Goma is the touristic capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the extreme east near the Rwanda.
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.
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).
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 Butembo you can find a bus in Butembo bus station. They may leave early in the morning.
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.
From Gisenyi both towns are on the border and walking between the two city centers takes no more than half an hour.
You can use boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) to get around Goma. The normal (local) price is ~500 Congolese Francs for the short ride.
- The Nyiragongo volcano
- Lake Kivu
- Gorillas in Virunga National Park
- The Green Lake
- Pygmies in Minova.
- Climb Nyiragongo Volcano — This volcano, famous for its lava lake, is a technically easy climb from the direction of Goma. A trip to the top should take ~6-8 hours, so most climbers spend the night at the top. The park was closed in May 2009 due to the rebel occupation but was reopened in March 2010; it closed again during the M23 siege of the city but it reopened on November 2014. The tour with the Virunga National Park costs USD$255 for internationals and USD$55 for Congolese and it includes the permit to the park as well as the lodging at the top of the volcano and guides.
- Hakuna Matata Tours. Offers a 2-day climb and tour of Goma. Owner is a native of the region and very friendly, but it can take time to track him down. It's better bring your own equipment when trekking the volcano as the stuff Hakunamatata tours provide is of low quality (e.g. leaking tents) ~$320.
- Green Hills Eco-Tours, Goma (Nyiragongo Volcana), ☎ +250788219495, e-mail: RwandaCongoTours@gmail.com. 4-5. Local specialists tour guide organizing all kinds of tours in East D.R.Congo. Climb Nyiragongo live volcano, mountain gorillas and lowland tracking, Goma sightseeing tour, Ijwi Island tours. US$200.
- Traditional jewellery.
- Congolese wood crafts and canvas drawings. These are available at Ihusi and VIP palace hotels, but if you're looking for a bargain check out the shop on the roundabout near the post in the centre of town.
- Other items, such as videos of the Nyiragongo volcano eruption, are available at the Don de Dieu shop on Rutshuru Road.
- Le chalet. On the edge of the lake, a brand new restaurant, food is excellent and affordable.
Considering the quality of the roads, it is quite far from the city center.
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 $0.5
- Colibri Hotel. Quiet restaurant with a friendly staff.
- Coco Jambo. The popular expats night club, serves the best meat in town (from the owners' farm, especially beef "brochettes"). Service is often slow and the place gets loud and crowded over the weekend.
- Hawaaii. Quiet outdoor restaurant with a pool table in the backstreets of av. kanyabahunga, serves decent Lebanese food and good grilled meat. The excellent fresh strawberry smoothies are a rare delicacy in town.
- Al Matar Hotel. This hotel has a pleasant restaurant. The menu also includes hamburgers and a delicious pizza. Pita sandwiches from 3$ to 7$.
- Salt & Pepper Restaurant. Good restaurant with Indian, Bengali, Chinese, and African food from 3$ to 10$. You will feel at home with the service n smile of staff.
- VIP Restaurant. Specializing in grilled fish & chicken, dishes 4$-10$.
- Albacha Restaurant. Serves Mediterranean foods, kebabs, fatush, falafel, and good hummus. 3$-15$.
Goma has many kinds of Congolese beers such as Primus, Mitzing and Turbo King.
The proverbial Congolese nightlife is superb, and Goma is no different. In many nightclubs the tunes are a mix of local and western, and so are the Punters.
- Dallas Club, Ave. De la Poste.
- Chez Doga, Blvd Kanyamuhanga.
- Zebra Night Club, Ave. Mapendo.
- Coco Jambo, Blvd Kanyamuhanga. The tunes are western, and so do the customers. It wakes up a bit late, but when it does, it’s a good time. A place to be on Saturday night.
- Flat Dallas, Gouverneur St (Next to the power company office), ☎ +243813804040. Best place to have grilled tilapia fish
- Colibri Hotel, ☎ +250782160547. A good budget option with spacious rooms in addition to gardens for campers and backpackers. Is also the location of the Goma branch of the "Go Congo" tourism office. 5$-10$.
- Shu Shu Guest house (signposted off the main road to/from Gisenyi). You can order breakfast for ~$3 and lunch/dinner for ~$6. Rooms $20, camping $3.
- Al matar Hotel, Ave. la Corniche (50m from Rwanda border), ☎ +243997734710. Quiet family motel is a good value. Pleasant garden, TV and hot water. 30$-45$.
- Le Nyira Hotel, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ +243 994000443. Pleasant, well maintained hotel. 40$.
- VIP Palace, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ +243-997736797. 55$-225$.
- Ihusi Hotel, Blvd Kaniamuhanga, ☎ +243 813129560, +243 813532300. Popular top-end hotel in the centre. Has a lovely lake view and a swimming pool. 55$-110$.
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.