A hike to the summit of an active Nyiragongo volcano is surely an outstanding experience that happens once in a lifetime. It’s a magical experience having this life time opportunity standing right at the edge of the gigantic crater staring at the red-hot bubbling lava lake roughly hundred feet beneath you. Situated within the heart of Virunga national park, 03 Day Nyiragongo hike tours is a must do for every traveler to the democratic republic of Congo if the experience is to be memorable. Though accompanied with sweating, panting, and altitude sickness, the hike to the summit of an active volcano is surely a stunning and humbling experience. The bubbling lava lake is clearly seen at night as the sky glows red from the lava, which makes it more beautiful. The hike to summit is roughly 11500 feet (8.5km) hence requiring travelers to be physically fit and highly committed.
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is not a walk away venture but an adventurous activity not for the faint hearted. This therefore requires travelers to plan and prepare early for the hike in terms of doing physical exercises to ensure physical fitness. Also timely booking with any trusted tour operator such as Eco Tours Rwanda or direct with Virunga national park at least two months before the actual day of hiking is highly recommended. This help in timely booking of accommodation services in the cabins at the summit of the volcano avoiding any disappointments at the last hour.
Since hiking involve stepping on hot volcanic rocks some of which are lose and slippery, travelers are required to wear hiking boots for easy the movements and hand gloves to protect from sharp stones and hot surfaces in case a traveler touches down on steep slopes. Also, waterproofs and rain gear, sweaters, and warm jackets are highly recommended to deal with un expected weather conditions and very cold weather in the night. Walking sticks provided at the briefing point are very helpful for travelers to balance on uneven rocks. Hiking gaiters and bicycle arm warmers are very important as well as enough drinking water and energy giving snacks to keep travelers strong in the source of hiking.
A hiking permit is a must have for every traveler taking part in hiking Nyiragongo volcano. The permit is issued by Virunga national park at cost of 300usd, which is quite fair, and affordable.
Like other activities in Virunga national park, travelers must be at Kibati patrol by lately 9:00am for simple briefing about the safety precautions. At exactly 10:00am, traveler’s start off the hiking guided by an armed experienced ranger guide. The hiking speed depends on the slowest person in the group meaning that all travelers hike at the same speed. Any travelers who will not have reached the starting point by 10:00am will not be allowed to hike alone after the others. This therefore requires all travelers to be at the starting point by 10am. There are several resting points on the slopes of the mountain meaning that travelers do not hike at a terrible speed. It takes roughly 5 hours to hike to the summit of the volcano providing travelers with spectacular views of Virunga national park and the adjacent communities.
Unlike other activities where travelers can do without porters, a successful hike to the top of Nyiragongo volcano requires one to have a porter. Since travelers spend an overnight at the summit of the Volcano, they are required to carry heavy baggage with food, drinking water, cameras, and clothes all make the baggage heavy to carry hence a need for a porter. These porters are hired for 24usd for ascending and descending which is a fair price. Also, thee porters are helpful in a way that they provide support to the travelers in case of sliding and getting so tired. Tipping of porters and guides is good but not compulsory and the amount to give depends on the traveller.