Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

2017
07.31.2018
Rangers Project
On #WorldRangerDay, we are so proud of the efforts of our rangers, who show dedication and resilience, despite the dangers they face.

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07.22.2018
Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, receives his PhD
Congratulations to Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, who received his PhD from the University of Kinshasa last week! Ephrem has been r...

Explore EPHREM BALOLE, MANAGER OF VIRUNGA SARL, RECEIVES HIS PHD

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06.06.2018
Rangers Project
We are so proud that Jolie, one of Virunga’s female rangers, shared her story of what motivated her to become a ranger at the European Devel...

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06.05.2018
Fallen Rangers Project
Representatives from the Rumangabo Widows sewing workshop attended the European Development Days conference in Brussels, where they showcase...

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05.31.2018
Virunga coffee launches!
One for the coffee fans out there: every purchase of Higher Grounds' Kawa Kanzururu Coffee goes towards supporting the development work of V...

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05.31.2018
Rangers Project
We are so delighted to share the news that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000! Incredible news for Virunga and incredible news for conservation, and testament to the continued work of Virunga's Rangers in ensuring the protection of the species.

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02.13.2018
Fallen Rangers Fund
Children of the fallen Rangers playing in the child care center at the widows workshop! On-site child care reduces the initial stressors tha...

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12.05.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A total of 68 widows and 190 children of fallen Rangers, are now, thanks to the Fallen Rangers Fund, being offered financial support, education, and meaningful employment.

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09.11.2017
Rangers Project
Today, Park Rangers along with the Gorilla Doctors team successfully located the Rugendo group and removed a deadly snare from the arm of yo...

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07.30.2017
Rangers Project
Happy World Ranger Day! We are extremely proud and grateful to all our Rangers. These men and women are deeply committed to Virunga and ensu...

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07.29.2017
Rangers Project
Last week marked the completion of 5 months of incredibly tough training for Virunga's newest Rangers. 6500 applied, 81 made it through.

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01.12.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A beautiful selection of napkins made by the widows of fallen Rangers are on sale at Mikeno Lodge.

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Photo Credit: Brent Stirton; Logo Credit: Jib Limited

Photo Credit: Adam Kiefer; Logo Credit: Jib Limited

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: Jib Limited

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: Jib Limited

Photo credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: Jib Limited

Explore Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Virunga National Park contains some of the greatest national treasures on earth

About Virunga

Learn more

Stability through sustainable development in the eastern Congo

The Virunga Alliance is working to create an alternative economy that enables surrounding communities to benefit from the National Park

Virunga Alliance

Learn more

Meet the heroes who risk their lives to protect the Park’s wildlife and local communities

Rangers’ work is critical to the stability of the Park and the safety of the lives that surround it

Rangers Project

Learn more

Meet the orphan gorillas of Virunga’s Senkwekwe Center

The world’s only sanctuary caring for mountain gorillas separated from their families by poaching or conflict

Gorilla Orphan Project

Learn more

Nyiragongo Volcano Trek

About this Trek

Nyiragongo is a beautiful stratovolcano containing the world’s largest lava lake. The volcano’s lower forested slopes are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees, several species of monkey, the three-horned chameleon, bushbuck and a myriad of bird species, making the walk to the top of this mighty mountain all the more gratifying.

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Nyiragongo Volcano Crater

From the rim, visitors can peer down into a churning lava lake and see and hear hot gases exploding up through a mosaic of molten lava.


Photo credit: Brent Stirton

Nyiragongo Volcano Rim

Summiting Nyiragongo is considered one of the most otherworldly experiences available to guests visiting Virunga.


Photo credit: Brent Stirton

Trek Details

The Nyiragongo volcano trek is divided into five sections, with a 15-minute break at each stop. Hikers commence the ascent at the Kibati Ranger Post at an altitude of 1870m and reach the summit at 3,470m, with a 6.5km hike each way. Average climbing time is between 4 and 6 hours, with descent off the volcano taking around 4 hours. Times are dependent on group speed and agility as the slowest person on the trek sets the pace.


The first section of the trek will take guests through dense forest at the base of Nyiragongo. It is in this area that hikers are encouraged to keep a look out for wildlife, including monkeys and bushbuck. The forest ascends up into the second section whose open skied trails offer beautiful views of the valley below. The third section takes you across old lava flows and past steaming volcanic fissures. After entering high montane forest to traverse the fourth section, the fifth and final ascent is a steep 300m to the summit.

Once at the top, exhaustion melts away as Nyiragongo offers an exhilarating gift to those who have conquered its slopes: the world’s largest lava lake churning away in a mosaic of molten red fire. The most breathtaking spectacle is saved for last however, when the sun goes down and Nyiragongo begins its nightly glow against a backdrop of stars.

Practical Information

The temperature at the volcano summit frequently drops below freezing, with occasional high winds and rain. Please ensure that you bring adequate rain and cold weather gear. We recommend packing a couple of extra pairs of dry, clean socks. Gloves and headwear come in handy as well. Trekkers are responsible for their own equipment, food and water.

Trekkers are encouraged to take at least 3 liters of water. Please note that all water, charcoal for heating and cooking, as well as food and cooking equipment have to be carried by hand to the top of the volcano. If clients would like to rent hiking equipment and/or hire a cook from the Park, it is at an extra cost. Local porters are available for hire at the start of the trek at Kibati Ranger Post.

Amenities and Extras

  • Number of shelters: 12 (2 people per shelter).

  • Sanitation: Communal latrine toilet, no running water.

  • Nyiragongo backpacks from the Park: USD 100. Includes sleeping bag, warm clothes, snacks, water, lunch, dinner and breakfast. This cost includes a cook to prepare meals.

  • Hire of porters: USD 25 for 15kg bag.

  • Locally made walking sticks are available for purchase at the start of the trek for USD 10.

Please note that by hiring a porter, you are helping to create employment for the local community.