Immersing oneself into the bowels of the volcano Nyiragongo is an essential parenthesis in the life of any adventurer! This gentle monster, nestled on the edge of Virunga Park, takes us along its mysterious slopes into its lava lagoon with shimmering and exhilarating colors…

Let’s face it, Virunga Park is filled with unique jewels. Savannah forests, lava fields, eroded valleys, active volcanoes and mountain glaciers are home to a fauna where the silverbacks mountain gorillas and okapis, gracious ambassadors of this precious casket, live together with more than 2,000 varieties of endemic plants. With an area of 7,840 square kilometers, the park is home to Mount Ruwenzori that culminates at 5,119 meters above sea level… and it is the Nile that can boast about collecting from one of its sources its glacial waters, immeasurably pristine waters.

Le Nyiragongo

Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this sanctuary is continuously threatened by incessant wars opening the door to poaching practices amongst others. However, Emmanuel de Merode, valiantly supported by his troops of rangers, braved these obstacles one after the other and contributed to the creation of a long-lasting socio-economic development, an incontestable model of peacekeeping efforts.

Let’s get back to the matter in hand. Boots on, hiking poles in hand and backpack ready, it is time to start the adventurous climb to this 40 eruptions summit. A crater of 200 meters diameter filled with molten magma awaits us. Dominating the Great Rift Valley, our friend turns out to be the most unpredictable. Who knows, it may start sneezing inadvertently!

What am I talking about? Friend? After five hours of scrambling in a ghostly haze, it is rather as an enemy than the volcano lets us climb the ultimate and unattainable meters to its summit. It is difficult to feel resentful when facing the celestial panoramic view that stretches out before our eyes. A giant leap would take us to the top of the Nyamuragira and the Mikeno.

As the night falls, the temperatures rapidly drop. Although finding refuge in the rustic tents sounds very appreciable, take the time to admire the unique sight of crater walls turning red. It purrs. It roars. It bubbles. Torpor invades us. And surprise, while fatigue ends up wining the battle against our vigilant eyes, it begins to sparkle, timidly first, then more and more vigorously. Rangers are knocking at our doors. Eventually, we are awake without really knowing what lies ahead. It sparkles again and again and finally, ends up spitting its fire sap from one of the small craters it had meticulously hatched a few days earlier! An enchantment.

The sun is rising already and suddenly the clouds defy us, brush against us and overhang us. The sunrays begin a final battle and end up taking over. It is time to start the descent after a comforting breakfast. Our protectors warn us, the hardest was not the climb… The mysterious slopes turn into obstinately stony slopes, steep and slippery. It must be said that the previous eruptions left clearly detectable traces all along the route.

Regardless of the volcanic rocks rolling down the slopes around us, we are filled with an insatiable necessity to fill our minds with the beauty of the landscapes. Continuing our peregrinations, we memorize scrupulously the outline of each plant, each tree stemming from this surreal vegetation that surrounds us.

When finally reaching the base camp, we are ecstatic. Fully enjoying this pure state of exhilaration. 

Logbook

Stay?

Lake Kivu Lodge: Quartier Himbi 162, Avenue Alindi ;
Mikeno Lodge
On the slopes of the volcano (see Bureau des réservations du parc Virunga);

Eat?

Châlet: Quartier Himbi, Avenue Alindi near the LKL;
Au Bon Pain: facing the Bureau des réservations du parc Virunga, Boulevard Kanya Mulanga ;

How to get there?

Via Rwanda and the border town of Gisenyi or via Kinshasa and then Goma in the DRC;

How to book your trek ?

Bureau des réservations du parc Virunga : Boulevard Kanya Mulanga /