Grande Barrier Border
Grande Barrier Border is the border point in Goma town that is the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It is from the Grande Barrier border post building that travellers intending to visit Virunga National Park check-in from. The tourism office of Virunga National Park is found at the border post, and it is just opposite the passport control office. These two important offices in the tourism industry are conveniently located that travellers do not get inconvenienced or even lost whilst in the process of clearing such that they are ready for entry into the Congo as well as have all their right documents for their visit of Virunga National Park such that they enjoy their exploration and stay. The border post building is just about 35 kilometres from Goma town, is definitely the starting point for all Congo safaris tours to Virunga National Park.
What do tourists or travellers do at the Border post?
While at the Grande Barrier Border post, travellers get to do a number of activities and they include;
- Tourists get to check-in while at the Grande Barrier Border post. They register with the Virunga tourism office, which helps the officials know who are in the park at what time and on which days, as well as know the number of tourists who visit Virunga National Park over time.
- It is at the Grande Barrier Border post that travellers get to receive not only their gorilla trekking permits but also the Nyiragongo hiking permits for those that booked them or interested in taking part in those activities. These activity permits are to be kept safe and are to be shown at the start of each activity for without one travellers are not allowed access to do the activities in question.
- At the Grande Barrier Border post, travellers are cleared so as to enter into the Congo, which requires travellers to present valid documents which include a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, a visa which should have been applied for at least 3 months before date of travel for Congo visas are not applied for upon arrival. Travellers intending to visit the Virunga National Park are given tourist visa which are issued upon booking of a Virunga National Park package. A valid yellow fever card is another document that travellers should have to be granted entry into the Congo, without it, travellers may get rejected or be subjected to having a short which could be quite highly priced as compared to what you might have vpaid back at home.
There are specified departure times from the Border post for those travellers intending to visit Virunga National Park. Travellers are expected to be at the Grande Barrier Border post by 10am in the morning, and be done with all the formalities by 11am and be ready for transfer to the park from where they are to enjoy their visit doing the various activities in Virunga National Park. Time is of the essence, travellers are advised to keep this in mind while planning and doing the formalities. Late arrival at the Border has travellers missing their transfer to the park given that these are scheduled. On the overall though, the Grande Barrier Border is open from 8am to 7pm daily, and can stay open for up to 10pm during busy days.
The Grande Barrier Border post building was opened in 2014 so as to ease border crossing and its related formalities since there were so many people using the Gisenyi-Goma border daily. The Border has facilitated smooth transfer and operation of tourism-related activities but has also elevated business, agriculture and customs between the two countries.
From the Grande Barrier Border post, travellers get to transfer to Virunga National Park to take part in various activities like gorilla trekking, hiking Mount Nyiragongo, chimpanzee habituation, bird watching, and walking safaris in the savannah Plaines, among others; as well as visit the Tchegera Island which is often times the place to relax after the strenuous activities like gorilla trekking. Travellers can also visit Kahuzi Biega National Park after exploring the Virunga, for a chance to encounter the eastern lowland gorillas in a gorilla trekking experience. Get in touch with us should you require any more information regarding the Grande Barrier Border or help you plan for a Virunga National Park safari.