Goma city is one of the main tourist areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is the closest town to Virunga National Park the home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Goma city is considered the capital of the North-Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is bordered by the Lake Kivu in the south and the Gisenyi town of Rwanda on the eastern side sharing a borderline. Goma city also lies in the Albertine rift on the western escarpment of the East African rift valley.
Goma town is a 15-minute drive to the Grande Barrier building that is at the Goma-Gisenyi border. The Grande Barrier border building is also where the tourism office of the Virunga national park is set up. All the visitors planning to visit the Virunga national park have to check-in at this office before they join the convoy headed the several locations. Goma city being the capital of the North Kivu has high numbers of people flocking the center on a daily to carry out commercial trade and run their businesses. Goma city has an international airport called the Goma international airport that accommodates the Ethiopian airlines as the only international air carrier. Ethiopian Airlines operates both international flights and domestic flights around the country. Visitors coming to Virunga national park may opt to fly directly into the country with Ethiopian airlines and drive just 15 minutes to the Grande barrier border. Most travellers opt for the 5-hour road transfer from neighboring Rwanda’s Kigali international airport.
Goma city has a lot to offer for the tourists on top of being the main business hub for the Congolese people like authentic but growing tourism. The major tourist activities in the region include the 2 day Mount Nyiragongo hike, the mountain gorilla trek, Gorilla orphanage visit, Chimpanzee family visit, and the Tchegera Island visit. The Mount Nyiragongo is one the world’s most active lava mountains up to date today and you can purchase yourself a permit to hike up this mountain. The hike is about 5 to 6 hours uphill to the breathtaking views of the boiling magma and the Goma city in the back like a beautiful backdrop.
Big numbers of tourists visit Goma town in anticipation of participating in the mountain gorilla trek. There are about 1000 mountain gorillas left in the entire world and Virunga national park of Goma is proud to be having a few of those left and you can get yourself a mountain gorilla permit at 400 USD which is the lowest cost in the parks with the mountain gorillas. The park receives about 15 to 20 visitors per day for the gorilla trek in Virunga. On top of the mountain gorilla visit, those visitors that booked their stay in Mikeno lodge can take off sometime in the evening to visit the world’s only Gorilla orphanage where the young orphaned gorillas are taken care off and also the chimpanzees that could be harmed are treated from. This is known as the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage located in the expansive compound if Mikeno lodge. Mikeno Lodge is the luxury option for accommodation while in Virunga. Virunga visitors with more time can add a chimpanzee trek where they get to visit the one chimpanzee family in Mahura forest and spend some time with them. This family is still undergoing the habituation process to get accustomed to receiving visitors but is open for visits. While on your visit to Virunga National park, you may add an extra leisurely day to visit Tchegera Island. The Tchegera island has so much to offer as it is still an undisturbed place so is good for birding and forest walks. The black sand island can also be a good place to cool off from the fatigue of the hikes and treks before you exit the country or set out to your next destination. Virunga national park lies in the northern part of Goma city.
Among the major highlights of Goma city is Lake Kivu which can be enjoyed from most of the hotels in the town like the Lac Kivu, Hotel Ihusi where you can hire a boat to sail or cruise on the lake to appreciate the beauty and back to the hotel. You can also connect to the south of DRCongo to Bukavu from the Goma port by water transport on Lake Kivu. You can take a speed boat that takes 3 to 4 hours which is much easier than transferring by road on either side of the lake. Goma city has poor roads which are mainly because of the lava flows from the past Nyiragongo eruptions but this gives you a chance to experience the “African Massage” while making your way through the town.
The Goma town is heavily occupied by the United Nations workers and operations operating several peacekeeping missions in the region and this is evident from the moment you step foot in the city. This shows the safety you are assured of while on your visit to Goma so hesitate no further and book your visit with us to Goma. We also offer a Goma town service for those with more time taking you around the city with a detailed history and take some time to visit the Abracadabra Films Omega Art Center (AFOA) that is majorly a showcase for locally made belts, hats, wallets and artifacts that you may purchase as a souvenir as you support the local talent.
Is there something you are interested in in Goma city? Get in touch with us and let us advise and help you visit it. Our team of skilled consultants is readily waiting to hear from you.