Goma city is the capital of North Kivu province located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Goma city is on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, not so far away from Gisenyi in Rwanda. Goma city, Lake Kivu and Gisenyi of Rwanda are all on the Albertine Rift, which is the western branch of the Eat African Rift valley. Goma city of Congo covers about 75.72 square kilometres. The Goma city history is dominated by mostly the Nyiragongo volcano activity including the volcanic eruptions that oftentimes affect the people of Goma. Mount Nyiragongo is only 13-18 km away. The 2002 eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano had most parts of Goma destroyed, but has since been a city under construction and worth a visit by travellers.
How to reach Goma
Goma can be reached by air, via Goma International Airport. There are several flights from many towns of the Congo to Goma, with daily flights from Kinshasa to Goma International Airport. Travellers can also have direct flights from Addis Ababa to Goma International Airport with the Ethiopian Airlines. Alternatively, travellers can fly into Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, with some direct flights from Europe ay France and Belgium. From Kigali in Rwanda, travellers are then transported by road through very scenic places with rolling hills of Rwanda via Gisenyi to Goma city.
Goma city can be reached by road, usihttps://www.congosafaristours.com/how-to-get-to-virunga-national-park/ng both public means and private cars that they may hire or simply use tour operators who are more knowledgeable of the country. There are buses that operate from Bunagana border to the Goma, as well as through Cyanika to Rwanda and then transferring to Goma city. Travellers from Rwanda have hourly buses minibuses that depart Kigali for Goma city every day. Using public transport however takes longer than when one uses private transport. Traveller are most advised to use tour operators who can transfer them to Goma city in about 4 hours only.
Also, Goma can be reached by water, with ferries that operate daily from Bukavu. The transfer can take anything from 2 hours and more.
Once in Goma, for those travellers not part of an organised Congo safari tour where fulltime transportation is available, boda-bodas (motorcycles) are the most commonly used by the locals to get around. All you need to do is hail one when you need to get around, with prices depending on the distances covered.
There are a number of attractions in and around Goma city that travellers can take time to visit. Some of the attractions near Goma are Mount Nyiragongo where travellers get to see the world’s largest lava lake, mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park, eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park and Lake Kivu, among others. All these can be easily reached from Goma and travellers are encouraged to visit these places.
From Goma, it is hiking Mount Nyiragongo that is famous for its large lava lake that travellers mostly take part in since some travellers find the hike easy from the direction of Goma. For one to take part in hiking Mount Nyiragongo, a Nyiragongo permit is required and it costs $300 only per person per hike. Ascending the Nyiragongo can take about 6 hours, so spending a night at the summit is required and then get to descend the next day after marvelling at the churning lava lake. Children below 12 years are exempted from hiking the Nyiragongo volcano.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park is another activity that traveller can take part in while staying in Goma city. Booking in advance is however required for any traveller interested in gorilla trekking. A Congo gorilla permit is required to be able to take part in gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park, and it costs only $400 per person per trek. Children below 15 years cannot do gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park.
There are a number of accommodation facilities in Goma that any traveller can find fit to stay in. There are luxury, mid-range and basic accommodation facilities in Goma city, for example, Shu Shu Guesthouse, Le Nyira Hotel, Ihusi hotel and VIP Palace among others.
The city is a great place for a stopover for a day or two before proceeding on your Congo safaris tour. The food is great and diverse, the people are welcoming and fun to interact with, and the nightlife is one to experience with a variety of local and international beverages available for sale. There is no harm in trying out the local beverages, you just might enjoy them even more! Have your tour operator of choice book you a stay in Goma city for a day or two and you will love it. Goma could actually be your base as you visit Virunga National Park for your various activities. Enjoy your stay in Goma.