||WARNING: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to eastern and north eastern DRC, including Goma. During fighting in the region in recent months, shells landed on Goma causing civilian deaths and injuries. There was also shelling around the border with Rwanda and explosions in the town of Gisenyi on the Rwandan side of the border. You should avoid travelling around alone and at night. The security situation in eastern DRC, including Goma, remains unstable.
Goma is the provincial capital of North Kivu province in eastern 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.
Due to the present, unstable situation, traveling from/to and within Goma may be difficult, dangerous, if not impossible. If it is essential travel, it would be advisable to check locally and calculate a lot of extra time for transport, as any information may be outdated within a day.
The border with Rwanda is open from 6am until 10pm every day.
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. Take either a taxi (70- 100 USD) or collective bus (6 USD).
If you get your Congolese Visa from Kampala, Uganda, the immigration officials at Goma airport will consider it invalid and extort money starting from 500$. The Vaccination officials will also try to extort money from you if they don't find you vaccinated against diphtheria, polio, tetanus etc. Be informed the required and mandatory vaccination is Yellow Fever and not those asked by those corrupt officials.
From Kisoro, Uganda, you can take a minibus in Bunagana at the Uganda border.
From Rwanda there are hourly minibuses from Kigali to Goma, such as Atraco Express and Okapi Car. These will take approximately three and a half hours.
From Butembo you can fund a bus from Butembo bus station. They may leave early in the morning.
There are daily ferries from Bukavu via Idjwi Island. There are several companies that offer the 2-5 hour trip. Prices vary from 10$ to 50$.
From Gisenyi both towns are on the border and walking between the two city centers takes no more than half an hour.
If you are white, the Congolese police at the border will try to extort some money, 20-30$ by finding one or other reasons. Happens when entering and exiting at the Grande Barrier. The immigration officials too will ask for money with no reason. Be also prepared to be extorted around 30$ to 50$ at the vaccination counter.
By taxi/ bus
- Note that international staff of many INGOs are not allowed to use local transportation.
- It is not recommended to use the local Moto Taxi (Motorcycle Taxi), specially during the dark hours. There have been cases of robbery, rape and murder.
Goma is the base to climb the Nyiragongo volcano along with some of the cheapest mountain gorilla tracking in Africa. It is a starting point to Kinshasa via Beni and Kisangani.
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. Entrance permits cost US$300. There are tour companies organizing hikes to the volcano.
- Basketball: - there's a fabulous basketball association called Promo Jeune Basket [].
- Biking:- you can join a bicycle club that organizes weekly bike rides.
- Climbing:- Hotel Ihusi has a climbing wall. It's $5 for a session and $30 for a month-long subscription.
- Football:- There are several football clubs in Goma.
- Horse riding at Mushake for $20/h. Since the UN peacekeepers left Mushake in 2017, this place is now very dangerous. So avoid going there.
- Kayaking: at Go Kayak and Kayak Kivu.
- Massage:- Ihusi Hotel offers a full-body massage for $15/hr. Sun-fr, 11.30a-5.30p. Towels, flip flops and locker rooms are provided. You can take a shower before and after the massage. The Thai restaurant Blue Elephant (00243 814 737 389) on Avenue Kanyamuhanga offers one for $50/hr from 11a-10p every day.
Beware of the above mentioned massage parlours, they are more into your money than giving you good massage, so better avoid them. There are better and professional masseurs available at $12.
- Visit Yole!Africa  [. Avenue Pelican 8, Goma. 000243 997 123 055, 00243 820 207 799, [email protected], [email protected]
- Check out the art gallery Vijana Kokoriko , show casting incredible paintings. 00243 994 684 860, [email protected]
- Centre Culturel de Goma - Maison des Jeunes : Contact 00243 993 498 376, [email protected], Johnny Wenga ([email protected], 099 42 52 532), Jackson Muhindo Seno ([email protected], 097 49 25 653).
Each year, Goma is hosting the Salaam Kivu International Film Festival
You can pay with US Dollars and Congolese Francs. Note that dollar bills published prior to 2006 will not be accepted. Make sure that the bills do not have the slightest crack as they will not be accepted.
- 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.
There are a range of small shops around town. Major supermarkets that also serve western food are:
- Jesu Ni Jibu: Route de Sake, Avenue Kinshasa # 58. Opening hours: Mo.- Sat. 8a - 10p, Su. 12p - 10p. 00243 991 762 700, 00243 995 840 184.
- La Beauté
- La Promesse: Avenue Peligan, Quartier des Volcans.
- Virunga Market
- Marché du Cinquantenaire: Located at BEDGL roundabout.
There are many cheap restaurants which serve rice, meat, chips and beans. In addition, most also serve one of the 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 $0.5
- Coco Jambo. The popular expats night club, serves the best brochettes in town. Service is often slow and the place gets loud and crowded on weekends. edit
- Hawaii. Quiet outdoor restaurant with a pool table in the backstreets of Ave. Kanyabahunga, serves decent Lebanese food and good grilled meat dishes and sandwiches. The fresh strawberry smoothies are a rare treat. edit
- Al Matar Hotel. This hotel has a pleasant restaurant. The menu also includes hamburgers and a delicious pizza. Pita sandwiches from 3$ to 7$. edit
- Salt & Pepper Restaurant. Good restaurant with Indian, Bengali, Chinese, and African food from 3$ to 10$. Known for their quality of customer service. edit
- VIP Restaurant. Specializing in grilled fish & chicken, dishes 4$-10$. edit
- Albacha Restaurant. Serves Mediterranean foods, kebabs, fatush, falafel, and good hummus. 3$-15$. edit
Goma has many kinds of Congolese beers such as Tembo, Simba, Primus, Mitzing and Turbo King.
The proverbial Congolese nightlife is superb, and Goma is no different. In many nightclubs the tunes are a mix of local and western, and so are the customers.
- Dallas Club, Ave. De la Poste. edit
- Chez Doga, Blvd Kanyamuhanga. edit
- Coco Jambo, Blvd Kanyamuhanga. The tunes are western, and so are the customers. It opens a bit late. A place to be on Saturday night. edit
- Flat Dallas, Gouverneur street (Next to the power company office), ☎ +243813804040. Best place to have grilled tilapia. edit
- Lac Kivu Lodge Hotel, 162 Ave. Alindi, Quartier Himbi, Goma, ☎ +14086639073, . Lac Kivu Lodge is a hotel located in Lake Kivu just 10 minutes away from the city center of Goma. The hotel offers Budget, Family and Deluxe accommodations. 75$. edit
- Colibri Hotel, ☎ +250782160547. A good budget option with spacious rooms in addition to gardens for campers and backpackers. Everything seems extremely run down and dirty, power and water is off most of the time and there is no restaurant. $15. edit
- Tonys Guest House, ☎ +243 974 404 525. Opposite Colibri Hotel you find Tonys Guest House. Very friendly and partly english speaking staff, ok cleanliness, ok restaurant and wifi. 15$-30$. edit
- Shu Shu Guest house, (signposted off the main road to/from Gisenyi). Rooms $15, camping $3. edit
- Al matar Hotel, Ave. la Corniche (50m from Rwanda border), ☎ +243997734710. Quiet family motel is a good value. Pleasant garden, TV and hot water. 30$-45$. edit
- Le Nyira Hotel, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ 0994000443. Pleasant, well maintained hotel. 40$. edit
- VIP Palace, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ 0997736797. 55$-225$. edit
- Ihusi Hotel, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ 0813129560 or 0813532300. Popular top-end hotel in the centre. Has a lovely lake view and a swimming pool. 55$-110$. edit
- Heal Africa: Av. Rond point – Av. Karisimbi (BEDGL roundabout. 099 404 2513.
- Kyeshero Hospital, BP: 200. Kyeshero.
- Hôpital Général de Goma: Route de Sake. 080 851 9634.
You find many pharmacies on route de Sake.
France, the Netherlands (Francesco Mascini, [email protected]) and the United Kingdom (3 Avenue Corniche; last house after Hotel Ihusi on the right before the border) have permanent representatives in Goma.
A danger in Goma during the day is crossing the busy roads. At night don't walk anywhere other than the main nightclub zone of Blvd Kanyamuhanga. Many people do not venture out at night due to the high murder rate and extremely high rape rate. It is advised to not leave valuables in hotels. The security situation remains precarious within the Virunga Park due to poachers who kill gorillas and may point a gun at you.
It is best advised not to visit Goma or D.R. Congo as a whole if you want to return home in peace and not in pieces.