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Burundi

BURUNDI TRAVEL GUIDE

Lying almost in the centre of Africa, Burundi is sandwiched between Congo and Tanzania. A small and mountainous country, Burundi offers wonderful views of Lake Tanganyika. Nature has bestowed Burundi with great natural beauty and the people are warm and welcoming.

Burundi has been wracked with decades of ethnic fighting, and only just beginning to come into its own.

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BURUNDI QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Bujumbura
  • Currency: Burundi franc (BIF)
  • Area: total: 27,830km²
  • Population: 11,18 million (2018)
  • Language: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)
  • Religion: Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%

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BURUNDI PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 5 February, Unity Day
  • 6 April, President Ntaryamira Day
  • 1 July, Independence Day
  • 15 August, Assumption
  • 13 October, Prince Rwagasore Day
  • 21 October, President Ndadaye Day
  • 1 November, All Saints’ Day

Also, Ascension, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.

FESTIVALS IN BURUNDI

Burundi

BEST TIME TO VISIT BURUNDI

The best time to visit Burundi is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. During these months, the weather is generally dry, sunny, and pleasant with moderate temperatures. The dry season is a great time to go on wildlife safaris, visit national parks, and explore the natural beauty of the country.

 

However, it's worth noting that Burundi's climate can be unpredictable, and heavy rains can occur at any time of the year, especially in the highlands. So, it's always a good idea to check the weather forecast before planning your trip.

 

Also, it's important to keep in mind that the political and security situation in Burundi can be unstable, so it's recommended to check the latest travel advisories and exercise caution when traveling to the country.

BURUNDI WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Burundi’s climate is largely controlled by the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which brings rain to Burundi as it moves southward. Additionally, the altitude of the country influences and modifies the climate on the local scale. The rainy season occurs during the months of October-May, which is interrupted by a short dry period in January, which lasts only 15 days. The dry season lasts from June-September and experiences the highest average annual temperatures, occurring from August to September (around 21°C). Mean annual rainfall ranges from less than 900 mm (e.g.,Imbo floodplain) to 1,600 mm (e.g., altitudes above 2,000 m). Mumirwa, Kumoso, Buragane, and Bugesera regions record average yearly temperatures between 21-13°C and rainfall between 1,000-1,300 mm per year. The central plateaus have average annual temperatures between 18-21°C and annual average precipitation between 1,200-1,600 mm per year. The Congo-Nile watershed experiences average yearly temperatures between 15.8-18°C and rainfall over 1,600 mm per year.

Burundi

BURUNDI TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

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AUGUST

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN BURUNDI

HIKING & CYCLING IN BURUNDI

BEACH OPTIONS IN BURUNDI

SURFING IN BURUNDI

KITESURF IN BURUNDI

Kitesurfing spot details and weather

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN BURUNDI

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance

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HEALTH RISKS IN BURUNDI

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Burundi

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

BURUNDI TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Burundi can vary depending on various factors such as the season of travel, mode of transportation, accommodation, and activities. Here are some estimates to help you plan your budget:

  • Flights: The cost of flights to Burundi varies depending on where you're traveling from. On average, a round-trip ticket from Europe or the United States can cost between $700 to $1,200, but prices can be higher during peak travel season.
  • Accommodation: There are a range of options for accommodation in Burundi, from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. Budget travelers can expect to spend around $10 to $20 per night for a basic guesthouse, while mid-range hotels cost between $50 to $100 per night. Luxury hotels can cost upwards of $150 per night.
  • Food and drinks: The cost of food in Burundi is relatively cheap, and a meal at a local restaurant can cost between $2 to $10. A bottle of water costs around $0.50, and a beer costs around $1.
  • Transportation: Taxis are the most common form of transportation in Burundi, and a short trip can cost around $2. However, it's recommended to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi. Public transportation such as buses and minibuses are also available and are cheaper than taxis.
  • Activities: There are several tourist attractions in Burundi, including national parks, museums, and cultural sites. Entrance fees can range from $5 to $20 per person, depending on the attraction.

Overall, a budget traveler can expect to spend around $30 to $50 per day in Burundi, while mid-range travelers can expect to spend around $100 per day. Luxury travelers can expect to spend upwards of $150 per day.

BURUNDI TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips for Burundi:

  • Obtain a visa: Visitors to Burundi need to obtain a visa before arrival. It's recommended to apply for a visa at least a month before your planned travel date to allow for processing time.
  • Be aware of safety and security: The political and security situation in Burundi can be unstable. It's recommended to check the latest travel advisories and exercise caution when traveling to the country. It's also a good idea to avoid political gatherings or protests and to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Pack appropriate clothing: Burundi is a conservative country, and it's recommended to dress modestly, especially in public areas. Lightweight clothing is recommended for the warm and humid climate, but it's also a good idea to bring a sweater or jacket for cooler evenings.
  • Drink bottled water: It's recommended to drink bottled water or boiled water to avoid contracting waterborne illnesses.
  • Carry cash: Credit cards are not widely accepted in Burundi, and it's recommended to carry cash. It's also a good idea to exchange money at a bank or official exchange office to avoid scams or counterfeit currency.
  • Learn some French or Kirundi: French is the official language of Burundi, but Kirundi is also widely spoken. Learning some basic phrases in French or Kirundi can help you communicate with locals and make your travels easier.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: Burundi is a conservative country with strong cultural traditions. It's important to respect local customs, dress modestly, and be respectful when visiting cultural or religious sites.
  • Plan your itinerary carefully: Burundi is a small country, but traveling can be slow due to poor infrastructure and road conditions. It's recommended to plan your itinerary carefully and allow plenty of time for travel between destinations.
  • Get vaccinated: It's recommended to get vaccinated for yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis A and B before traveling to Burundi. It's also recommended to take malaria medication and to use insect repellent to avoid contracting malaria.

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF BURUNDI

Burundi is divided into 18 provinces, which are grouped into five regions. Here are the main regions of Burundi and some highlights of each region:

  • Bujumbura Region: This is the largest and most populated region of Burundi, with the capital city of Bujumbura located here. Some highlights of this region include Lake Tanganyika, the Rusizi National Park, and the Livingstone-Stanley Monument.
  • Northern Burundi Region: This region is known for its scenic landscape of hills, lakes, and waterfalls. Some highlights include the Karera Waterfall, the Kibira National Park, and the Ruvubu National Park.
  • Eastern Burundi Region: This region is home to several national parks and wildlife reserves, making it a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Some highlights include the Ruvubu National Park, the Kigwena Natural Forest Reserve, and the Bururi Natural Reserve.
  • Central Burundi Region: This region is known for its historical and cultural sites, including the Gitega Museum, the Kibimba Rice Fields, and the Murambi Sacred Forest.
  • Western Burundi Region: This region is known for its stunning natural beauty, with several national parks and nature reserves located here. Some highlights include the Kibira National Park, the Rusizi National Park, and the Saga Beach on Lake Tanganyika.

Each region of Burundi has its own unique highlights and attractions, from stunning natural landscapes to historical and cultural sites. Travelers can choose to explore one or more regions depending on their interests and time available.

Burundi is a small and lesser-known country in East Africa, but it has plenty to offer visitors. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Burundi:

  • Visit Lake Tanganyika: This is one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world and is located on the border between Burundi and Tanzania. Visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, and boat tours on the lake.
  • Explore national parks: Burundi has several national parks, including the Kibira National Park, the Rusizi National Park, and the Ruvubu National Park. These parks offer opportunities to see a variety of wildlife, including primates, elephants, hippos, and crocodiles.
  • Visit historical and cultural sites: Burundi has a rich history and culture, and visitors can explore sites such as the Gitega Museum, the Burundi National Museum, and the Murambi Sacred Forest.
  • Go hiking: Burundi is known for its scenic landscape of hills and mountains, making it a great destination for hiking. The Kibira National Park and the Karera Waterfall are popular hiking destinations.
  • Attend traditional festivals: Burundi has several traditional festivals throughout the year, including the Royal Drum Festival, which showcases traditional drumming and dancing.
  • Visit the Livingstone-Stanley Monument: This monument marks the spot where explorer Henry Stanley met Dr. David Livingstone on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1871.
  • Relax on the beach: Burundi has several beaches along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, including Saga Beach, which is a popular destination for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Try local cuisine: Burundi has a unique cuisine influenced by its African and French heritage. Local dishes to try include brochettes (meat skewers), matoke (steamed plantains), and isombe (cassava leaves with beans).
  • Attend a cultural performance: Burundi has a vibrant cultural scene, and visitors can attend traditional dance and music performances, such as the Intore dance, which is performed by the Burundian Royal Court.

These are just a few of the many things to see and do when visiting Burundi. The country has a lot to offer visitors, from its stunning natural beauty to its rich history and culture.

Burundi

WHAT TO EAT IN BURUNDI

Burundi's cuisine is influenced by its African and French heritage, and offers a range of unique and flavorful dishes. Here are some of the most popular foods to try when visiting Burundi:

  • Brochettes: These are skewers of marinated meat (usually beef, goat, or fish) grilled over an open flame. They are a popular street food in Burundi.
  • Ugali: Also known as fufu or pap, ugali is a starchy dish made from maize flour and water. It is similar to other African staple foods like sadza and nsima.
  • Isombe: This is a stew made from cassava leaves, spinach, and beans. It is often served with rice or ugali.
  • Matoke: These are steamed or boiled plantains, which are a staple food in many African countries. They are often served as a side dish or as a base for stews and sauces.
  • Sambaza: These are small fish that are fried or grilled and served as a snack or appetizer. They are typically eaten whole, including the head and bones.
  • Ibiharage: This is a bean stew that is made with red kidney beans, onions, tomatoes, and spices. It is often served with rice or ugali.
  • Igisafuliya: This is a dish made from sweet potatoes, cassava, or yams, which are mashed and mixed with butter and sugar.
  • Inyama: This is a meat stew made with beef, goat, or chicken, cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices. It is often served with rice or ugali.
  • Fruit: Burundi has a variety of tropical fruits, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, and bananas. They are often served as a dessert or snack.

These are just a few of the many delicious foods to try when visiting Burundi. Be sure to also try some of the country's unique drinks, such as banana beer or urwagwa (a fermented drink made from banana juice or sorghum).

LGBTQ IN BURUNDI

Burundi

WHERE TO STAY IN BURUNDI

When visiting Burundi for the first time, there are a few recommended areas to stay in to make the most of your trip. Here are some options:

  • Bujumbura: This is the largest city and capital of Burundi, and has a range of accommodation options for visitors. It's a great base for exploring nearby attractions like Lake Tanganyika, Rusizi National Park, and the Livingstone-Stanley Monument.
  • Gitega: This is the second-largest city in Burundi and is located in the central part of the country. It is known for its historical and cultural sites, including the Gitega Museum and the Royal Palace.
  • Lake Tanganyika: There are several towns and villages along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, which offer beautiful views and access to water activities. Places like Rumonge, Nyanza Lac, and Bujumbura Plage are popular destinations for beach and water sports enthusiasts.
  • Kibira National Park: This national park is located in the northwestern part of Burundi and is known for its lush forest and diverse wildlife. There are several lodges and guesthouses in and around the park for visitors to stay in.

When choosing where to stay in Burundi, it's important to consider factors like location, budget, and the type of experience you're looking for. It's also recommended to book accommodation in advance, as availability can be limited in some areas.

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