||WARNING: Although Goma is relatively safe. Travelers should not venture outside of the city proper for any reason, except to visit Virunga National Park. Those visiting the region on official business (UN, aid organizations, charities) should carefully follow the guidance of your organization concerning security when leaving Goma.
In mid July 2012, the M23 rebel faction threatened to enter Goma to "protect" Tutsis from "harassment". The UN peacekeeping mission replied that they will reposition 19 000 soldiers to protect the city. On 20 November 2012, M23 gained control over Goma. Keep abreast of the latest news on this before travel to Goma.
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. At this moment (November 2012) Goma is a battle field. Eastern Congo has been called the "rape capital of the world" by U.N. Special Representative Margot Wallstrom. Reports record that 48 women are raped every hour. Women are being raped, people are being shot and it is unclear who has control over the looting soldiers. Women and children have run across the border to Rwanda en masse.
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it would be advisable to check locally and calculate a lot of extra time for transport, as any information may be outdated within a day.
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.
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 40$.
From Gisenyi both towns are on the border and walking between the two city centers takes no more than half an hour in peaceful times.
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$200. The park was closed in May 2009 due to the rebel occupation but was reopened in March 2010.
- 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 to bring your own equipment when trekking the volcano. Hakunamatata tours has equipment and tents in very much used condition. ~$320.
- Green Hills Eco-Tours (www.greenhillsecotours.com), Goma (Nyiragongo Volcana), ☎ +250788219495 [email protected], . 4-5HRS. Local specialists tour guide organizing all kinds of tours in East D.R.Congo. Climb Nyiragongo live volcano, mountain gorillas and lowland gorilla tracking, Goma sightseeing tour, Ijwi Island tours. US$200.
- 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, is 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 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 $0.5
- Colibri Hotel. Quiet restaurant with friendly staff.
- Coco Jambo. The popular expats night club, serves the best brochettes in town. Service is often slow and the place gets loud and crowded on weekends.
- Hawaii. Quiet outdoor restaurant with a pool table in the backstreets of Ave. Kanyabahunga, serves decent Lebanese food and good grilled meat dishes and sandwiches. The fresh strawberry smoothies are a rare treat.
- Al Matar Hotel. This hotel has a pleasant restaurant. The menu also includes hamburgers and a delicious pizza. Pita sandwiches from 3$ to 7$.
- Salt & Pepper Restaurant. Good restaurant with Indian, Bengali, Chinese, and African food from 3$ to 10$. Known for their quality of customer service.
- VIP Restaurant. Specializing in grilled fish & chicken, dishes 4$-10$.
- Albacha Restaurant. Serves Mediterranean foods, kebabs, fatush, falafel, and good hummus. 3$-15$.
Goma has many kinds of Congolese beers such as Primus, Mitzing and Turbo King.
The proverbial Congolese nightlife is superb, and Goma is no different. In many nightclubs the tunes are a mix of local and western, and so are the Punters.
- Dallas Club, Ave. De la Poste.
- Chez Doga, Blvd Kanyamuhanga.
- Coco Jambo, Blvd Kanyamuhanga. The tunes are western, and so do the customers. It wakes up a bit late, but when it does, it’s a good time. A place to be on saturday night.
- Flat Dallas, Gouverneur street (Next to the power company office), ☎ +243813804040. Best place to have grilled tilapia fish
- Colibri Hotel, ☎ +250782160547. A good budget option with spacious rooms in addition to gardens for campers and backpackers. Is also the location of the Goma branch of the "Go Congo" tourism office. 5$-10$.
- Shu Shu Guest house, (signposted off the main road to/from Gisenyi). Rooms $15, 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$.
- Le Nyira Hotel, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ 0994000443. Pleasant, well maintained hotel. 40$.
- VIP Palace, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ 0997736797. 55$-225$.
- Ihusi Hotel, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☎ 0813129560 or 0813532300. Popular top-end hotel in the centre. Has a lovely lake view and a swimming pool. 55$-110$.
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.