It has been described as Africa's most active volcano and has erupted over 30 times since 1880. As well as eruptions from the summit, there have been numerous eruptions from the flanks of the volcano, creating new smaller volcanoes that have lasted only for a short time (e.g. Murara from late 1976 to 1977).
The volcano is responsible for a large portion of the sulfur dioxide released into the atmosphere by volcanoes.
Extensive lava flows can be seen on satellite photographs going 25 km south-west to Lake Kivu, about 22 km north-west and 35 km north-north-east. Nyamuragira is only 13 km north-north-west of Nyiragongo, the volcano which caused extensive damage to the city of Goma in its 2002 eruption.
Nyamuragira volcano has a volume of 500 cubic km, and covers an area of 1500 sq km. It has a low shield profile, and contrasts with adjacent steep-sided Nyiragongo volcano.