Mount Nyirangongo is a stratovolcano located near Lake Kivu in Virunga national Park at the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, this very active volcano contains the largest Crater Lake in the world with one of the most beautiful lava lake scenes you can come across. Mount Nyirangongo Lava Lake is renowned for it water lava that runs up to about 100 kilometers per hour.
Mount Nyirangongo stands on an elevation of about 3,470 meters above sea level it last erupted in January 17th 2002 and is prone to an eruption at any time, it’s also been known as the most voluminous lava in the receipt history. Mount Nyirangongo surrounding areas still continued with earthquakes and more buildings were destroyed.
When the Nyirangongo last erupted over 200,000 people were affected some lost their lives, others homeless due to earthquakes destroying buildings and many injured. 400.000 people were evacuated into Gisenyi to the lava destroyed the whole surrounding area flowing up to the nearby towns of Goma and east Virunga province. The lava at Nyirangongo is very in usual compared to other lavas that flow slowly and not very dangerous to human life
Of the recent Nyirangongo eruptions, the first was out of the lava lake while the second was off the flank of the volcano. The crater contains of two lava benches within the crater walls this lava are made of melilite and nephelinite, this Volcano is said to have erupted at least 34 times since 1882.
Mount Nyirangongo eruptions caused fears for Lake Kivu as Lava flowed into lake Kivu, volcanologists thought what happen in lake Nyos in Cameroon would also happen in Lake Kivu when the deep gas saturated waters of Nyos suddenly rose fuming large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane though this did not happen, lake Kivu is still being monitored just in case of an emergency.
The Nyirangongo volcano still remains active up to date fuming with red and yellow glowing from thelava, it is said to have been active for half a century before it drained in 2977 and became known when volcanologists Kraffts and Tazieff studied it in 1960s and 70s. The lava lakes depth is estimated to be 600 meters deep. The mountain is being studied by scientists at Goma all year round.
Scientists are still studying Nyaringongo crater lava though the mountain had not been studied properly due to civil wars and the Rwandan genocide. The main reason for the crater flow cracking isn’t well known up to today this is what makes Nyirangongo the world’s most dangerous volcanic on top of it’s super fluid lava. Tourists can also combine their safari to mount Nyirangongo hiking with a gorilla trekking experience. It’s often warned never to go near to the lake as you might slide reports say that a Chinese woman once slide to the lava and died.
Hiking mount Nyirangongo crater offers a very thrilling experience with magical views of the lava lake the hike takes up to 4 to 7 hours and you will camp at the mountain top overnight before you can descend the next morning. Porter’s are available to help you with carrying your luggage at an affordable fee they are also very friendly and warm welcoming.
There are also various accommodation units where tourists can spend a night before or after hiking at virunga national park someone this are Mikeno lodge,
The mountain can be accessed from Goma town which is about 20 kilometers away, or tourists can fly into Kigali and use public transport or tour operator to get to Gisenyi which takes about 4 hours.