The boat from Goma to Bukavu, takes about 6 hours, there are faster speed boats, but i chose to take the big boat, actually a ferry which departs form Goma at around 7am in the morning. Emanuel 2 - was the ferry i was going to take. it had 4 levels. the top level was the first class level , its designed like a lounge, with different sofas around coffee tables sort of like a hotel lobby - it also has private cabins.
The second level from the top, is the dining car, which had a large buffet a dining area and a bar and also some computers configured for internet access, the third level had a comfortable seating area typical of most urban ferries i have used before - this is where most passengers were - on the side at the end of this level the ferry had a nightclub, i think they call it ‘boite’ in french - it was early morning but the club was packed with revelers - one of the travellers explained to me in kiswahili - ‘wakongomano wanapenda ambiance ‘ - congolese love to have a good time.
The bottom level, had some seating and also cargo, motorcycles and also a mercedes ML , also there was preacher who was arguing with security to let him preach, he must have paid them a fee as later he was preaching up a storm.
It’s a gentle cruise on Lake Kivu, all the way to Bukavu - the ferry has numerous TV screens alternating between gospel music and Tanzanian movies starring Steve Kanumba .
The first thing you notice as you approach Bukavu, are the rather large mansions that ring the mostly 3 story mansions, some with private jettys.At the docks you notice a number of large ships under construction and a large sign that reads - Karibu Bukavu, kwetu pombe ni primus.
The Congolese embassy in Nairobi, had messed up the dates on my visa, since i don’t speak french i didn’t notice that my visa had in fact been post dated - so i get to Bukavu and a government official is waiting for me …….