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...more
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...more
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,...more
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...more
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"
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).
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more