The Virunga mountains straddling across Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo are a range of 8 volcanoes habituating the endangered mountain gorillas. These volcanoes include; Mount Karasimbi, Mount Mikeno, Mouunt Gahinga, Mount Muhabura Mount Bisoke, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Nyamuragira and Mount Nyirangongo.
Mount Nyamuragira is an active shield volcano and one of the eight Virunga volcanoes located in the Democratic republic of Congo 25 kilometres north of lake Kivu. The mountain is known to be Africa’s most active volcano having erupted at least 40 times since 1885.
The mountain stands on an elevation of 3058 meters high above sea level with a 2-kilometre-wide caldera containing walls of 500 meters high. During a scientific study in 2016, its said that the bottom of the inner pit disappeared and reasons are unknown and gases were being relized from the place of the lava lake.
The name Nyamuragira is derived from a local Kishi and Kifuru verb ‘Kuragira ngavu’ translated to mean ‘herd cows’. There have been numerous eruptions from the flanks of this volcano creating new smaller volcanoes that have lasted for a short while, there have also been eruptions from the summit.
In the year 2002, Mount Nyamuragira erupted causing damage within Goma city, the largest eruption in 100 years occurred in 2011 producing a 400 meter high column of lava. The mountain has got 500 cubic km and extensive lava 1500 kilometers squared of the East African rift.
In 2014, a new lava lake appeared on the volcano for the first time in 75 years reaching 500 meters deep, the last lava was emptied in 1938. Sulfate aerosols formed by volcanic sulphur dioxide de from eruptions were observed as far as central Amazon rainforest in south America.
Mount Nyamuragira provides breath-taking views something that cannot be put well in photos except if you hike to the top and spot the magical molten lava lake, the trek to mount Nyamuragira can be done with the help of guides and game rangers.
The hike normally takes 3-4 hours but for those interested in sleeping over to view the panoramic action of the night then their bungalows built with lava rock walls and thatched roofs at $300 per person per night. There is an option for camping and you will need to come with your own camping gear.
The best time to hike mount Nyamuragira is in the dry season but expect some showers even during this time as weather can sometimes become unpredictable. Tourists interested in hiking should pack solid water proof hiking boots, drinking water, energy snacks, garden gloves, insect repellents, sun screen, hat and sun glasses among the rest.
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