Home Experiences Hiking Mountain Nyiragongo- The World’s largest Lava Lake

Hiking Mountain Nyiragongo- The World’s largest Lava Lake


Nyiragongo Mountain is located inside Virunga national park in the democratic republic of Congo, about 20km (12mi) north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two kilometers wide and usually contains a lava lake. Nyiragongo is famous for its extremely fluid lava that runs as water when the lava lake drains. On January 17, 2002, Nyiragongo erupted and the lava lake drained from fissures on its western flanks. The city center of the Goma town, the capital of the East Virunga province, was destroyed by voluminous lava flows. Over 200,000 people were left homeless, adding to the human disaster caused by frequent civil wars.

The journey through Uganda down to the Democratic Republic of Congo is this summit the most active volcano on the African continent and the world’s largest lava lake! This unbelievable experience demonstrates the raw power of our planet and on a clear night its incandescent light can be seen from neighboring Rwanda. Mountain Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 metres (11,380 ft.). In the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine rift, the main crater is about two kilometers’ wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls – one at about 3,175 m (10,417 ft.) and a lower one at about 2,975 m (9,760 ft.). Nyiragongo lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3,250 m (10,660 ft.) prior to the January 1977 eruption – a lake depth of about 600 m (2,000 ft.). A recent very low elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 2,700 m (8,900 ft.)

In contrast to its neighbor volcano, Nyamuragira, a typical and very active shield volcano comparable with Mauna Loa, the 3470-m-high Nyiragongo displays the steep slopes of a stratovolcano. Terraces inside the steep-walled, 1.2-km-wide summit crater mark levels of former lava lakes, which have been observed since the late-19th century. Two older volcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south and look like lateral cones. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, East of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluminous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks of the volcano. Hiking this volcano mountain is amazing though tough but totally worth it. It is absolutely worth every drop of sweat to get there. Plan your Safari to Congo and explore this virgin land of African! To plan your safari contact one of the local tour operators listed on this website.


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