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I Spent The Night At The Top Of An Active Volcano In DR Congo, Capturing The Boiling Lava Lake
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Photography, Travel4 years ago

I Spent The Night At The Top Of An Active Volcano In DR Congo, Capturing The Boiling Lava Lake

Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa’s most active volcano and home to the world’s largest permanent lava lake. At over 200 m across, the lava bubbles and boils at 2000 degrees C, with gas explosions and spurts of lava up to 10 metres high.

Intrepid travellers can cross the border from Rwanda into conflict-torn Congo, and then hike for 6 hours for the chance to spend a night at the top of this incredible mountain.

If you’re lucky, as I was, the clouds will clear and you’ll get to spend hours watching the molten rock frothing and churning like a bubbling cauldron.

It looks like a portal into the centre of the earth or a great fiery chasm. Little wonder that the name ‘Nyiragongo’ means ‘smoking mountain’, and the locals believe it’s the gateway to Hell.

More info: passportandpixels.com

The huge lava lake of Nyiragongo is 200 m across

The molten rock is bubbling at 2000 degrees C

The name Nyiragongo means ‘smoking mountain’

The volcano looms over the nearby city of Goma

Residents must be on their guard against eruptions

Conflict is still ongoing in DR Congo

Three armed guards accompany every group of hikers

Everyone must stick together in case of possible trouble

It’s a steep but manageable climb

Guards make sure everyone is OK

The views on the way up are spectacular

As we neared the top the mists rolled in

At first the crater was full of cloud, but finally it cleared

The lava lake is mesmerising

Gas explosions and spurts of lava pop like fireworks

The lava cools and cracks as it reaches the surface

From below, the searing red heat lights up the smoke

We couldn’t tear ourselves away

When the volcano last erupted in 2002, lava like this poured out

40% of the city of Goma was destroyed. People fled for their lives

For now, the volcano is biding its time

But from the top you can see just how close the city is

It sounds like an ocean or a waterfall – watch with the sound on:

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Lou Wow
Community Member
4 years ago

Lava always makes me want to poke it with a stick to see what happens. It's so fascinating and gooey looking. 😀

Pilot Dave
Community Member
4 years ago

I worked in a super alloy melt lab... NiCrCo melts white hot, 2,600 F High carbon (4%) steel, about 1,550 F and looks much like lava... in color and goooyieness. Fun times.

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M O'Connell
Community Member
4 years ago

The DRC is a pretty awful place to have to live given the wars, poverty and famine. However the shot-up park sign hasn't even reached rural Iowa levels of bullet holes yet.

Community Member
4 years ago

You are so right. Life is really tough there. I was glad that even in some small way my tourist dollar was helping, and if this post inspires more people to go and spend theirs too, then even better!

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Levi Blaisdell
Community Member
4 years ago

It will be awasome to see that in your own eyes

Pilot Dave
Community Member
4 years ago

And feel the heat !!!

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Lou Wow
Community Member
4 years ago

Lava always makes me want to poke it with a stick to see what happens. It's so fascinating and gooey looking. 😀

Pilot Dave
Community Member
4 years ago

I worked in a super alloy melt lab... NiCrCo melts white hot, 2,600 F High carbon (4%) steel, about 1,550 F and looks much like lava... in color and goooyieness. Fun times.

Load More Replies...
M O'Connell
Community Member
4 years ago

The DRC is a pretty awful place to have to live given the wars, poverty and famine. However the shot-up park sign hasn't even reached rural Iowa levels of bullet holes yet.

Community Member
4 years ago

You are so right. Life is really tough there. I was glad that even in some small way my tourist dollar was helping, and if this post inspires more people to go and spend theirs too, then even better!

Load More Replies...
Levi Blaisdell
Community Member
4 years ago

It will be awasome to see that in your own eyes

Pilot Dave
Community Member
4 years ago

And feel the heat !!!

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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