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Our Lady of Peace Cathedral, a landmark of Bukavu
Bukavu is located in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Location in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coordinates: 2°30′S 28°52′E / 2.5°S 28.867°E / -2.5; 28.867
Country  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Province Sud-Kivu Province
 - Mayor Ms. Nzita Kavungirwa
Elevation 4,915 ft (1,498 m)
Population (2009)
 - Total 241,690
Time zone Lubumbashi Time (UTC+2)

Bukavu is a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lying at the extreme south-eastern extent of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the Sud-Kivu province and as of 2009 it had an estimated population of 241,690.[1], with another 250,000 people living in the surrounding towns and villages.[citation needed]



Bukavu was established in 1901 by the Belgian colonial authorities. Originally named Costermansville (or Costermansstad in Dutch) until 1954, it had a prominent European population under colonial rule. They were attracted by the subtropical climate (Lake Kivu is 1,500 metres above sea level) and scenic location (Bukavu is built on five peninsulas and has been described as "a green hand, dipped in the lake"). Many colonial villas have gardens sloping down to the shore.

By contrast, the main residential district for ordinary people, Kadutu, climbs up the hillside inland. The surrounding hills reach a height of 2,000 metres.

Formerly an administrative centre for the whole of the Kivu region, the town lost some of its status as result of the growth of Goma.

Following the Rwandan Genocide, Hutu refugees and many members of the former Hutu-led government fled as part of the Great Lakes refugee crisis. The refugee camps around Goma and Bukavu became a center of the Hutu insurgency from the camps against the new Watutsi government of Rwanda. In November 1996 at the start of the First Congo War, Rwandan government forces consequently attacked the Hutu camps, and forces of the then Zaire government which allowed the insurgency. The Rwandan government supported rebels in Zaire led by Laurent Kabila who overthrew the Kinshasa government with their help, and then fell out with them, leading to the Second Congo War. Rwanda supported the rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) against Kabila. The RCD was dominated by the Banyamulenge, and Bukavu which with the rest of Sud-Kivu was held by the RCD saw sporadic fighting between rebels and government forces and their proxies, including the Mayi-Mayi, especially in 1998 and 2004.

On June 3, 2004, protestors in several Congolese cities took to the streets to demonstrate against the United Nations for failing to prevent Bukavu from falling to Rwandan-backed RCD forces led by General Nkunda.[2] About 16,000 women were raped on a single weekend after General Nkunda told his troops "This city is yours for three days."[3] In September 2007 Nkunda, who had been persuaded to fall in line with the peace accords which ended the war and re-integrate his troops with the Congolese government forces, again rebelled and started attacking government troops north of Goma.


Bukavu was an important transport hub and gateway to eastern DR Congo, but as a result of the wars the road network has deteriorated and highways to Goma, Kisangani and other towns have not been fully restored. As with Goma, close proximity to the paved road network of East Africa and the functioning eastern section of the Trans-African Highway to Mombasa may allow a faster recovery than other Congolese towns. Bukavu's proximity to the Lake Tanganyika ports of Bujumbura and Kalundu-Uvira give it an additional advantage, with access on the lake to the railheads of Kigoma (linked to Dar es Salaam) and Kalemie (rail link to Katanga, in need of rehabilitation).

Bukavu has numerous lakeside wharves and boat transport is used extensively in the Congolese waters of the lake in the absence of well maintained roads.

Kavumu Airport (ICAO code:FZMA, IATA code: BKY) located about 30 kilometres north is the domestic airport for Bukavu.

Medical care

Bukavu is home to the Panzi Hospital, Jules Ohelo.

Bukavu is also home to the Catholic University of Bukavu's School of Medicine and General Reference teaching hospital.

The pharmaceutical factory Pharmakina owned by a German immigrant produces the antimalarial drug quinine and the generic AIDS medicament Afri-vir. Pharmakina also runs an AIDS diagnostic and treatment center.[4]. With 740 employees and about 1000 free-lance workers Pharmakina is the largest employer in town.[5]

Status of Women

Women continue to face major problems of violence in the wake of war in the eastern DRC. Fondation chirezi in August 2007 launched a project for women's trauma healing and care, based in Bukavu.

Natural hazards

Although not threatened by volcanoes as Goma is, Bukavu is equally in danger from a potential limnic eruption from Lake Kivu, in which vast quantities of dissolved carbon dioxide and methane could explode from the lake and threaten the lives of the 2 million people who live near the lake.[6]

Other features


  • Diallo, Siradiou (1975). Le Zaire aujourd'hui. Editions Jeune Afrique. ISBN 2-85258-021-7. 
  • UN Department for Humanitarian Affairs, Inter-Regional Information Network briefings IRIN

External links

Coordinates: 2°30′S 28°52′E / 2.5°S 28.867°E / -2.5; 28.867

Sud-Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Cities: Bukavu (capital) || Communes: Bagira, Ibanda, Kadutu, Kasha

Territories: Fizi, Idjwi, Kabare, Kalehe, Mwenga, Shabunda, Uvira, Walungu


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Bukavu is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is situated on the border with Rwanda. This locale has left it hard hit by some of the recent political unrest.

Get in

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 unresolved wars that continue to this day, as well as the massive crossing of goods over the Rwanda/DRC border, the border crossings can take a great deal of time, as well bribes. Do not approach expecting to be able to buy a visa at the border. Have it beforehand and also be prepared to wait and still possibly pay a bribe. It's just one fellow writing everything down in a big ledger.

  • 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 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, decent pizza, and a nice buffet breakfast.
  • 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 as well as the best food in town. Not terribly overpriced despite the rather poshy 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, located 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.
  • Hotel Riviera
  • Laroche
  • Hotel Residence
  • Hotel Orchid's

Get out

If you want to get out Bukavu City: Please visit Kaziba about 35 mileages (55km) from the big city Bukavu. There is a guest House at Byakweli's property, closer to the Kaziba Hospital. This guest house is modernize have a meeting room for 15 to 25 people, 5 bed rooms, nice refrigerator,living room, dinning room, 2 full bathroom and 1/2 bath, kitchen outside-well connected with the dinning-room, no need for flash lights because we have electricity from Hospital's hydro-power, and 8000 Watts generator just in case,.....

Try this will love it( Mountains, valley, agriculture, Culture, Christian environment, ....) Please call +243- 994607790 or + 254-733595608 or + 243- 853713681 for visit or booking.


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