Luvungi is a commercial and administrative town located 64kms north of Uvira, close to the border crossing into Rwanda at Kamanyola, which is just 8 kms further north. The name ‘Luvungi’ means multiplicity or diversity.
To the east is the Ruzizi River and the border with Burundi at Cibitoke. To the west and south is the Ruzizi plain, which is populated with many villages.
Here is a video introduction :
The town’s population is about 85000 and includes people from various tributes such as the Fulero, Bavira, Bembe, Barega and Bashi as well as Burundians and Banyamulenge - hence the origin of the name.
People live mainly from agriculture, raising livestock and from the artisanal mining of cassiterite tin. Agriculture is the primary activity with many people growing maize, cassava, groundnuts and producing oil palm. In some areas cattle are raised and in other areas people cultivate fruit such as oranges, mangoes and mandarins. Rice is grown wherever the water table is high and artisanal cassiterite mining is practiced near Lubarika, Munanira and Katokota.
The largest market outside Luvungi is in Mirungu which opens once a week on a Wednesday. It is an important occasion when producers and buyers from all around the region come together and trade. This encourages collaboration and integration.
The population is young and mostly unemployed. The potential of a large workforce is made visible by the number of young people in the town, but due to a lack of supervision and opportunity, young men often enlist in the armed groups commonly known as' 'local defense forces'. Many other young people move to neighboring countries where they hope to find work and a better life.
For a long time Luvungi was a small village. Because of its strategic position and the increasing population, the central government of the DRC has declared that Luvungi will now be one of the communes of the city of Uvira.
There is a pod of hippos on the Ruzizi river that might be of interest to tourists. The same stretch of river is used by small commercial boats and canoes to facilitate trade between the people from Burundi and Luvungi. It might also be possible for tourists to learn about the production of palm oil and the extraction of palm wine (called Mungazi) which is a sap from the trunk of the palm tree. Tourists might also visit the marketplace for miners and visit the dairy farms.
The future of Luvungi is promising!