Cai Tjeenk Willink
The Nyiragongo is an omnipresent view from the streets of Goma: a smoking giant during the day, a surreal glowing shadow at night. With a group of 7 tourists we started our ascend through the foothills of the volcano through dense jungle, after about an hour the forest gave way to an old lava flow, which according to our guide originated from the 2002 eruption, which burned down half of Goma.
After this point the landscape varies between lava flows, jungle and African alpine vegetation. The last leg of the journey is by far the toughest, a 20-30 minute hike up a 45 degree angle mountain mostly consisting of loose scree. But when you get to the crater all your weariness is forgotten, one of the most amazing sights you will ever witness welcomes you with warmth (literally).
All your senses are stimulated by the loudly boiling, red-hot glowing, warmth radiating and sulfur smelling lava lake, the largest in the world.