Hiking Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is an exhilarating adventure, offering the chance to witness one of the world’s largest and most active lava lakes. Here’s a detailed itinerary for hiking Mount Nyiragongo:

Day 1: Arrival in Goma

  • Morning: Arrive at Goma International Airport. Goma is the gateway to Virunga National Park, where Mount Nyiragongo is located.
  • Transfer to Kibati: Meet your guide and transfer to the Kibati Ranger Post, the starting point for the hike.
  • Lunch: Enjoy a packed lunch provided by your tour operator or have lunch in Goma before heading to Kibati.
  • Afternoon:
    • Hiking Preparation: Receive a briefing from park rangers about the hike, safety precautions, and what to expect.
    • Hiking Gear: Rent any necessary hiking gear such as a sleeping bag, warm clothing, and a backpack.
  • Evening: Begin the hike to Mount Nyiragongo.

Day 1 (Continued): Hike to Mount Nyiragongo Summit

  • Late Afternoon to Evening: Embark on the hike to the summit of Mount Nyiragongo. The hike typically takes 4-6 hours, depending on your pace and group fitness.
  • Arrival at Summit: Reach the summit and settle into the Nyiragongo summit shelters. These basic cabins offer beds and basic amenities.
  • Dinner: Enjoy dinner prepared by your guide while taking in the breathtaking views of the lava lake below.

Day 2: Mount Nyiragongo Summit Exploration and Descent

  • Morning: Wake up early to witness the sunrise over the lava lake, a truly mesmerizing sight.
  • Exploration: Spend the morning exploring the summit area, taking photographs, and marveling at the active volcano.
  • Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at the summit shelters.
  • Descent: Begin the descent back to Kibati Ranger Post. The descent typically takes 3-4 hours.
  • Lunch: Enjoy a packed lunch provided by your tour operator or have lunch in Goma upon reaching Kibati.
  • Transfer to Goma: After descending, transfer back to Goma.
  • Afternoon:
    • Rest and Relaxation: Relax at your accommodation or explore Goma city.
    • Optional Activities: Visit local markets, lakeside viewpoints, or cultural attractions in Goma.
  • Evening: Dinner at a local restaurant in Goma.

Day 3: Departure from Goma

  • Morning: Breakfast at your hotel.
  • Free Time: Depending on your flight schedule, you may have some free time to explore Goma further or relax.
  • Transfer to Airport: Check out from your hotel and transfer to Goma International Airport for your departure flight.
  • Safe Journey: Bid farewell to Goma and the DRC, carrying unforgettable memories of your Mount Nyiragongo hike.

Tips for Hiking Mount Nyiragongo:

  • Permits: Obtain permits for hiking Mount Nyiragongo in advance through a registered tour operator. Permits are limited and should be secured well in advance.
  • Physical Fitness: The hike to Mount Nyiragongo summit is challenging and steep. It’s recommended for those with a good level of fitness.
  • Hiking Gear: Pack warm clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a headlamp or flashlight, and a sleeping bag. Temperatures can be cold at the summit.
  • Altitude: Be prepared for altitude changes as you ascend to the summit (3,470 meters or 11,382 feet). Take it slow and listen to your body.
  • Photography: Bring a camera with extra batteries and memory cards to capture the stunning views of the lava lake and surrounding landscapes.
  • Health Precautions: Take necessary vaccinations and medications for tropical diseases like malaria. Follow park guidelines for safety and health.

Hiking Mount Nyiragongo offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness the power and beauty of an active volcano. It’s an adventure that combines physical challenge with awe-inspiring natural wonders in the heart of Virunga National Park, DRC.