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Mount Nyamuragira

Mount. Nyamuragira is one of the world’s most powerful volcanoes and an iconic attraction worth exploring on an African safari. Located in the Virunga conservation area, on the fringes of Virunga National Park and Mount. Nyiragongo, along the Western arm of the East African rift valley lies Nyamuragira Volcano. Also popularly referred to as Nyamulagira/Nyamlagiri, Mount Nyamuragira is an active shield volcano and like Nyiragongo volcano, it was built at the Kivu rift axis ca. 12,000 years back.

Nyamuragira Volcano lies within the Virunga NP in the D.R. Congo, Central Africa. It rises at an altitude of 3055m and like Nyiragongo; it has had a record of intra-crater and flank eruptions. The two volcanoes have been monitored and documented since the end of the 19th century.

Is Nyamuragira still an active volcano?

Yes, Mount Nyamuragira is still an active volcano in East Africa’s rift valley. It has a volume of 500 cubic km and its lava covers 1500sq.km. Unlike Nyiragongo, Mount Nyamuragira has a low-shield profile.

Nyamuragira volcano lies near Goma city and from the North Lake Kivu, it is about 30km. To the North-north-west of Mount Nyiragongo, it is 13km and in 2002, it caused severe damage in Goma city when it erupted. Mount Nyamuragira is known for its huge sulfur dioxide emission into the atmosphere. It has had a series of eruptions making it one of Africa’s most active volcanoes. Due to eruptions, many smaller volcanoes have been created, especially between 1976 and 1977.

The 2010 eruption – Nyamuragira volcano started spewing out lava flows. Luckily, no settlements exist around its base area although wildlife species are at higher risk. Its lava flow was recorded covering 25km Southwest to Lake Kivu, 22km Northwest, and North-North-East 35km.

The 2011 eruption recorded a 400m high column of lava and this is described as the biggest of its eruptions for 100 years. A new Lava Lake was observed in 2014 and it was the first time it to appear in the past 75 years. The Lava Lake that existed was emptied in the 1938 Lava flow. The new Lava Lake was formed between June & August 2014. It had a depth of 500m and fortunately, its eruption never affected the local communities. However, much ash and air pollution were experienced while sulfate aerosols resulting from volcanic sulfur dioxide were experienced as a result of the eruption. In 2018, the Lava Lake hardened and it is when the eruption seemed to have stopped.

Enthusiastic hikers/volcano climbers can spend about 4 hours hiking to the summits of Nyamuragira. In case you have heavy luggage, porters can be hired to assist you to carry and consider packing light. Essentials to carry/pack include gardening gloves, a rain jacket, packed lunch, enough drinking water, snacks, a first aid kit, gaiters, and a camera.

When to go hike Nyamuragira Volcano?

Hiking/climbing the Nyamuragira Volcano is possible at any time of the day, although the dry months are the best. The weather conditions are favorable for hikers to conquer Nyamuragira summits during the dry season; June to September or December to February.

Other than Nyamuragira, other volcanoes to explore on an East African tour include Mt. Nyiragongo, Mikeno Volcano, Karisimbi, Bisoke, Gahinga, Muhabura and Sabyinyo volcanoes. You can combine hiking adventures with other remarkable tour activities in the Virunga NP such as bird watching to sight a variety of Albertine rift endemic species like the Kivu ground thrush; chimpanzee encounter, mountain gorilla trekking, visit the local communities for cultural encounter/experiences.

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