Africa’s Most Active Volcano
Situated in DR Congo; Mount Nyamuragira is Africa’s or the world’s most active volcanic mountain, lying in the Virunga Massif, Nyamuragira sometimes called Nyamuragila is strictly found in Virunga National Park. This volcano is well located and because of this it is classified with a magical nature which makes it a great place for hiking. A hike on this mountain is memorable and authentic.
Mount Nyamuragira stems its name from a Rwandese term “Kuragira Inka” which literally means “herd cows”, the term “Inka” means “cows or cow”. It is located approximately 13km North-northwest of Mount Nyiragongo and just 25km North of Kivu. Nyamuragira covers an area of about 1,500km2 and its volume is 500Cubic Kilometers.
Just like Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, Mount Nyamuragira is a large shield volcano and very active and has erupted over 40times over the years since 1885. These eruptions have occurred from the summit as well as from the sides of the volcano. Because of this a few small volcanoes were formed which didn’t last for long such as “Murara” which existed from 1976-1977.
Due to its activeness, Nyamuragira erupts every after a few years. There are numerous eruptions that have occurred even in the present days with the most recent ones happening on 2nd January, 2010 and 8th November, 2011. Some lava flows have travelled to even more than 30km away from the summit.
The lava flows down the slopes through the farmlands and the tropical forest around it. Hence this area is sparsely populated and most wildlife species may be in danger like the chimpanzees but still they are under protection.
More on this; Mount Nyamuragira stands an elevation of 3,058m and it has a caldera on its summit; with its walls going up to 100m high and its width about 2km. In case of an eruption the lava lake collects in the caldera.
According to a survey carried out by some OVG, UN scientists in April 2016, they said that the lake at the foot of the pit in the caldera at the summit of the volcano disappeared. Though what caused this was not fully known, but the group on the survey said all they saw was a glowing vent which released a jet of hot gasses where the lava lake is expected to be. The lava lake was formed in 2014 and it was surprising as how it had quickly disappeared by 2016.
Mount Nyamuragira has a spectacular scenery very impressive to look at including the vegetation zones which harbor different wildlife species like the hyenas and monkeys, the trees that grow in the fertile volcanic soils as well as the magnificent craters located at the top of the volcano. This area is also a great place for birding with numerous birds such as kingfishers, owls, hornbills, herons among others.
In addition, Mount Nyamuragira and its neighbor Nyiragongo are located at the western end of the Virunga Massif, together with Mount Bisoke; these are the only mountains that have been known historically as active in this area.
In conclusion, just like Mount Nyiragongo; Mount Nyamuragira is great volcano, attractive and gives one of the best hiking experiences. Therefore travelers shouldn’t miss out on it while they are on safari in the DR Congo.