Nyamuragira is a large shield volcano and one of Africa’s most active volcanoes. This active shield volcano has an elevation of 3058 meters and has a caldera on its summit, which is approximately 2 kilometers wide and walls that rise up to about 100 meters high. Nyamuragira derives its name from the local Kifuru and Kishi dialect “Kuragira ngavu” translated as to “herd cows”. It is located about 25 kilometers north of Lake Kivu in Democratic republic of Congo, near the city of Goma and Virunga national park.
It is also 13 kilometers north-west of Nyiragongo, another active volcano that caused devastative damage to the city of Goma in 2002. As typical of active volcanoes, it experiences eruptions inside its summit caldera and from the extensive rift zones on the flanks, producing numerous cinder cones and fissures. The most recent eruption on Nyamuragira volcano occurred in 2014. This eruption did not affect any of the nearby communities in the vicinity but left behind a lot of ash and air pollution.
During some eruptions, lava lakes are formed within the caldera. This is what happened between June and August 2014 when Nyamuragira erupted. It is one of the few active volcanoes on Earth where lava lakes have formed over the last decades. The last lava lake at the mountain was emptied in the 1938 lava flow. This new lava lake is said to have a depth of 500 meters and is growing and will probably produce lava flows in the near future.
No known tourist activity is known to take place on this mountain but due to its closeness to the Virunga volcanoes and the larger Virunga conservation area, a number of numerous activities can be carried out around this mountain.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park
Virunga national park in D.R. Congo is home to some of the rarest primates – mountain Gorillas. When planning a trip to Mount Nyamuragira you can always add gorilla trekking as one of your activities in the Virunga national park. In addition to tracking gorillas, you can also have chimpanzee tracking in the park. Proceeds from visitors are used for protecting and developing the park.
Though Mount Nyamuragira doesn’t offer any hiking opportunities, the neighboring Nyiragongo volcano is a perfect option. The mountain provides amazing scenery to view including the beautiful caldera on top, different tree species that grow on these volcanic soils, the serrated lowland vegetation is a perfect hide out to some of the Africa’s wildlife like monkeys, bush backs, hyenas and very many others.
A trek to the summit can take 4-6 hours depending on your fitness. Conquering this giant volcano rewards you with a view of the world’s largest lava lake.
Virunga national park is also a birders’ paradise and devoted birders can spot birds such as; Kivu ground thrush, olive woodpecker, olive legion, black kite, speckled mouse birds, blue-headed coucal, and paradise flycatchers and many more.
Democratic Republic Of Congo is one of the best places you can find unique African cultures. You will encounter different traditional dance groups, have village walks to learn about people’s way of day to day living, not forgetting to taste mouthwatering cuisines they have to offer. Also acquire some souvenirs to take back home for the wonderful memories you had in Congo.
The best time for visiting Mountain Nyamuragira and surrounding destinations like Virunga national park and Nyiragongo mountain is during the dry season when the trails are not filled with mud and you can have undisrupted views of the amazing crater and surrounding areas.
Visitors planning to travel to Nyamuragira can sleep at the different accommodation units in Virunga national park. These range from luxury, mid-range and budget lodges such as Mikeno lodge, Kibumba tented camp, Bukima tented camp, and Tchegera Island tented camp. For anyone who has been bitten by the travel bug and needs a less congested tourist destination add mount Nyamuragira and be assured to not be disappointed.