Goma Travel Guide

  • Chalets in Goma, overlooking Lake Kivu
    Chalets in Goma, overlooking Lake Kivu
    by sebblit7
  • Geez after that I just had to
    Geez after that I just had to
    by sebblit7
  • Near the Lake Kivu
    Near the Lake Kivu
    by Maggus

Goma Things to Do

  • Where the lava meets Lake Kivu

    Finally the lavaflow reached Lake Kivu. At that time the water temperature increased to 40 degrees Celsius and the water level sank so that the shoreline was extended by 5 meters. The Lake still contains a huge poisonous gas deposit that is feared to be released during a next eruption.You can visit the point where the lavastone "river" meets the...

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  • Towards Lake Kivu

    Although very few of the former Lakeside establishments remain, the walk from town towards lake following the new road is very impressive.Efforts have been made to level the lava on the way to the lake, so that it can be used as a road. I visited several volcanoes with different grades of activity before, but never saw it's destructive powers in a...

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  • Houses on the edge of the lavaflow

    On the edges of the lavastream houses are still intact enough to live in, although their views changed considerably. I found it amazing to see how the people of Goma managed to adapt and re-organise their lives in circumstances like that.

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  • Take a walk to the town centre

    You can follow the stream all the way from the airport to the towncentre. You willl pass a former area with larger compounds, where only frames of cars and rusty fences are signs of former wealth. It's all covered by a 2, 3 meters thick rocky mess.

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  • See how people build up their lives...

    14 villages and about 15000 houses were destroyed by the immense power of the "fireriver" and the accompanying earthquakes.Many families live in newly build houses outside town financed by aid organisations, but many of them have preferred to return. The lavastone, sometimes huge rough rocks, sometimes looking like pudding, has to be levelled,...

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  • Visit the airport!

    Next stop could be the airport. The lava passed here as well and ruined part of it, but the airstrip and the planes were still intact.Don't enter at the main gate (it's a restricted, whatever it means) but walk further along the road and discover that people actually cross the airstrip all the time paying a small fee to the attendant.On the other...

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Goma Hotels

Goma Restaurants

  • Maggus's Profile Photo
    Impression of the house and attached garden

    by Maggus Updated Jun 15, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The congolese friend who gave me a lift to Goma was actually the owner of Hotel Ubumwe in Gisenyi on the rwandan side. When he wanted to visit a friend he agreed to take me with him over the border.

    Afterwards relaxing near the lake shore at this nice restaurant. We two were the only guests. It definitely looked above average even by european standarts. What a sharp contrast to the apocalyptic surrounding. The lawn was almost english style...

    Food was excellent, indeed.
    There is also a bar open in the evening.

    Favorite Dish: Congolese Primus and comme toujours: "brochettes de chevres"

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Backpacking
    • Business Travel

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Goma Transportation

  • Bonobo2005's Profile Photo

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Jun 12, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gisenyi to Goma can be done by foot or bicycle-taxi ($0.25 one way to/from border).

    Starting from Kigali (capital Rwanda) there are express minibuses to Goma (ca. $3)

    Exploring Goma is best done by foot, and excursions out of town by off-the-road motorbike-taxi (I paid $10 for 2 bikes/2 hours).

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Budget Travel

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Goma Shopping

  • Bonobo2005's Profile Photo

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Jun 12, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The eruption and the aftermath have been recorded on videotape, partly from the ground partly from helicopter.

    It's a copy of an amateur video, so quality is not like BBC, but it's still worth watching/buying.

    You may also be allowed to watch the video in the shop if you're not fancy to buy it. The owner is very friendly and eager to tell about everything concerning Goma.

    Besides, the shop has a huge collection of Congolese musictapes, ranging from traditional to modern ragga/rap style.

    The shop is really worth a visit!!!

    What to pay: The videotape (VHS) should cost $8 - $10; musictapes $1

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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Goma Warnings and Dangers

  • About changing money

    I found out that only notes of 5,10 and 20 Francs are in use (read: legal) in Goma. The bigger notes carry a portrait that they don't like ;-|So if you want to change money (on the border or at the minibus station in Gisenyi) don't accept any bigger notes or old Zaire money.$10 equalled 3000 Francs in 02/2003, which means at least 150 notes. It was...

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  • Check local security

    Since Goma is not controlled by DRC government it's important to check if the situation is quiet. Good sources are the various Western embassies in Kigali (Rwanda), organisations like Croix Rouge (that has an office in Gisenyi just across the border in Rwanda) and the "prefecture" in Gisenyi.Less good sources are probably the Kinshasa based...

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  • **Crossing Gisenyi (Rwanda) - GOMA...

    The Rwandese will stamp your passport on exit which means that you'll need a new one when you return, even if it's the same day! Keep in mind that this will cost you $60 (!!!!!) unless entry to Rwanda is free because of your nationality (f.e. British,US & Germans are that lucky...). The perfect solution if is to apply for a MULTIPLE ENTRY Rwandese...

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Goma Favorites

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  • Bring a local guide!

    A good idea is to bring a local guide, who knows Goma really well. He will also be very useful in organising things and negotiating prices. When in Gisenyi (just across the border in Rwanda) I met Modest, a young man living in Goma and working in Gisenyi. I told him about my plans and he offered to show me around. He did a very good job and wants...

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  • Beware some US Dollar Bills are not...

    Okay so not my favourite thing, but something you need to know before visiting Goma. The following US Dollar bills are not accepted.New Notes from the years 1996, 1998 or 1999.It's really dumb, but there's this mass paranoic myth about these notes and they will not be accepted by most people, who say that they cannot cash them at the bank because...

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  • Lake Shore

    This is another view from the restaurant's lawn featured under the recent category.Lake Kivu is part of the great east african lake system and safe to swim or dive (beware of the currents). The rwandan mountains can be seen in the background.

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