Activities in Goma

Activities in Goma are quite many and travellers are sure to enjoy them to the fullest, taking back only memorable experiences. Goma is a city located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Goma is actually the capital of the North Kivu province and is just near the northern shores of Lake Kivu. Goma city is a very busy place, and is a stopover point for many tourists on both Congo safaris and Rwanda safaris, those starting from the Congo. It is actually considered a tourist hub, for the city has so many travellers and foreigners, and has quite a large number of UN and other humanitarian organisations within. Safety therefor is guaranteed, for there are government military personnel as well. 

GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, 4 OCTOBER 2008: Orphaned mountain gorilla Ndkasi and her ICCN conservation ranger care-giver Baboo play in the make-shift gorilla orphanage in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, 4 October 2008. At this time, the make-shift facility was noisy and dusty, the opposite of the natural environment of the mountain gorilla sector of the Park. The care-giver lives and sleeps in the same space with the orphan in 3 weeks shifts, 24/7, with one week off a month to see his family. Ndkasi’s mother was killed in order to secure the Gorilla baby by poachers. The poachers had hoped to sell the baby but were caught in a sting by ICCN conservation rangers. Mountain Gorillas are extremely endangered and exist in a small region of the Virunga mountains on the border of DR Congo and Rwanda with a small family in Uganda. Today, the Senkekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphanage has been built inside the headquarters of the ICCN at Rumangabo, about 50 kilometers outside of Goma, that facility houses 5 orphans including the latest orphan Ihirwe. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images.)

Goma is only a few minutes’ drive from Virunga National Park, thereby offering a range of activities that travellers could do while in Goma. The Nyiragongo volcano is also best started here for some travellers. Kahuzi Biega National Park is not far from here as well. With these top Congo destinations only a few kilometres away from Goma city, travellers are guaranteed of opportunities to enjoy the wildlife and wild nature of the Congo. The city itself has sites worth visiting, including theatres and museums, restaurants and the Goma night life. Below are some of the activities in Goma that any traveller could take part in for a beautiful experience of the Congo;

Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park

Gorilla trekking in Virunga National park is one of the most sought after by travellers in search of activities in Goma. Mount gorillas can only be found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, and the Virunga Massif Area that encompasses Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda as well as the very wild and untapped Virunga National Park of the Congo. Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with about 1063 gorilla individuals still left in the world. Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park is sought after most especially for the low prices charged per gorilla permit, unlike in the other gorilla destinations. A Congo gorilla trekking permit costs $400 only, while a Uganda gorilla trekking permit costs $700 and for Rwanda at a whopping $1500. Gorilla trekking in Congo is opted for by a number of tourists, given the park can be reached easily from Rwanda for those on a Rwanda safari but would like a cheaper gorilla trek. Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park starts at 8am so travellers from Goma should work around that time so as not to miss out on the activity. 

Visit Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage

For those travellers that would still find the gorilla trekking permit price of the Congo expensive, visiting Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage that is within Virunga National Park just near Mikeno Lodge could be a great alternative. The Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage is a facility and an area that houses the abandoned and orphaned gorillas as well as those hurt by snares or poachers. Most of the gorillas in Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage are rescues from poachers and animal traffickers. Visiting the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage may not avail the wild experience as would be in the jungles of Virunga National Park but you would get an opportunity to sight these giant but gentle apes. 

Mount Nyiragongo hiking

Mount Nyiragongo has an elevation of 3470 meters, and is one of the most active volcanoes in the entire world. Its last eruption was in 2002, but the most recent activity was in 2016. Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is a very rewarding venture due to the wonderful views of the other volcanoes and the surrounding. It is however the churning magma that stews gasses that has travellers hiking the Nyiragongo. The lava lake is considered the largest in the world, viewing it near you leaves travellers beyond amazed at this wonderful work of nature. Mount Nyiragongo hiking starts at 10am, and it can take two days with a night stay at the summit but some travellers can do all in one day.

Activities in Goma
Activities in Goma

Visiting Kahuzi Biega National Park

Visiting Kahuzi Biega National Park, one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Congo, is another activity in Goma that travellers can do to take part in a number of park activities. Kahuzi Biega National Park has a number of activities that travellers can take part in, but it is eastern lowland gorilla trekking that has most travellers visiting the park. The park has abundant wildlife like the eastern lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, bush elephants, bush buffaloes, antelopes and many more animals. Travellers who visit the park can sight these and more, as well as a number of bird species that roam the park.

Visiting Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is one of the largest lakes in Africa, and it lies on the borders of Rwanda and the Congo. The lake contains methane underneath, a disaster in waiting to happen should there be a volcanic eruption or earth quake. The lake is however very calm and relaxing. Some of the activities travellers can take part in while visiting Lake Kivu are fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing and so much more. Just strolling on the shores of the lake is a very relaxing activity, as well as picnicking. 

Activities in Goma
Visiting Lake Kivu

Getting out of Goma city, on a road drive is also a worthwhile activity as well. Visiting a convent in Miti-Murhesa, which has very spacious gardens that are a perfect spot for meditation and picnics. Lac Vert, a green lake that is being conserved, could also be worth a visit.

Night life or Night clubbing is another activity in Goma that is worth trying out. There are a number of popular night clubs that travellers can visit, say Kivu club. Both local and international drinks are available.

For travellers planning to visit the Congo, getting the right documentation that include a valid visa that can be applied for through a trusted tour operator or directly with the nearest Congolese embassy. A yellow fever vaccination card as well as a valid passport that is not left with less than 6 months to expire. 

Goma is a lovely place to stay in, for a short or long time. Taking part in any of the activities in Goma could require one booking in advance say gorilla trekking, as well as getting around in such a new area. Having the expertise of a tour operator to take to these places is much advised. Reach out to one and be sure to have memorable experiences.

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