Facts About Mount Nyiragongo : Mount nyiragongo is an active volcanic mountain located within the democratic republic of Congo. The hike to the mount Nyiragongo is booked from the Virunga national park since the mountain is next to the park. The virunga national park is known to be the oldest national park in Africa and is very bio diverse park with a lot of flora and fauna.
The virunga national park is a usually visited in the democratic republic of Congo and this is majorly a home to the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas are estimated to be about 1000 individuals in the world and these can be found in the virunga national park while on a Congo safari, volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Bwindi impenetrable national park and mgahinga national park in Uganda. The virunga national park is as well a home for two virunga mountains and these are mount Nyamulagira and mount Nyiragongo which are the most active in the area. The other dormant virunga mountains include Mount Karisimbi, Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Muhabura, Mount Gahinga, Mount Bisoke and Mount Mikeno. However Mount Nyiragongo still stands out and below are facts that makes it to be one of a kind;
Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano and these are built up by layers of hardened lava known as strata. The sides are composed of various cinder cones, well-aligned volcanic ash, hardened lava, blocks characterized by explosive eruptions that don’t cause threats to property. Nyiragongo mount has a low silica level which makes the lava to move quickly because the low silica levels make the magma or lava fluid like to move faster than the lava with high content of silica which makes it to move slower and quickly harden.
PERMANENT ERUPTION EFFECT
Although mount nyiragongo is a blessing but it’s an enemy to the area of Goma city. The previous volcanic activity of mount Nyiragongo left the area with toxic gas which is emitted on the eruptions and the gas suffocated and claimed lives most especially those of the children and some people were left with permanent respiratory issues. The carbon dioxide fumes which were released into the air were from the 2002 mount Nyiragongo eruption.
MORE LIQUID LAVA
Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano but the magma which is ejected from the volcano is more liquid as it has a low silica level and this is among the reasons why eruptions of the volcano are deadly. The lava moves much faster because of its liquidity compared to other volcanic mountains whose lava is thick and moves slower and harden faster. The lava of the mount Nyiragongo flows at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour thus a very deadly speed causing massive destruction.
Mount Nyiragongo alongside mount Nyamulagira are very active mountains and are known to be responsible for up to 40% of the volcanic activity on the entire African continent. Mount Nyirgongo its self has erupted 35 times ever since the first recording in 1977. But the most recent eruption was in the year of 2021. The eruption has claimed up to 70 people, destroying thousands of homes and leaving them homeless. The town of Goma still has some ruins and volcanic rock spotted in many places. The 2016 eruption was the most deadly eruption as it claimed biggest number of lives.
ACTIVE BUT HIKEABLE
Although Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano, with its last eruption being in May 2021, the volcano is hike able. The hike up takes 5 hours with a rewarding view of the lava Crater Lake on the top. On clear nights, the hikers are able to spot the red boiling magma from the Nyiragongo summit shelters. This is a thrilling yet very rewarding experience and a permit goes for 300 USD exclusive of camping equipments. The mount nyiragongo hike is organized by the virunga national park and it’s available for booking any time of the year.
MOST DANGEROUS ERUPTION
The most dangerous eruption that was experienced from the mountain was the 2002 eruption as I reached the Goma town, destroyed businesses, homes and even destroyed a part of Goma international airport. The recorded deaths was 245 from the eruption, 400,000 plus people evacuated from the town and the carbon dioxide also continued to claim lives.
But currently mount Nyiragongo is being studied by the Goma volcano observatory and does not pose any threat so visits are possible to the summit of the mount Nyiragongo on your Congo safari.