Mount Nyirangongo

Mount Nyirangongo is beautiful, but it’s also a troubling reminder of a 14-year-old catastrophe. The last time the volcano erupted — in 2002 — it killed 147 people and forced 400,000 people to flee the nearby city of Goma.

The eruption effectively split Goma in two, destroying a third of the city. Lava even covered about 80 percent of the airstrips at Goma International Airport, making it almost impossible to evacuate people or get outside aid to survivors.

Just like back in 2002, the threat facing Goma today isn’t an explosion, but a fast-moving river of lava that flows out of cracks on the side of the mountain.

It is much more like the volcanoes in Hawaii. [They are] very fluid, very fast-moving and very hot lava.”

This newest vent, the one that just opened up, faces Goma. Just like they did in 2002. Goma sits right on the shore of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. The lake straddles the border between the DRC and Rwanda, and holds massive amounts of methane and dissolved carbon dioxide because of its proximity to volcanic vents, among other reasons.

The shores of Laku Kivu are packed with about 2 million people. And with much of the infrastructure destroyed by years of a civil war and little to no upkeep, many experts agree that it would be impossible to evacuate them quickly.

Back in 2002, lava streamed into Lake Kivu for several days. The lake didn’t explode that time, but it’s unlikely that people living on the shore will be that lucky again if lava reaches the lake again.

How to reach Mount Nyirangongo

It’s hidden in the depths of Mount Nyiragongo and hikers must trek up to an altitude of about 11,400ft (3.47km) to catch a glimpse of the lava lake.

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupting on average every 30 years.

Mount Nyirangongo

Hiking Mount Nyiragongo

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Hiking Mount Nyiragongo

Hiking Mount Nyiragongo must top your list on your visit to Goma district. This town has evidence of how active Mount Nyiragongo is till date today. The streets are filled with lava rocks from the previous eruptions. The Nyiragongo red peak can be seen on a clear night in the clouds from the town at most points which gives you the thrill of the adventure you cannot afford to miss. Climbing Mount Nyiragongo is a must!

The Endangered Mountain gorillas of Congo in Virunga are also a major attraction you shouldn’t miss out on during your visit to Goma Town. Save up for a gorilla permit before you visit Goma so as to not have excuses because this is a once in a lifetime experience. These mountains gorillas are only found in 3 countries that is Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

The Wonders of Mount Nyiragongo

Still wondering what more Goma has to offer? Visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage the only place in the world that caters for orphaned mountain gorillas from cases of poaching in Virunga National Park managed by a few dedicated park rangers and staff of the park.

Pass by Lake Kivu and enjoy the peace and calmness of this deep lake. There are great points to enjoy the sunset of this lake with the view of the Virunga Mountains it such as at the Lac Kivu Lodge.

Ensure to also pass by the craft centers in Goma town to buy some souvenirs to take back home with you. For videos and photos of Nyiragongo pass by Don de Dieu shop on Rutshuru Road to get yourself a copy.

You can have a city tour visiting the local market, Goma beach and also Congo has great food so try your taste buds and visit one of the restaurants like Le Chalet, Lac Kivu Lodge, Nyumbani Lounge to mention but a few.

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