiragongo Hiking Safaris & Tours

Mount Nyiragongo Volcano In DR Congo, Nyiragongo Hiking Safaris & Tours

Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa as well as on Earth. In fact, this striking Nyiragongo volcano is another great tourist attraction popular for Mount Nyiragongo hiking safari tours after gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Volcano Nyiragongo summit is capped with a breathtaking 1.2km wide boiling lava lake crater having steep-sided walls thus, making it the largest lava lake crater in the world. This spectacular stratovolcano in Virunga Mountains rises over 3,470m above sea level within the Albertine Rift Valley region- inside Virunga NP.

Ranking among the most violent volcanoes on Earth, Nyiragongo has exploded several times. From 1882-2021 May, it has exploded at least 34 times. These eruptions have led to loss of life as well as properties on its foothills. It’s listed among the most dangerous volcanoes in the world today!

For a rewarding safari experience on your African safari tours on Congo gorilla safaris, it’s also possible to hike Nyiragongo. Adventurous travelers shouldn’t miss this golden opportunity to see the spectacular boiling lava lake crater! Thousands of travelers on gorilla trekking tours in this country have done so, why not you then?

We can arrange for you memorable Nyiragongo hiking expeditions on top Rwanda gorilla safaris, inquire now.

Mount Nyiragongo Eruption History – When Was the Last Time Nyiragongo Erupted?

Are you wondering how many times has Mount Nyiragongo erupted? Since the year of 1882, Nyiragongo eruptions have occurred about 34 times. This includes the various times the eruptions could happen continuously at a time- often in the form of a churning lava lake in the crater.

Scientists had suspected the existence of a crater lava lake at the summit of Mountain Nyiragongo however, it was confirmed in around 1948.

Although several outbursts have happened (recorded ones) since 1882, the most recent eruptions include that of 2002 and 2021 in May- the latest one.

Today, the explosions are still happening though confined within the lava lake crater- molten lava (magma) views offer a memorable scenery, ideal for incredible photoshoots.

The deadliest Eruptions of Congo Mount Nyiragongo


Between 1894 and 1977, the crater at Nyiragongo’s summit contained a crater lava lake. On 10th January 1977, the walls of this lave lake fractured, and the lava lake drained in less than an hour.

Molten rocks flowed down its flanks (at the upper slopes) at a speed of about 60km/hr- the fastest lava flow recorded to date, crushing several villages and killing over 2,000 people in villages of Kibati and Moniki, according to reports made at the time.


After lava lakes reformed in the crater in eruptions of 1982-1983 as well as 1994, another major eruption started on 17th January 2002. This was after several months of seismic and fumarolic activity.

These violent eruptions (volcanic activity) of molten magma led to the opening up of a 13km fissure on its southern flank. It spread in a few hours from 2,800 to 1,550m altitude, reaching the outskirts of the city of Goma, the provincial capital on the northern shore of Lake Kivu.

Earlier, a warning had been given by the Goma Volcano Observatory and 100,000 people were evacuated to the Kisenyi region. Molten lava (magma) covered the northern part of the runway at Goma International Airport and reached Lake Kivu.

This raised worries that the lava (magma) might cause gas-saturated waters of L. Kivu to rise on the surface, releasing lethally large amounts of Carbon dioxide and Methane! This didn’t happen.

About 245 people died in this eruption from suffocation by Carbon dioxide as well as buildings collapsing due to the lava and earthquakes. Lava covered about 13% of Goma city and roughly 120,000 people were left homeless in the region.

After these violent eruptions, a large number of earthquakes were felt in Goma City and Gisenyi area for about 3 months. 6 months later after the start of this 2002 Nyiragongo eruption, it exploded again.


This began on 22nd May 2021. Molten lava (magma) reached Goma airport. It also moved towards the city center of eastern Goma.

Authorities urged the residents from the city of Goma to vacate! The eruption resulted in so many people leaving their homes to save life. However, many people went missing (presumed dead), the Beni highway surface was cut off and there was an electric cut-off across large areas.

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo- How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Nyiragongo?

Mount Nyiragongo Volcano

Never miss climbing Mt Nyiragongo (3,470m high) while on your Congo gorilla trekking trip in Virunga National Park!

This remarkable hike offers you great views of the world’s largest lava lake crater. Taking a selfie with a backdrop of lava bubbling is one of the great adventures in DRC.


The Nyiragongo hike is divided into five sections. You’ll relax for 15 minutes at each stop as you ascent.

Hikers interested in exploring the world’s largest lava lake at Nyiragongo summit start the ascent at the Kibati Ranger Post which is around 1870m altitude. This climb (ascent) covers about 6.5km, taking 4-6 hours average climbing time. The climbing time depends on the group speed, as well as the agility of the slowest person on the trek.

Nyiragongo hiking first section takes you through a beautiful dense forest at its foothills. If lucky, in this region you can encounter lovely wildlife such as Monkeys, and Bushbucks.

This beautiful forest ascends into the second section which holds open skied trails with magnificent views of the valley below. A third section takes you across gorgeous old lava flows plus steaming volcanic fissures. On entering the high montane forest to traverse the fourth section, the fifth and final ascent is fairly challenging steep 300m to the summit.

Upon reaching the summit of Nyiragongo, you’ll enjoy jaw-dropping views of the world’s largest lava lake crater with lava bubbling. The views of this lava lake with churning mosaic molten red fire will amaze you.

There are 12 cabins at the ring of this lava lake crater. While here, in the night you’ll enjoy watching the night glow of Nyiragongo against the backdrop of stars. It can be the best moment to take a selfie!

Try out our 3 days Nyiragongo hiking tour in Congo – hiking the world’s largest lava lake!


After having wonderful views of the boiling lava lake- the world’s largest lava lake crater, you’ll descend. Descending is easier than ascending! It takes about 3 hours to reach the starting point.

While sloping, be cautious not to hurt your feet on sharp rocks. You’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the mighty Virunga National Park, Lake Kivu the distant snow-capped peaks of Rwenzori Mountains.

Cost For Climbing Mount Nyiragongo

The cost for hiking Nyiragongo is $300 per person for each trek. Nyiragongo trekking permits are obtained from Virunga National Park or you can book yours through your tour operator who is organizing your Congo gorilla safari trip.

A porter costs $15

Hikers intending to spend a night at the mountain pay $100. It includes meals, water as well as a sleeping bag.

Packing List for Hiking Mount Nyiragongo – What to Pack for Nyiragongo Hike?

Mount Nyiragongo Volcano

All visitors intending to explore Nyiragongo should come with some essential items for a rewarding adventure. Always travel light, just pack crucial staff only!

Below is the Nyiragongo volcano hiking pack list:

  1. Suitable hiking shoes are ideal on rocky slopes, ground, or surface.
  2. Camera & Binoculars
  3. A rain jacket
  4. Warm jumper to keep you warm
  5. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers
  6. Sleeping bag
  7. Enough drinking water and energy-giving snacks
  8. Sunscreens and sunhat
  9. Insect repellents
  10. Light backpack
  11. Warm clothing e.g. a sweater so helpful at night when the temperature is low.
  12. A torch
  13. Travel documents i.e. A valid passport and a yellow fever vaccination card
  14. Personal toiletries e.g. Toothpaste and toothbrush
  15. Walking stick- gives you extra support on the ground while walking on challenging slopes.

Best Time to Hike Nyiragongo Volcano – When Is the Best Time to Hike Nyiragongo Volcano?

It’s possible to hike Mt Nyiragongo all year round. However, we advise our travelers to hike Nyiragongo in dry months when minimal rainfall inconveniences are expected in Virunga National Park.

The dry months in DRC are June-early September and December to February.

In DRC, October-November and March-May are wet months, rains are usually much in most hours of the day. The hiking trail as well as gorilla trekking trails can be challenging.

How to Get to Mount Nyiragongo? | How Do I Get to Mount Nyiragongo?

Mt Nyiragongo can be reached from numerous areas however, due to security reasons it’s safer through Gisenyi Town from Rwandan City- Kigali.

Visitors will be driven for about 20km (about 30-minute drive) to the border of Rwanda and DRC before crossing to Goma. Then, from Goma city, you’ll start having views of the unique great black cloud in the air- volcanic emissions (volcanic activity) as you drive for about 16km to the park headquarters in Kibati Village.

In case you’re a solo traveler, you can hire a taxi from Goma city at about $20 to Mountain Nyiragongo in Virunga NP.

Is Mount Nyiragongo Safe? | Is It Safe to Visit Mount Nyiragongo? | Is It Safe to Hike Mount Nyiragongo?

Is Nyiragongo safe? Yeah, it’s safe to hike Mt Nyiragongo. For the past good years, numerous visitors (travelers) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have hiked Nyiragongo Volcano to explore the hidden treasure in DRC- the world’s largest lava lake crater, and most expeditions (99%) end successively.

Mount Nyiragongo eruptions (Nyiragongo volcano eruption) are monitored by a team of scientists at Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO). These scientists continuously monitor it with seismic data produced every 4 minutes and temperature data produced every 10 minutes.

Indeed, it’s safe to hike Mt Nyiragongo!

Can Scientists Predict Nyiragongo Eruptions? | Can Science Predict When a Volcano Will Erupt?

Yes, scientists can monitor and predict the time when it’s about to erupt. Normally, much black smoke is seen!

Other signs or warnings about the impending eruption include earthquakes, bulging of the volcano’s flanks as well as increasing emissions of harmful gases (i.e. Carbon dioxide) to the surface.

It’s very possible for volcanologists to tell especially if they have a thorough understanding of a volcano’s eruptive history. Their machines can help them to predict!

Guide to Nyiragongo Volcano Hike- What to Know Before Climbing Mount Nyiragongo?

For a rewarding hiking experience, there are some hiking tips you should at least know before undertaking the Nyiragongo hike!

These are the tips for hiking Congo Mount Nyiragongo:

  1. Come with warm clothes

These are so helpful in low temperatures at night while at your accommodation at the rim of the world’s largest lava lake.

  1. Don’t get close at the age of this lava lake crater

There are no barriers at the summit of Nyiragongo, therefore, it can be easy for you to slip and fall. Unnecessary to say, but in a few past years, a Chinese woman died when she tumbled into this lava lake crater!

Therefore, avoid getting very close to the edge, not even a gram.

  1. Consider putting on light hiking boots

These protect your feet on the rocky slopes while on the hike

  1. Be fit for the hike- How hard is hiking Mount Nyiragongo?

It’s ideal you try to increase your body fitness level before you come on this fairly challenging hike. Climbing Nyiragongo doesn’t require previous hiking experience. This hike takes about 4, 5, or 6 hours depending on the speed of the group. The rangers will move at the pace of the slowest hiker!

  1. Don’t hike on weekends

Weekends are so busy! Most of the UN as well as other workers from NGOs in Goma city normally climb (ascent) on Saturdays. Always target weekdays when the visitors are minimal.

  1. Get a travel insurance

DRC is one of the riskier destinations, so we suggest that you get travel insurance.

  1. Hire a porter

These guys will help to carry your heavy bag or give you a push while on the hiking trail. A porter can cost over $15.

  1. Stock some Diamox

This drug helps you in case you have some illness of altitude sickness along the slopes.

  1. Leave your luggage behind

You can leave your package at the park’s storage area. It’s not wise to hike with unnecessary items on challenging slopes.

  1. Never attempt to fly a drone over this lava lake!

This world’s largest lava lake crater is a graveyard for drones. It has something to do with drones flying.

  1. Tip your porter, cook, ranger, and guide

At one point, tipping is not a guarantee however, it’s ideal you come with some extra cash on this hike. These guys risk their lives to hike Nyiragongo- one of the most violent volcanoes in Eastern Africa.

More FAQs About Mount Nyiragongo

  1. What Is the Location of Mount Nyiragongo? | Where Is Nyiragongo Volcano Located? | Where Can the Nyiragongo Volcano Be Found?

Where is the location of Mount Nyiragongo? Nyiragongo is one of the world’s most violent volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains of East Africa Central Africa. It lies within Eastern DRC in the volcanic expanse of Virunga NP near the border of Rwanda, 19km north of Goma city.

  1. What Country Is Nyiragongo Volcano In? | Which Country Is Mount Nyiragongo?

Nyiragongo Volcano within the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Africa with the largest lava lake crater. It’s possible to undertake Nyiragongo hikes on top of your Rwanda gorilla safaris.

  1. What Is the Meaning of Nyiragongo?

Nyiragongo is an incredibly active Volcano in Eastern DRC. In fact, it holds the world’s largest lava lake. On your trip to DRC, it’s possible to visit this mountain and witness its scenic lava lake crater.

  1. What Type of Volcano Is Mount Nyiragongo? | Is Mount Nyiragongo a Cinder Cone Volcano?

Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano! It’s one of the most violent volcanoes on Earth found in DRC, part of the 8 ranges in the Virunga area.

It was formed as a result of molten magma (lava flows) onto the Earth’s surface. After the ash, rocks, and previous lava flows solidify onto the Earth’s surface, a volcano is formed.

For about 5 decades, it cradled a lava lake on its summit.

  1. Is Mount Nyiragongo Still Erupting? | Is Mount Nyiragongo Still Active? | Is Nyiragongo Still Erupting? | Is Mount Nyiragongo Active?

True, Nyiragongo Mountain in DRC is an active volcano and one of the most perilous volcanoes in the world. It last exploded in May 2021 and its summit holds a boiling lava lake- the largest lava lake in the world.

  1. How Tall Is Mount Nyiragongo?

This great natural wonder with the world’s largest lava lake raises about 3,470m above sea level in the Virunga Mountains.

  1. Mount Nyiragongo Facts- What Are Nyiragongo Volcano Facts?

These are the interesting facts about Nyiragongo- one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Africa.

  • Nyiragongo is summited with one of the world’s largest lava lakes. This lava lake is about 1.2km wide.
  • Nyiragongo main crater lava lake has been bubbling since 2005.
  • It has exploded over 34 times from 1882 to 2021. This makes it one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the entire world.
  • Nyiragongo last exploded in May 2021.
  • This mountain is a stratovolcano in the 8 ranges within the Virunga Mountains region.
  1. When Was Mount Nyiragongo’s Last Eruption? | When Was the Most Recent Eruption of Mount Nyiragongo? | When Was the Last Eruption in Congo?

2021 Mount Nyiragongo eruption is the last eruption in DRC. There was great lava flows that blocked Beni highway and thousands of people had to evacuate the area. However, many people went missing, presumed dead.

  1. How Many People Died in the 1977 Nyiragongo Eruption? | How Many People Died in the Congo Volcano?

Over 50 people were killed, and several villages were destroyed after Mountain Nyiragongo exploded in 1997.

According to the reports, after the fracturing of the lava lake walls (on 10th January), the lava lake drained in less than one hour! These lava flows (at a speed of 60km\hr) made the fastest lava ever recorded on Earth.

  1. How Many People Died In 2002 Nyiragongo Eruption? | How Many People Died in the 2002 Mt Nyiragongo Eruption?

About 250 people lost their lives and over 120,000 were left homeless after the molten lava flows.

  1. What Is Mount Nyiragongo Famous For? | What Is Unique About Mount Nyiragongo?

Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is renowned for its amazing boiling lava lake at its summit. Thousands of travelers every year on gorilla safaris explore this natural wonder!

  1. How Deep Is Nyiragongo Crater Lake?

It’s believed that Nyiragongo Crater Lake is about 2,600 feet deep, almost half a mile. Its crater floor is filled with a boiling lava lake.

  1. What Causes Nyiragongo to Erupt? | How Was Mount Nyiragongo Formed?

It’s believed that Congo Mount Nyiragongo exploded due to the movement of tectonic plates near Lake Kivu and the constant seismic activity in the region.

The interior of the Globe is under great heat and pressure, and this leads to the melting of rocks to form magma. The continuous movement of tectonic plates raises pressure and in case of any line of weakness, lava flows out and solidifies on the surface. Usually, gases like Carbon dioxide and Methane are also released.

  1. Did A Volcano Erupt in Congo? | Which Volcano Erupted in Congo? | What Volcano Erupted in the Congo Recently?

Mountain Nyiragongo exploded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 1882, this mountain has exploded over 34 times and the most recent is the eruption of May 2021.

Volcanicity in DRC happens due to the movement of tectonic plates.

  1. What Are the Hazards of Mount Nyiragongo? | How Does Mount Nyiragongo Affect the Environment?

The air around Nyiragongo comprises some acidic gases that can affect the lives of people in the surrounding regions. During volcanic activity, Sulphurous gases, Carbon dioxide, and Methane escape to the surface through fissures on in the ground leading to loss of lives due to suffocation.

  1. What Is the Largest Volcano in the Congo?

Found in the Virunga Mountains in the Albertine Rift Valley region, Nyiragongo rises about 3,470m above sea level and it’s the most famous in DRC.

It’s surrounded by other beautiful summits of the Virunga ranges all formed due to the movement of tectonic plates.

  1. What Is the Largest Lava Lake in the World?

Among the lava lakes in the world, Nyiragongo Summit holds the largest! This dazzling lave lake is about 2km wide.

On the African continent, it’s one of the unique amazing lava lakes every adventurous must visit!

In summary, the best way to explore Mountain Nyiragongo – (one of the most violent volcanoes in Eastern Africa) is to undertake the Nyiragongo hike on top of your gorilla trip in DRC.

Climbing Nyiragongo will offer you a golden opportunity to have remarkable views of the world’s largest lava lake. This is one of the rare adventures worth undertaking on your African safari tour! At one point if time allows, you can also visit Mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park or the great Royal Museum.

Let’s Explore This Great Natural Wonder Together, Inquire Now!