Nyiragongo Volcano Photos

- Climbing Nyiragongo-

26 January: climbing Nyiragongo: the easy part

Nyiragongo seen from Goma - our base.

We unload our car with all the essential (and less so;-) equipment. It is a beautiful day, and the first part of our hike is easy, going through a pleasant forest, slowly climbing. Marco (red) and Stefane are ahead.



Time to enjoy the dense green forest.

After 1 1/2 hours, a first break in the shadow is welcome.

26 January: climbing Nyiragongo: the lava from 2002

The tough part begins. The upper lava flow from 2002 marks the trail. It is not very steep, but the dark lava is scorchingly hot in the sun... The lava burnt its path through dense forest, burning most of the vegetation on its way; larger branches and stems of trees were engulfed and only burnt partially, often leaving hollow negatives of their shape (so-called lava trees).  (portrait)

It seems never-ending. Marco (red dot) probably curses the lava as much as everyone... We gain altitude and reach the upper area of the flow, close to the eruptive fracture. Stefan (ge.) and Stéfane (fr.) wondering at the contrast of the lava and the forest. Nice views on the Virunga chain are there, too (in the background, Visoke volcano) We are ashamed! Our porters who started much later, and carry heavy loads surpass us (they don't even seem to sweat!)
The porters are already up and away ... Strange clots hang on the dead branches of the trees... But first, we have a second, much needed break! In fact, we have reached the area of the upper eruptive fissure already. Honoré from the Volcano Observatory shows it to us.
Although over 4 years old, the interior of the fissure is still hot enough to produce some steam.

  So, what were these clots anyway? - The lava fountains from the fissure produced a hail-shower of lapilli and bombs of all sizes onto the surrounding forest. Trees were stripped off their leaves, most branches and turned into sceletons. In some cases, the lava clots are still sticking onto them, fruits of death.

26 January: climbing Nyiragongo: the last third

Now, the trail climbs more steeply (in fact, in straight line towards the top...). More shocking: while we started on this part, the first porters already come flying down the mountain. In the background, Shaheru cone, a lateral cone on nyiragongo's southern rift zone, which extends into Goma and Lake Kivu.

After we leave the area devastated during the 2002 eruption, the forest has us back! Wonderful orange flowers (Mompretia) enchant us...
More like this


Honoré exchanges an automatic thermomter placed inside a little box above a hidden fracture, where it automatically measures the temperature inside the fracture.


The last 200m to climb! Forest has finally given way to tropical high-altitude vegetation, dominated by Lupelia

TAlmost on the top! View back on Shaheru cone and the plain with Goma and Lake Kivu in the background.
200m below the crater, remnants of a shelter, one of three originally constructed in the early 1970's. No photos from our arrival - I was too excited to watch the lava lake... (see page 1-3). But this is the campsite. Stéfane and Marco on the crater rim.