Travel Guide Africa Democratic Republic of Congo Goma



Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift system. Goma lies only about 15 kilometres south of the crater of the active Nyiragongo Volcano. The recent history of Goma has been dominated by the volcano and the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fuelled the First and Second Congo Wars. The aftermath of these events was still having effects on the city and its surroundings in 2010. The city was captured by rebels during the M23 rebellion in late 2012, but has since been retaken by government forces.



Sights and Activities

Virunga National Park

Gorillas in the mist

Gorillas in the mist

© Traveller76

The Virunga National Park is what Bwindi Impenetrable is to Uganda or the Volcanoes National Park to Rwanda: a large protected mountainous wilderness, mainly to preserve the last several hundreds or so of the Moutain Gorilla and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late seventies of the twentieth century. Chimpanzees, forest elephants, giraffe and even okapi can be found here, although there numbers have diminished in recent years because of the unstable political and economical situation. Still, travellers who can't get a permit in Rwanda or Uganda to visit the mountain gorillas, might be lucky to get one here as chances are better and it is cheaper. The main access point is from Rwanda to Goma but entries from Uganda might be possible as well, just check in advance regarding the visa and safety regulations during the time you will visit.

Mount Nyiragongo

Virunga volcanos - view from the Sabinyo hike

Virunga volcanos - view from the Sabinyo hike

© aidni

Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano, located in the Virunga Mountains, just within the borders of the Virunga National Park. It's just about 20 kilometres north of Lake Kivu and Goma] and therefore is one of the 16 potential deadliest volcanoes in the world, which are on the Decade Volcano List(see below). The top of the volcano lies at 3,470 metres above sea level and the main crater is about 2 kilometres wide. The crater lake is one of the most voluminous in the world and before the major eruption of 1977 the depth was around 600 metres, although it's considerably less now. The volcano has another major eruption in 2002 (lava flowed down to the Goma airport and even into Rwanda!) and again has been active continuously since 2010, but this activity is limited to the crater area. It's a popular daytrip for hikers and can even be undertaken from nearby Rwanda.



Events and Festivals

Commemoration of the Martyrs of Independence

This annual celebration is held every January 4th. Also known as Martyr’s Day, the Commemoration of the Martyrs of Independence is held as a double event to remember the victims of violence against human rights and also the martyrs of justice.

National Heroes’ Day

Referred to as “Heroes’ Day,” this public holiday is celebrated annually on January 17. It commemorates the death of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo’s popular leader. It is one of the two festivals that commemorate Lumumba’s fight for human dignity in the region.

National Liberation Day

The Congo observes National Liberation Day every year on May 17. This is a public holiday, so all offices and most businesses are closed. It pays tribute to the efforts of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo rebel group who fought the government during the second war. MLC was led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, the son of Bemba Saolona, a Congolese billionaire. Street parades and cultural shows are held.

Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated every June 30.

Parents’ Day

The world observes Parents’ Day every August 1, but in the Congo, it is considered a public holiday. Locals are enthusiastic about giving greeting cards and gifts to their family.

Youth Day

The Congo celebrates Youth Day on October 14. During this national day, different organizations host sporting events and other festivities for young people.

Army Day

An observed as a national holiday, the country honors its military forces every November 17.


Unlike most Western countries, the Congo treats Christmas as a religious festival. It is less commercialized, so presents are uncommon. On Christmas Eve, churches stage musicals with at least five to six choir performances and nativity plays. Some communities enjoy festivities until dawn when Christmas Day services start at 9:00am Families typically prepare a feast at home, and for those who can afford it, pork and chicken are staples.



Getting There

By Plane

There are several flights from many towns of Congo to Goma. There is a daily flight from Kinshasa to Goma which is operated by CAA and Wimbi Dira Airways.

By Bus

From Kisoro, Uganda, you can take a minibus in Bunagana at the Uganda border. However, as of May 2015, the road between Bunagana and Rutshuru is not safe. Crossing the border at Cyanika into Rwanda to reach Goma through Ruhengeri/Musanze and Gisenyi is a much safer and faster option.

From Rwanda there are hourly minibuses from Kigali to Goma, such as Atraco Express and Okapi Car. These will take approximately three and a half hours.

From Butembo you can find a bus in Butembo bus station. They may leave early in the morning.

By Boat

There are daily ferries from Bukavu via Idjwi Island. There are several companies that offer the 2-5 hour trip.



Getting Around

By Public Transport

You can use boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) to get around Goma. The normal (local) price is ~500 Congolese Francs for the short ride.




There are many cheap restaurants which serve rice, meat, chips and beans. In addition, most also serve one of the traditional African staples ugali, which is made primarily from flour and water. Natural yoghurt (called maziwa) is popular, often sweetened with sugar. It's available at many small shops around town for about $0.5.

Colibri Hotel. Quiet restaurant with a friendly staff. edit
Coco Jambo. The popular expats night club, serves the best meat in town (from the owners' farm, especially beef "brochettes"). Service is often slow and the place gets loud and crowded over the weekend. edit
Hawaaii. Quiet outdoor restaurant with a pool table in the backstreets of av. kanyabahunga, serves decent Lebanese food and good grilled meat. The excellent fresh strawberry smoothies are a rare delicacy in town.
Le chalet (On the edge of the lake). Food is excellent and affordable. Considering the quality of the roads, it is quite far from the city centre.
Al Matar Hotel. This hotel has a pleasant restaurant. The menu also includes hamburgers and a delicious pizza. Pita sandwiches from 3$ to 7$.
Salt & Pepper Restaurant. Good restaurant with Indian, Bengali, Chinese, and African food from 3$ to 10$. You will feel at home with the service n smile of staff. VIP Restaurant. Specializing in grilled fish & chicken, dishes 4$-10$.
Albacha Restaurant. Serves Mediterranean foods, kebabs, fatush, falafel, and good hummus. 3$-15$.




Goma has many kinds of Congolese beers such as Primus, Mitzing and Turbo King.

The proverbial Congolese nightlife is superb, and Goma is no different. In many nightclubs the tunes are a mix of local and western, and so are the Punters.

Dallas Club, Ave. De la Poste.
Chez Doga, Blvd Kanyamuhanga.
Zebra Night Club, Ave. Mapendo.
Coco Jambo, Blvd Kanyamuhanga. The tunes are western, and so do the customers. It wakes up a bit late, but when it does, it’s a good time. A place to be on Saturday night.
Flat Dallas, Gouverneur St (Next to the power company office), ☏ +243813804040. Best place to have grilled tilapia fish.




Colibri Hotel, ☏ +250782160547. A good budget option with spacious rooms in addition to gardens for campers and backpackers. Is also the location of the Goma branch of the "Go Congo" tourism office. 5$-10$.
Shu Shu Guest house (signposted off the main road to/from Gisenyi). You can order breakfast for ~$3 and lunch/dinner for ~$6. Rooms $20, camping $3.
Al matar Hotel, Ave. la Corniche (50m from Rwanda border), ☏ +243997734710. Quiet family motel is a good value. Pleasant garden, TV and hot water. 30$-45$.
Le Nyira Hotel, Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☏ +243 994000443. Pleasant, well maintained hotel. 40$.
Goma Serena Hotel, 105 Avenue De La Corniche, ☏ +243 999 399330. From $200.
VIP Palace, 27 Ave de la Revolution, ☏ +243 973 318 468. 55$-225$.
Ihusi Hotel, 140 Blvd Kanyamuhanga, ☏ +243 813129560, +243 813532300. Popular top-end hotel in the centre. Has a lovely lake view and a swimming pool. 55$-110$.



Keep Connected


See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the Democratic Republic of the Congo is: 243.

To make an international call from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the code is: 00


Goma Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Goma

This is version 3. Last edited at 9:50 on Aug 11, 20 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License