Virunga NP camps - Nyiragongo Shelters

Nyiragongo Shelters

Nyiragongo is a beautiful volcanic mountain that features the world’s largest lava lake - a mesmerising sight that largely defies being captured by camera.

The volcano’s slopes are surprisingly well-forested and not the dry, dusty lava field that you might expect. The climb is steady but never technical and takes between 4 to 6 hours - with the whole group moving together at the pace of the slowest participant. making it a surprisingly social and bonding experience. From the rim, you can peer down into a churning lava lake and see and hear hot gases exploding up though a mosaic of molten lava.

Although predictable and therefore safe for tourists, Nyiragongo is greatly feared during eruptions. Because of the high silica content of its lava, Nyiragongo’s lava flows are extremely fluid. During the 2002 eruption, some of Nyiragongo’s lava flows were clocked at 100 km/hr (62 mph) and reached all the way to Lake Kivu.

Altitude sickness can be an issue for some because the climb begins at 1989m (6,525 ft) and ascends to 3470m (11,382ft) in a short time. Proper hydration is the best way to adapt to the change in altitude. People prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should speak to their physicians about taking preventative measures before making the climb. Trekkers are advised to bring raincoats and cold weather gear. Rain showers are a common occurrence on the climb up during the rainy season and temperatures at the summit can dip below 0°C/32°F. Also hihly recommended is the services of a porter who will gratefully carry your pack for you in exchange for a very civilized pre-arranged renumeration (currently US$24 for the overnight trip - maximum baggage weight 15kgs).

The shelters themselves are simple but functional - warm, dry, clean and equipped with a couple of foam matresses.

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