Goma

WARNING: The city of Goma has been threatened by nearby rebels since November 2012, even occupying Goma for a short time. After months of relative calm, the rebels once again have threatened to capture Goma, as of July 2013. In addition to the threat posed directly from violence, the city is facing a large refugee influx, and the nearby threat has forced many Westerners to leave and many businesses have closed. (Updated July 2013). In June 2015, gunfire was heard in Goma which was mostly from near the airport, but some was also from the city centre and a market near the airport. (Updated August 2015).
Government travel advisories

Goma is the touristic capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the extreme east near the Rwanda.

Understand

In 2002 Goma was destroyed by lava from the Nyiragongo volcano which buried most of the town’s streets, particularly the town centre. Since then, Goma has been a city under constant construction. The town itself is worth a visit. While Goma is reasonably safe, any visits outside of Goma should be researched to understand the state of the fighting that persists in the North Kivu province. In particular any trips out of the city should be planned with caution. The city is also the base to climb the Nyiragongo volcano along with some of the cheapest Mountain Gorilla tracking in Africa. It is also a good starting point to Kinshasa via Beni and Kisangani.

Get in

By plane

There are several flights from many towns of Congo to Goma. There is a daily flight from Kinshasa to Goma which is operated by CAA and Wimbi Dira Airways. Alternatively, it is possible to fly to Kigali -in neighboring Rwanda- by direct flights from Europe (France, Belgium, Germany), then by road to Goma (taxi (70- 100 USD) or collective bus (10 USD).

By bus

From Kisoro, Uganda, you can take a minibus in Bunagana at the Uganda border. However, as of May 2015, the road between Bunagana and Rutshuru is not safe. Crossing the border at Cyanika into Rwanda to reach Goma through Ruhengeri/Musanze and Gisenyi is a much safer and faster option.

From Rwanda there are hourly minibuses from Kigali to Goma, such as Atraco Express and Okapi Car. These will take approximately three and a half hours.

From Butembo you can find a bus in Butembo bus station. They may leave early in the morning.

By boat

There are daily ferries from Bukavu via Idjwi Island. There are several companies that offer the 2-5 hour trip. Prices vary from $10 to $40.

By foot

From Gisenyi both towns are on the border and walking between the two city centers takes no more than half an hour.

Get around

You can use boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) to get around Goma. The normal (local) price is ~500 Congolese Francs for the short ride.

See

Do

Buy

Eat

Considering the quality of the roads, it is quite far from the city center.

Budget

There are many cheap restaurants which serve rice, meat, chips and beans. In addition, most also serve one of the traditional African staples ugali, which is made primarily from flour and water. Natural yoghurt (called maziwa) is popular, often sweetened with sugar. It's available at many small shops around town for about $0.5

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Goma has many kinds of Congolese beers such as Primus, Mitzing and Turbo King.

The proverbial Congolese nightlife is superb, and Goma is no different. In many nightclubs the tunes are a mix of local and western, and so are the Punters.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

The biggest danger in Goma during the day is crossing the busy roads. At night don't walk anywhere besides the main nightclub zone of Blvd Kanyamuhanga. It is advised to not leave valuables in hotels. Rebels have been responsible for killings of gorillas and the security situation remains precarious within the Virunga Park.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, January 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.