Nyiragongo Volcano Trek : A Complete Guide : About this Trek : The largest lava lake in the world is found inside the stunning stratovolcano Nyiragongo. Chimpanzees, various monkey species, the three-horned chameleon, bushbuck, and a wide variety of bird species live on the lower forested slopes of the volcano, making the ascent of this formidable mountain all the more rewarding.

One of the top tourist destinations in the Congo is the active volcano Nyiragongo. One of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga conservation region, Nyiragongo volcano, is situated in the Eastern part of the nation and looks over the Virunga national park. Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Mikeno, Mount Gahinga, and Mount Nyamuragira are among the other volcanoes. At 3470 meters, the Nyiragongo volcano offers a moderate hike that takes 5 to 6 hours to complete.

The Mount Nyiragongo volcano lava lake is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world and is incredibly fascinating and impressive. In 2014, Mount Nyiragongo hike tours were made available to tourists by the Virunga National Park administration. The Nyiragongo volcano hike and mountain gorilla trekking are frequently combined by tourists. Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is the solution for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind, life-changing mountain hiking adventure. Visitors can only visit this one location in Africa to get a close-up look at a lava lake. You might also be interested in learning more about Mount Kilimanjaro or finding out how to climb it.

How to reach Mount Nyiragongo

There are several ways to get to Mount Nyiragongo, but for security reasons, it is safer to go through Rwanda’s Gisenyi town. Visitors will be driven 20 kilometers from Gisenyi to the border between Rwanda and the DR Congo before making the crossing to Goma. A large black cloud that is visible from Goma town serves as a reminder of the volcano’s most recent eruption in 2002. A black rock has been left behind after the lava, which once flowed at high temperatures, cooled. You will be driven to the trailhead at Kibati village after Goma. Before beginning your hike to the Mount Nyiragongo volcano, you will receive a briefing on what to expect. The briefing includes information on what to expect, rest stops, and what to pack and covers all significant aspects of hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano. With the exception of the last portion of the hike, hikers must move as a group for the majority of the activity.

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo

The ascent of Mount Nyiragongo can be extremely difficult for those who are unprepared and out of shape. The rocky terrain and steep slopes require one to be prepared. For a fee, porters are available at the starting point in the Kibati Ranger Post to assist with carrying heavy items.

There are five segments to Mount Nyiragongo’s ascent. The hike’s first section involves ascending through lower-altitude terrain. At this point, most people who are not mentally or physically prepared give up. After the first significant stop, the altitude rises and presents new difficulties. One has to navigate through small, loose lava rocks in this second section of the hike. If you have the right hiking boots, you should have no trouble getting through this section.

After finishing the second section, hikers must now contend with slippery stones, small, loose rocks, and the challenging conditions of higher altitude. The mountain slopes become steeper and colder due to the high altitude by the time you reach the fourth segment. In addition to the cold, this region frequently experiences rain; warm clothing and rain jackets are therefore necessary. The last section is the shortest and steepest. From here, it is possible to see the cabins, which will inspire even the most worn-out hiker. Those who make it to this point in the hike are free to proceed with the remainder at their own comfortable pace.

Overnight on top of the Nyiragongo volcano cabins

At the peak of the volcano, 12 summit cabins with two single beds each are available for hikers to store their sleeping bags. There are mattresses and pillows in each cabin. Hikers are given snacks, breakfast, dinner, water, and sleeping bags while they are at the cabin. Strong winds and extreme cold can be present at the mountain’s summit. You should go prepared by wearing warm clothing. To warm up the hikers from the cold, the cooks and porters will help make hot tea and coffee. The permit fee includes the cost of an overnight stay at the summit. You can smell the bubbling and boiling lava from the cabins.

Getting Down

It’s time to descend after gazing in awe at the roiling lava lake and magma. Reaching the starting point takes about three hours and descends much more quickly. But it’s not as simple as it seems. Sharp rocks and steep sections can make it difficult to descend, and one must take care to avoid getting hurt by the rocks. The best part of descending is that you get to see the massive Virunga National Park and distant volcanoes, like the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda and Lake Kivu, for an extended period of time.

The cost and requirements for getting a Congo Visa

A $300 fee is required to purchase a Nyiragongo hiking permit from the Virunga National Park or through a tour company. Nyiragongo Hiking permits cannot be returned once they have been purchased. Before requesting a Congo visa, a hiking permit must first be obtained. A single-entry visa for tourists to the Congo costs $105 per person. From the day of entry, this single-entry visa is valid for 14 days.

You need additional documentation in addition to the VISA in order to cross the border into the Congo from Rwanda. Both a current passport and a yellow fever vaccination card are required. A reputable tour operator should assist you in obtaining the VISA and make arrangements for your transportation, lodging, and porters.

Packing List for hiking Mount Nyiragongo

A lightweight raincoat is ideal, so you are not hindered while climbing the mountain. You can protect yourself from the intense rain by wearing a rain jacket.

Appropriate hiking boots: Rubber soles, a good grip, water resistance, comfort, and the ability to keep your feet warm are all requirements for footwear.

Warm clothing and a sleeping bag are essential because the mountain gets colder as one climbs higher, so you need to be as prepared as you can be. Bring warm clothing to keep you from getting too cold at the summit. A sweater, a pair of rainproof pants, a jacket, long underwear, warm socks, and a hat are required.

Pack a lunch and some water because climbing Mount Nyiragongo can be extremely exhausting and leave you hungry and thirsty. Bring a packed lunch and plenty of water.

Hire a porter: At the volcano’s base, porters are available for $15 per day. These porters have no trouble helping with heavy luggage because they frequently climb the volcano. Additionally, they will assist you as you ascend the mountain’s most challenging slopes.

In times of intense rain or during the hot, dry season, a hat and sunscreen will be helpful.

Camera and Binoculars: You must bring a good camera or take photos to document your time at the volcano if you want to have such a memorable experience. Few people ever get the chance to witness a live volcano in their lifetime. You need high-quality pictures for your records and to brag about to your loved ones. A pair of binoculars will help you find breathtaking scenery, especially as you descend the mountain.

All of your technology, including your phone, iPad, camera, binoculars, and more, would be kept in your backpack. Make sure it is waterproof.

 Portable charger: With this, you can keep your phones, laptops, and iPads charged while staying in your cabin at the summit.

A Torch: There is no power at the summit. Solar energy provides power, but it is not ubiquitous. To get to the kitchen or bathrooms, you’ll need a torch.

Nyiragongo Volcano Trek
Mount Nyiragongo Hike


The best time to hike Mount Nyiragongo is during the dry season, though it is possible to hike the mountain at any time of year. June through September, as well as December, January, and February, are considered the dry months. Hikers find the trails to be more treacherous and challenging during the rainy seasons.

 Being fit is important because climbing Mount Nyiragongo is difficult and demanding. The mountain gets steeper as one climbs it, and going down has its own difficulties, including pressure-related knee and ankle pain. The weather becomes more difficult as one climbs the mountains. That needs to be taken into account, especially if you are sensitive to sudden changes in the weather.

Mental Preparedness: This is crucial because being fit is not everything. You must have the willpower to finish the hike despite any difficulties you may encounter. Going on short hikes on nearby hills or rocks will help you mentally and physically prepare for the hike.

 When hiking, use a stick to help you maintain balance and relieve the strain on your knees as you ascend and descend steep slopes. There are climbing sticks available at the beginning.

 Keep your valuables secure: Even when you are at the cabins with other hikers, keep your valuables, such as cameras, cash, and laptops, close to you.

A yellow fever vaccination card is important. You’ll need to present your passport and yellow fever card in order to enter Congo. You might not be permitted entry to Congo if you don’t have the card.


For a more comprehensive and lasting experience, combine gorilla trekking in the Congo with hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano. Check out our Gorilla Trekking and Nyiragongo Hiking Package if you’re interested in combining the two activities.