Nyiragongo volcano is one of Virunga’s premier attractions, but the insecurity created by the M23 conflict has kept it closed for two years. Although the M23 conflict officially ended in January 2014, restoring law and order in this sector of the park has been a challenge. Armed groups took full advantage of chaos created by the conflict and ramped up illegal charcoal making operations in the Nyiragongo area. Rangers have had a difficult and dangerous time of rooting out these elements, but significant progress has been made.
Another challenge is restoring the summit shelters located at the rim of the volcano. For two years now, Nyiragongo has rained her corrosive ash on the shelters. Many of the metal roofs have disintegrated and some shelter doors have literally corroded off their hinges. When one considers that every metal roof panel, door, mattress — everything — has to come up on someone’s back, it becomes clear why getting the shelters refurbished is not an easy task.
Here are some images taken by Southern Sector Warden, Innocent Mburanumwe during a reconnaissance mission this week:
Ranger hut before the final climb to the summit of Nyiragongo.
Rangers climb into the summit fog.
Roofs completely destroyed by corrosive ash from Nyiragongo.
The doors of this hut corroded off their hinges. Without the doors, the bed frames didn’t fare well either.
Rangers preparing food back at camp.
Looking back at Mt. Mikeno (left) from Nyiragongo.
Nyiragongo treks will resume just as soon as rangers can provide sufficient security and finish refurbishing the summit shelters. Given the huge demand for this attraction, there may be a waiting list for permits. Guests staying at the park’s Mikeno Lodge will be given first preference. Please continue to follow this blog for the re-opening date.