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Climbing Mount Nyiragongo

Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Virunga National Park is currently closed until further notice


Classic Safari

Gorilla and chimp trekking

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo

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Indication Price (from): Virunga National Park is currently closed until further notice

Length: 4 days

Group Size: 1 - 22

Location: Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Departure Dates: To suit you


Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.


Our fee for compiling your dream safari is included in the price that you pay.

In October 2014 Virunga National Park authorities announced that the route to climb Mount Nyiragongo has been re-opened for tourism. Mount Nyiragongo is a spectacular stratovolcano that hosts one of the world’s largest and rarest lava lakes, making it one of Africa’s most exciting and rewarding hiking experiences. 

Watch this Youtube video of this amazing experience and read this detailed travel diary of a client who enjoyed this safari: A Hike to the Centre of the Earth

Lava lakes are without a doubt one of the most impressive forms of volcanic activity that any outdoors enthusiast could hope to witness. Once you have reached the summit on your Mount Nyiragongo climb, you will be able to observe its bubbling lava cauldron (from a safe distance) and feel this volcano’s energy, as it heaves and breathes. An overnight stay at Mount Nyiragongo’s crater edge will allow you to enjoy this spectacle in the dark, but also at dawn and dusk when its alluring beauty is enhanced.
Mount Nyiragongo, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rises majestically to an altitude of 3470m, overlooking the Virunga National Park and associated Albertine Rift. The climb up Mount Nyiragongo is not technically difficult and reaching the top should not take longer than 5-6 hours.

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Day 1: Arrival in Kigali and transfer to Gisenyi

On arrival at Kigali International Airport you will be met by our representative and whisked off to reach the mellow lakeside town of Gisenyi where you will check into the Paradis Malahide Hotel for a delicious lunch, well-earned shower and rest. No activities have been planned for this afternoon, in order to allow all participants to decide whether they want to rest before tomorrow’s assault on Mount Nyiragongo, or enjoy a leisurely swim in Lake Kivu.
At some point today, your driver/guide will debrief you on the procedure to follow tomorrow when you will be dropped at the DRC border Crossing and handed over to your Virunga NP guide and the Virunga NP team in charge of looking after you whilst trekking Nyiragongo.

Dinner and overnight at Malahide Paradis Hotel, Gisenyi.

Day 2: Cross into DRC and summitting Nyiragongo

After an early wake-up call, breakfast and a swift transfer to the Rwanda/Congo border post, you will cross into the Democratic Republic of Congo and drive on towards the Kibati patrol post at the base of Mount Nyiragongo, a mere 50km outside Goma.

After a safety debrief and final check of everyone’s packs and equipment you begin the climb towards Mount Nyiragongo’s summit. The party will be led by your guide, and escorted by a set of rangers/guides and a small contingent of porters.

For the first two hours of the walk you will traverse a lush pristine forest, where towering trees offer a welcome shelter from the sun until you emerge from the forest onto a small plateau with commanding views that stretch towards the infinite horizon, with Lake Kivu, Bukavu, Rwanda and Burundi at your feet. You are now standing on the lava flow remnants of Mount Nyiragongo’s 2002 eruption.

From here on, the climbing trail becomes firmer and the forest gives way to several swathes of recovering heath with vegetation dominated by ferns, sedges, heather and everlastings. Shortly after noon, you will reach Mount Nyiragongo’s crater and your overnight cabins.

The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the craters edge and soaking in the surrounding views and Mount Nyiragongos’ bewitching lava cauldron. Fortunately, your guide knows exactly how to reach the best observation and photogenic spots safely.

Not far away, on the opposite side of the ridge from Nyiragongo’s crater, you’ll also be able to admire the colossal Shaheru, an older volcano surrounded by small cinder cones, nowadays well reclaimed by vegetation.

When everyone has had enough, the party will return to camp to settle into their cabins, rest and enjoy an early supper.

At 18h00 you will return to a designated spot at the craters edge to gaze and appreciate again Mount Nyiragongo’s molten lava lake. In the dark of night one is able to appreciate better the dark crusty surface of lava, spliced and splitting into ever changing plates. As the plates separate, bright orange lava fill the cracks and a fantastic spider-web pattern emerges. Every now and then fountains of lava flare up and disrupt these pretty patterns, adding a surge of dynamism and power to this spectacular sight. Sometimes, fountains appear throughout the crust like a collection of campfires, creating yet another fascinating show.
Since the last eruption a small side-cone in the crater huffs, puffs, vent and splutters lava every now and then, adding sound and more drama to this already bewitching sight.

As you return to your cabin on Mount Nyiragongo, the lights of Goma glow below, and Lake Kivu glistens under the moon.

Overnight spent in fibre glass cabins at the rim of this giant crater, high above Mount Nyiragongo’s active lava lake.

Day 3: Descent from Mount Nyiragongo and cross over to Gisenyi (Rwanda)

After a rather early cup of tea/coffee, you will be summoned back to the crater’s rim at dawn for one last “look-see”. Wrapped in warm clothing you greet the new day as the intense red and yellow glow of the lava below mixes with a backdrop of blue and indigo skies.

After breakfast, the party will commence its descent to Kibati. The descent generally takes 2-3 hours. Back at Kibati, your transport will be waiting to take you back to the DRC border. Lunch will be enjoyed at Malahide Paradis on the Rwandan side, followed by your drive back to Kigali.

On arrival, you will check-in for dinner and overnight at Flame Tree Village Hotel.

Day 4: Drive back to Kigali – transfer to airport and departure Rwanda

After breakfast, you will set off to enjoy some of Kigali’s main attractions such as the Caplaki Handicrafts Market (the perfect place to browse for Rwandan souvenirs) and the Kimironko City Market where all types of colourful and tasty food is sold.
You will also visit the Gisozi Genocide Memorial & Education Centre, the site that houses the remains of over 250 000 victims of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide and stands as a vivid testimony to the courage and reconciliatory efforts of the Rwandan people.
After lunch at a quaint Kigali restaurant you will be transferred to Kigali Airport for your home-bound flight connection.


Indication Price (from): Virunga National Park is currently closed until further notice

Departure Dates: To suit you

Children must be 12 years of age or older to obtain a trekking permit for Nyiragongo.

Price includes:
Transfers to and from the airport in Kigali on arrival and departure days. Transport in a sedan or 4WD vehicle for the entirety of this tour depending on group size, including fuel, tolls and the services of English speaking tour guides /drivers. Three night’s accommodation on full board. All meals mentioned in the itinerary (starting with lunch on arrival day to lunch on departure day). Coffee, tea, and mineral water during meals. A single-entry Nyiragongo Trek permit per participant. DRC Visa (arranged by us on your behalf) and required entrance fees for Viruga NP, all necessary food and camping equipment to overnight on Nyiragongo. The services of a Mount Nyiragongo guide, and one porter per person climbing Mount Nyiragongo. Sleeping bag for Mount Nyiragongo’s hike and hot meals/drinks. 24/7 office support.

Price excludes:
International or local airfare (however we can help you with booking your tickets). Rwandan Visa and airport departure taxes. Internet services, items of a personal nature, telephone calls, laundry, travel and medical insurance, tips, excess baggage charges, gratuities to lodge staff, drivers and the leader. Any activities not specified in the itinerary.


Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.


The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

  1. There is currently a countrywide curfew from 9 pm to 5 am. However, if your flight arrives or departs within curfew times, fear not, we can apply for a police pass to arrange for after-curfew pick-ups and drop-offs if required.
  1. VERY IMPORTANT !!! Please read this Entry Protocol Document before booking your flights to Rwanda.
  1. Please familiarize yourself with the NEW Covid-19 regulations for Gorilla trekking in Volcans NP.
Additional Information

You will spend one night at Paradis Malahide (Gisenyi, Rwanda), one night at the high altitude cabins on Mount Nyiragongos’ summit in DR Congo and one night at Flame Tree Village (Rwanda).

Paradis Malahide (Rwanda):
This lodge is located 7km outside Gisenyi, at a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Kivu, with lovely views across to the islands. The bungalows and the main dining/reception areas are surrounded by well-manicured and colourful gardens. A small section of public and private beaches allow visitors to fully enjoy Lake Kivu. All en-suite bungalows are cool and comfortable with a double bed, mosquito netting, bamboo chairs and a small table, as well as a wardrobe. It is a perfectly integrated, charmingly rustic, simple lodge that is enthusiastically run, and offers great food.

Mount Nyiragongo Cabins (DR Congo):
These cabins are relatively new (2011), built on the edge of the volcano’s crater, wooden, en-suite, spacious and endowed with two beds each. They are rustic, practical and comfortable – with breathtaking views of the lava lake that trump any luxury  hotel. The huts are made of material designed to keep you warm and dry and a camping mattress and high altitude sleeping bag and fleece lines will be provided to keep you warm and rested through the night. Please do bring a small inflatable pillow if you need one.

Showers are not available. The WC is a pit latrine offering Africa’s best “Loo-with-a-view”. That said, this is not a WC you want to visit in the dark of night, in case you trip and fall …

Flame Tree Village (Kigali, Rwanda):
This is a clean and comfortable lodge, at half the price of anything else in Kigali. If you are on a budget or want to save money to spend elsewhere then this is perfect for a quick Kigali stop. The rooms are all en-suite with shower and are clean. The food here is surprisingly good with local and international options. A lovely pool and quiet bar and gardens surround the property which is perched in a quiet suburb of Kigali.

Temperatures typically vary from 15°C to 29°C and are rarely below 14°C or above 31°C.

A reasonable good level of fitness is required for climbing Mount Nyiragongo in Virungas National Park and basic hiking experience is also very useful. Summiting Mount Nyiragongo involves a 4-6 hour uphill climb, often on uneven volcanic rock, muddy tracks and slippery trails. It is steep on several sections, but doable. The trekking pace will be set and determined by professional trekking guides who always ensure that everyone reaches the targeted camp. To make your experience even more enjoyable, porters will carry your bag (max.15kg), and will be available for hire at the Kibati Patrol Post in Virungas National Park (Congo). You are welcome to hire another porter to assist you on your hike.

Altitude sickness:
This may be an issue for some since the climb begins at 1989m (6,525 ft) and reaches the crater’s rim which is located at 3470m (11,382ft), all done in a relative short time (4-6 hours). Staying hydrated is the best and most common way to adapt to such changes in altitude, however people prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should contact their physicians to discuss preventative measures and/or techniques to avoid AMS before undertaking this climb.

Safety and security:
Many of the structures required to run Africa’s oldest national park have been restored by the tireless efforts of hard working rangers and staff of the Virungas National Park. These includ the cabins and shelters at the craters’ rim – a heroic feat when one considers that every single piece of building material had to be lugged on foot to an altitude of 3,470 m.
The work done by the people involved in rebuilding and protecting the parks assets, as well as those that to date ensure a safe passage and stay at this national park, is nothing short of heroic and well worth rewarding with one’s presence!

Flight Details:
The cost of return flights to Kigali (Rwanda) is not included. Should you wish to book with us we will do our utmost to secure your booking at the best possible rate. Should you wish to extend your stay/ do a pre-trip leading up this tour please contact us for details.

Booking and payment details:
Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to the deposit required and final payments etc.

Recommended Reading:
For the most authoritative and up to date information about Rwanda as a travel destination we recommend Wild Rwanda. Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated this book contains everything you would like to know about Rwanda’s habitats, reserves and national parks and where, and how to find its most iconic birds, primates and fascinating wildlife. Contact us to purchase your copy.

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