Visit Goma City in Congo with Explore Rwanda Tours: Goma is the capital of North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, near the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are located in the Albertine Rift, the western arm of the East African Rift system. Goma lies only about 13-18 kilometers south of Nyiragongo Volcano, which is now active. The volcano and the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which sparked the First and Second Congo Wars, have dominated Goma’s recent history. The aftereffects of these events were still being felt in the city and its surroundings in 2010.
The city was overrun by rebels of the March 23 Movement during the M23 revolution in late 2012, although it has since been retaken by government forces. The annual Amani Festival, which honors peace and drew 36,000 people in 2020, is held in Goma. Goma is within a few minutes drive from Virunga National Park, which offers a variety of opportunities for nature and animal aficionados.
Goma’s surroundings feature stunning natural beauty, such as woodlands, hills, and mountains. It has become a tourist destination in East Africa due to its location outside the Virunga National Park. A significant feature is the beautiful Nyiragongo Volcano, which will be explored later. Goma, as we will see later, also has restaurants, museums, and theaters.
It is important to note that Goma and the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are not normal tourist destinations. Despite the area’s natural beauty, geography, and wildlife, it has a history of civil unrest and violence. Although security has improved and Things to do in Goma Virunga National Park have reopened, you should be mindful of what you are getting yourself into. It is vital to stay cautious and informed on security developments, especially if you want to go to the interior or rural areas.
Places to visit in and around Goma City With Explore Rwanda Tours.
Visit Virunga National Park
The size of Virunga National Park, originally known as Albert National Park, is 7,800 square kilometers. It is the Congo’s and Africa’s oldest national park, having been established in 1925. The Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes the Mikeno, Nyiragongo, Nyamuringa, and Rwenzori Ranges. Most of Africa’s renowned species, as well as some odd ones such as mountain gorillas, Okapi, and Bongo, may be found in the park. Its borders are shared by the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda, and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Over the last two decades, park officials have encountered several challenges, including illegal squatters, poaching, and militias. Things are back to normal, and people are returning to the enticing park and stunning attractions. If you are in Goma, you should spend a day visiting the park headquarters or going on a nature walk before embarking on major activities such as gorilla tracking or ascending the famous Nyiragongo Volcano.
Tracking Gorillas in Virunga National Park.
Mountain gorillas are found only in three countries: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mountain gorillas can only be found in Congo’s Virunga National Park. Gorilla trekking in Congo is popular due of the lower prices for gorilla permits. Gorilla permits in Congo cost $400, compared to $1500 in Rwanda and $700 in Uganda.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park may be combined with mountaineering on Mount Nyiragongo to produce one of Africa’s most memorable experiences. If you find yourself in Goma, take advantage of the opportunity to monitor gorillas and learn more about Africa’s oldest national park. If the permits are too expensive, you can visit the Senkwekwe Centre for Mountain Gorilla Orphans instead.
Hike Mount Nyiragongo
Mount Nyiragongo is 3470 meters tall and is part of the Virunga National Park. Its main crater is 2 kilometers in diameter and features a lava lake in the center. This well-known Volcano Best Tourist Attraction in Goma erupted in May 2021, resulting in lava flowing up to Goma. People died, property was destroyed, and over 500,000 people had to be evacuated. The airport in Goma was not spared.
As the lava climbed to Lake Kivu, it covered the runway in ash and other remnants of the explosion. The volcano has since calmed, and there is little threat of it erupting anytime soon. Scientists have established a station in Goma to monitor the mountain and any volcanic activity. Hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano is recognized as one of Africa’s most adventurous sports. It is the only mountain with a boiling lava lake that is accessible to tourists. The two-day Nyiragongo Hiking Trail begins in Kibati village.
The Senkwekwe Centre is the world’s only mountain gorilla orphanage. One of the advantages of going gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park is that you may visit this Centre for free if you stay at the opulent Mikeno Lodge. The Centre’s name was inspired by Senkwekwe, a majestic Silverback Gorilla. He was murdered in 2007 by militias who had sought refuge in the park at the time. Two newborn mountain gorillas were rescued and cared for by park officials for a period before the idea of establishing a gorilla orphanage for baby mountain gorillas surfaced.
The majority of the gorillas at the Senkwekwe Centre were rescued from poachers or wildlife traffickers after their parents were killed. Mountain gorillas will battle until they die to protect their young. Visit the Centre and make a donation to learn more about gorilla conservation in Congo. You can even volunteer and assist the Centre’s dedicated carers. The sanctuary is set within a large wooded area that mimics the environment in which their wild counterparts live. There is no way they could be returned to the wild given the extra care they have been accustomed to.
This is one of the largest lakes in Africa. Its neighbors are Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lake’s waters go into the Ruzizi River, which connects to Lake Tanganyika. Lake Kivu is well-known for the presence of methane gas beneath its surface. Scientist What to see in Goma imagine if a major disaster, such as a volcanic eruption or an earthquake, occurred. It might release methane gas into the atmosphere, smothering most living species near the lake. The lake itself looks to be secure, serene, and beautiful.
Visitors to Lake Kivu may participate in a range of activities like as fishing, swimming, and island hopping. The best method to explore the lake is by boat or canoe to one of the many fishing communities and landing sites. Kayaking is another alternative when the weather permits. If none of these activities appeal to you, you can simply relax by the lakeshore and gaze out towards the Virunga Volcanoes.
Visit Goma City in Congo with Explore Rwanda Tours : Idjwi Island
Idjwi is an island in Kivu Lake located between Rwanda in the east and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west. It is part of the DRC’s South Kivu province. It covers an area of 340 km2. This island, located in the Indian Ocean, is said to be Africa’s second biggest after Madagascar. Idjwi island may be reached either from the DRC lakeshore or from Rwanda, both of which are around 10 to 15 kilometers apart. The island’s southern point is barely one kilometer from the Rwandan shore.
Idjwi Island is a good place to get away from the modern world and appreciate nature while learning about the island’s rich culture. The island is connected by speed boat to the cities of Goma and Bukavu on the Congo side and Rusizi, Korongi, and Rubavu on the Rwanda side. There are a variety of lodging and camping options available on the island.
Tourist activities on Idjwi Island include visiting local plantations, including one of the largest pineapple farms, taking a village stroll, interacting with residents about their daily lives, viewing birds, visiting local fishermen, and swimming in Lake Kivu.
Visit Goma City in Congo with Explore Rwanda Tours : Tchegera Island
Tchegera Island, located in the magnificent blue waters of Lake Kivu, is recognized for its unusual crescent form, which is really the top crater rim of a long-extinct volcano. On clear evenings, the island provides breathtaking views of Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira, whose bright red lava pierces a star-studded sky. Tchegera offers views of the two tallest Virunga mountains, Mikeno and Karisimbi, as well as the sweeping panoramas of Lake Kivu and its surroundings.
Visit Goma City in Congo with Explore Rwanda Tours : Tracking Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located in the town of Bukavu, near the nightclubs of Goma, Congo. When it was established in 1970, the park was named after two extinct volcanoes, Biega and Kahuzi. It is mainly undiscovered and untamed. Chimpanzees, several smaller primates, bush elephants, buffaloes, gigantic forest pigs, and many antelopes are among the wildlife found in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
The park’s major attraction is the Eastern Lowland gorillas (also known as Grauer’s gorillas). They are larger than mountain gorillas and number around 3,800 in the park. Goma City may be used as a strategic position to watch both mountain and lowland gorillas in this magnificent national park.
All in all; there so much to see and do during your visit to Goma City in Congo. Book your next Congo Safari with our expert travel consultants at Explore Rwanda Tours.