Visit a volcano in DR Congo

This item appears on page 76 of the January 2012 issue.

In November, Virunga National Park (phone +243 991715401) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began offering escorted, overnight trips to observe a newly forming volcano erupting. Travelers hike three to four hours over treacherous, muddy jungle trails to a site (chosen by volcanologists from Goma) within 400 meters of the lava spurting from the black mound. The eruption may continue for months or just weeks.

The trek is dangerous due to natural hazards, mountain gorillas, other wildlife and armed gangs in the park. A guide and four armed guards escort each group of visitors.

The park provides transportation from Goma plus a shared tent, mats and blankets. Visitors provide their own food, water, sleeping bags and rain gear. The trip cost is $300 per person plus $15 for porters and $50 for a DR Congo visa.