What to know before hiking Mount Nyiragongo
What to know before hiking Mount Nyiragongo? Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most challenging and rewarding activities you need to do if you are a hiker or planning to be on. The volcano is the most active with the largest lava lake in Virunga national park, Africa, and the world having last erupted in May 2021. Hiking to the summit of Mountain Nyiragongo gives you an opportunity to look at some of the beautiful places around the volcano. Like any other safari, you need to prepare accordingly and get all the necessary information before traveling.
Hiking Nyiragongo requires one to be physically fit because the activity takes 2 days of going through steep slopes, rocks, and rugged terrain. When hiking this volcano you don’t have to be quick you must move slowly till you make it to the summit. Mount Nyiragongo is 3,470 meters and making it to the summit is 5-6 hours of meeting different vegetation types, primates, mammals, and birds.
The following are things you should know before hiking Mount Nyiragongo;
Choose a good tour operator: When intending to hike Mount Nyiragongo most especially the beginners, you need to consider who will give you the best safari. There are so many local tour operators online but you need to be very careful about who you choose. We advise you to choose local tour operators that are recognized and this can be achieved by checking if they are registered under different organizations.
Africa adventure vacations is one of the local tour operators you should trust with your safari. The canopy has organized hiking safaris for many travelers to Mount Nyiragongo. They can book the hiking permits, organize transport and book the accommodation for you based on the budget of the travel.
Cost of the hiking Nyiragongo: Never plan a hiking safari without knowing how much it’s going to cost you. When you get a local tour operator, the next thing you have to do is ask them to break for you each and everything that is needed in the safari and how much it’s going to cost. If you never used a tour operator then you should as the service providers how much it is for each service. This will help you to know what and how much you paid as well as those you haven’t paid.
Accommodation on Nyiragongo: During the Mountain Nyiragongo hike, there is only one accommodation facility at the summit and these are Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelter. They are in form of cabins and they are 12 in number with 24 beds. At the summit shelters, food is prepared for dinner as well as early morning breakfast the next day before descending the volcano.
Packing the right gear: Because you will be hiking steep slopes, passing through different vegetation types, and expecting little or no rainfall, you need to pack the right gear. Trekking Mount Nyiragongo takes 5-6 hours and so you will need good waterproof hiking shoes, cotton stocks, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket, scarf, a hat, sunscreen, a pair of gaiters, a camera, a pair of binoculars, insect repellents, facemask, sanitizer, drinking water bottle, and energy-giving snacks.
Hiring a porter: For people with excess luggage and maybe beginners, it’s better to hire a porter. These porters are hired at an affordable fee and do help hikers in their luggage throughout the whole hike. Most of the porters at Mountain Nyiragongo come from nearby areas such as Goma city and they do this job to get money to feed families and education.
When is the right time to hike Mount Nyiragongo?
It is possible to hike Mount Nyiragongo all year round. There are two seasons at Mount Nyiragongo and these are the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season is the perfect time to hike this volcano because they are characterized by little or no rainfall. The dry season occurs from June to September and December to February and in this season, expect little or no rainfall, the vegetation is thin with clear views of the animals during the hike, roads leading to Virunga national park are passable, the hiking trails are less muddy, and the summit has great views of the surroundings since the sky is clear.
Hikers most especially the budget ones can try hiking Mountain Nyiragongo in the rainy season of March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities and some of the park activities like gorilla trekking in case you want to combine. Hikers coming for Nyiragongo hike in the rainy season should however note that there is plenty of rainfall during that period, the hiking trails are muddy and slippery, vegetation along the trails is thick with unclear views of animals, roads leading Virunga national park are impassable and the views at the summit are not clear because of the dark clouds.
Getting to Nyiragongo
Getting to Nyiragongo volcano can be done by using road transport or air transport depending on your budget. Travelers using air transport to Nyiragongo volcano have two options and the first one is flying to Jomo Kenyatta international airport and using Jambo jet to Goma international airport where a driver will pick them up to the volcano or next destination. Travelers can still fly from Kigali international airport to Gisenyi airstrip where they will cross to Virunga national park using Goma border.
Road transport users can travel to southwestern Uganda in Kisoro where they cross to Goma using Bunagana border. From the border, they will be picked up by security rangers to the park or lodge. Those in Kigali have to drive to Gisenyi town and cross to DR Congo using Goma border. At the border, you will be handed over to security personnel to lead you to the park or lodge.