Bukavu is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is on the border with Rwanda. This area has suffered from some of the ongoing political unrest.
You can reach Bukavu from Rwanda via the borders of Cangungu, from Burundi via the border of Uvira, and from Goma via Lake Kivu or by Road. Due to continuing wars and go the massive crossing of goods over the Rwanda/DRC border, the border crossings can take a great deal of time, and bribes. Do not approach expecting to be able to buy a visa at the border. Have it beforehand and be prepared to wait and possibly pay a bribe. The border control is just one person writing everything down in a big ledger.
The road to Goma is not considered safe but there are boats every day. Expect to pay US$10–50 depending on speed and comfort. If you're white you may have to argue to get a cheap ticket, as it is considered to be not suitable for tourists. You may have to pay US$5 departure tax. Occasionally these boats also stop at Idjwi Island
There are wooden boats to Idjwi island leaving at various times through the day. Ask around at the port. Unlike the northern part of the lake the water here is generally calmer, due to it being narrow and populated with a lot of islands, so the voyage by wooden boat is not usually unduly traumatic.
For architecture buffs, there's a large number of Arc Deco buildings across the city.
- 1 Our Lady of Peace Cathedral.
- A picturesque peninsula on Lake Kivu
- From Bukavu you can visit the lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park, Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu, and Minova village.
- Nuns near the airport. They have fantastic ice cream and cheese. You'll need a car to get to them and the road there is absolutely horrible, although quite worth it.
Bukavu is mainly a US dollar economy, so plan to use Congolese francs only for small purchases.
For shopping, check out the SuperMarket Asante, between the Mayor building and SONAs, in front of the Bukavu Cathedral.
- Hotel La Roche has great views of the lake.
- Hotel Horizon (near Alfajiri Secondary School) is a good option for dinner, though the views are less exciting.
- Hotel Orchid a great view of the lake and the best food in town. Not terribly overpriced despite the rather high-ish quality of the establishment. You will want to drive to it at night as the road is unlit and treacherous to walk in pitch black.
For lunch and dinner, try the Cafe and Restaurant Asante at Supermarket Asante between the Mayor Building and SONAS.
- Beer - Primus, Mitzigi, Turbo king..
- Soft drinks - Vitalo, Fanta, Coca Cola, juice.
- Local Drinks - Banana beer called Kasiksi or Mutchibwe.
- Mama Kindja. Sells mostly roasts: fish, meat, etc. A plate of raost and chips costs US$8.
- 1 Orchids Safari Club, Ave Lieutenant Dubois, [email protected]. Has 22 rooms and two suites. Regarded as the best hotel in town. From $110 per night.
- Hotel Residence.
- Hotel Riviera.
- Hotel Tanganyika, 22-24, Av. Kahusi Biega (near the centre of town), [email protected]. Nowhere near the lake of the same name. Locals consider it the cheapest safe place. A bit grotty but generally OK. It also does reasonably priced food, for example US$ 3 for brochette and chips). From $15 per night.
- Hotel Panorama. Boulevard du Lac No 12, Labotte
Kaziba, about 55 km (35 mi) from the big city bedlam of Bukavu, has a guest house at Byakweli's property, closer to the Kaziba Hospital.