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Nyiragongo Volcano & Lava Lake

Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire) - July 17th - July 30th 2006

Remocratic Republic of Congo

Nyiragongo Volcano You Tube

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Approaching the volcano. It was a 7 hour hike up the steep slopes to the top.

At night the lava lake would illuminate the walls of the huge crater.

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As the lava boiled and churned, plates of cooler lava would float on the surface.

The view from the campsite at the summit of the volcano.

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Spectacular lava bubbles and explosions were occurring continuously.

Cars in the city of Goma, buried in lava from the 2002 eruption.

I travelled to central Africa where I was part of an expedition to visit and photograph the rarely visited Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Getting there was a challenge, we travelled by land from Rwanda, then through the unstable eastern portion of the Congo. It took an entire day to climb its steep sides with guides, cooks, armed guards and about 35 porters to carry all of our supplies and equipment. Nyiragongo is one of only 3 volcanoes in the world to contain a permanent lava lake in its crater and it is one of the most breathtaking sights on the planet. the 300 meter wide cauldron of lava bubbles and churns continuously, shooting splashes of molten rock high into the air and sending huge waves of lava surging across its surface...Incredible. The conditions on the volcano were tough. We were pinned down for 3 nights by storms. Thunder, lightning, and torrential rains were the norm and the wind was so strong that I thought my tent was going to be blown off the mountain. At times the visibility was nil which made getting around camp hazardous, especially with a 1000 foot drop into the crater only a few steps away. We managed to get out of the country just days before the border was closed due to their first elections in 45 years.

Summit Weather

A lovely day at the summit of Nyiragongo.

Overlooking The Crater

Overlooking the volcano's giant crater