Problems in Goma border, anyone else?
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Nov 17, 2010 11:21 AM Last Post By: aua067
Oct 31, 2010 12:14 PM
Problems in Goma border, anyone else?Hi, I'm a spanish jounalist, I work for La Vanguardia.es, and I'm writing a report about problems in the Congo borders with the backpakers.
I've been there one month ago and I had serious problems with the police. I got my visa in Kampala two weeks before going to the DRC, but when I arrived to the border the policemen told me that my documents, specially the visa, wasn't right. I tried to persuade them but it was impossible. I even asked them if it was a problem of money, but they told me "no". They treat me very bad; even they pushed me to try to make me go away, but i didn't.
So I was there, without knowing what to do becasue i didn't have another entry visa for Rwanda, so I called my embassy in Kinshasa. After more than ten hours of negociacion, the Congo policemens offered my an "special" visa that costed 570$. Of course I rejected to pay it, specially because my embassy told me that this kind of visa is free. The officials of my embassy finally talked with the minister of homeland affairs and he recognised that DRC goverment doesn't have control of many borders.
I want to know if someone else has had a bad experience in any border of the DRC. Please, tell me your experience and I'll include it on my report. I also want to talk with the DRC goverment, so I need to collect the more cases I could.
Thanks in advance.
Oct 31, 2010 1:19 PM
Oct 31, 2010 1:36 PM
Oct 31, 2010 2:00 PM
Nov 1, 2010 10:08 AM
4It's been many years since I was in DRC--back before the war, when it was still Zaire. But then, as now, eastern Zaire was more or less run as little distinct fiefdoms by local authorities. The border in particular was a money-generator for whoever happened to be in charge of that particular area, and visas issued by the central government were not recognized.
I assume this is what you're running into, in some newer form. Eastern DRC is still a long, long way from Kinshasa, and they more or less do what they want and/or can get away with. Probably, you can make contacts locally and find out what it will take to gain entry. Probably this will cost a certain amount of money (though US$500 is absurd), which will be negotiable.
Note that I'm just guessing based on ancient experience in the area plus what I've heard more recently. Here's a link to a good trip report by some Belgians who recently went overland south of you, in case you're tempted to get more deeply involved: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ride-tales/democratic-republic-congo-lubumbashi-kinshasa-53285
Nov 1, 2010 10:34 AM
5As stated elsewhere on this forum, this specific problem started when DRC Kigali Embassy was opened. So my guess would be the Kigali embassy does not want to share the income with Goma border, and thus they have started to create all this confusion. Current practice is that people leave their passports to the border and pay something (USD 50 or similar), and enter the country for a day trip without any visa (or passport).
Nov 1, 2010 2:37 PM
I recently returned to my home country from a year of living in the DRC! I have experience crossing 4 of the country's borders.
I did not experience any problems at the Goma border whatsoever coming FROM Rwanda. I don't have experience the other way around. I do have a multi entry, multi year Congolese Visa.
Moreover, I found the Goma border much, much better compared to the borders of Kasumbasela (near Zambia) and Kinshasa (with Brazzaville). Both of those borders were nightmares!
By the way, the Bukavu/Rwanda border was pretty much a breeze and the easiest of the four, which I did by foot.
I have noticed while traveling that age, race, gender, nationality and religion can greatly impact how people are perceived and treated in other countries! I tend to experience a lot of favor and blessings from people when I travel particularly to Eastern Europe and Africa!
Nov 2, 2010 3:44 AM
7I travelled through the Bwera/Kasese - Kasindi (Uganda - DRC(Zaire)) border a few years ago.
That was one of the tougher one's for me. But mainly because the taxi driver from Kasese to border post was trying to stitch us up and the border gaurd wouldn't stamp us through or open the gate unless we paid his mate - the driver. Otherwise a nice 3 day trip on a flat-bed trailer of a semi-trailer on an interesting track/road was had.
The visa issue has always been difficult at least as far back as 1982, but not as difficult as you report. Mine, at London Zaire embassy (at the time the only embassy I would come across from Cairo onwards), you had to select the date you will enter Zaire then you had approx 1 month before needing to leave. Imagine the logistics of arriving on time when travelling overland. Anyway, result was having passport confiscated by gunpoint at midnight at room door then escorted to the Bukavu - Rwanda border bridge in the morning then handed back passport and au revoir.
But never any money handed over (in 6 mths), mind you I'm tight. Now it sounds dodgier, more staunch on bribes. Sounds almost anarchy.
Hey, you gotta love that Congo (Zaire) style music. It really is a feature of the area.
Has anyone ventured to Mutsora and trekked Mountains of The Moon in recent years? Love to hear about it.
Nov 5, 2010 8:26 AM
Nov 7, 2010 8:39 PM
9please see this link re Goma border problems
as an addendum we got our money back from the DRC embassy in Kigali, although there were 6 of us and four were journalists
Nov 17, 2010 3:07 AM
10FYI, I asked the border in Bukavu/Ruzizi and they informed me that they do not have any problems with visas issued by the DRC Embassy in Kigali.
Nov 17, 2010 11:21 AM
I tried to cross into the DRC in November 2010 (German citizen) as I have booked a gorilla trek as well as a climb to the Nyiragongo volcano in the DRC.
I was told before from other travellers I met in Rwanda that it was getting very hard to get visas at the Goma border crossing because of the opening of the embassy in Kigali.
Anyway along with my congolese tour guide whom I met in Gisenyi (Rwanda) we showed up at the border in Goma. The border officialls after finding out that I had no DRC visa immediately told me to get one in Kigali. After hard negotiations with my guide they would reluctantly agree that I would get the visa for a fee of USD 100 plus a "tip" for the three border guards of USD 60 each - which would have cost me USD 280 in total.
I turned around and walked back to Rwanda as this was absolutely not acceptable for me. They shouted after me that USD 240 would be fine as well - but still I went back to Rwanda.
Later I have met some Germans in Rwanda and they told me that they got their visas at the Goma border for USD 100 each, so in my opinion it is still possible to get the visa at the border but it depends on the border guards and how they like you or not.
It still depends on the crossing you use because I have was told by Belgians in Cyangugu (Rwanda) that they paid USD 50 for a visa at the Bukavu border crossing.
The safest way is probably to get the visa at the DRC embassy in Kigali where the visa costs USD 140.
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