Burundi Travel Guide - Attractions, What to See, Do, Costs, FAQs - VRGyani News


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Burundi Travel Guide - Attractions, What to See, Do, Costs, FAQs

Burundi's history is steeped in ancient traditions and the rise and fall of powerful kingdoms. The region was inhabited by various ethnic groups, including the Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi peoples, who established thriving societies. In the 17th century, the Tutsi-led Kingdom of Burundi emerged as a dominant force, characterized by its hierarchical social structure and centralized authority.

Colonial powers, namely Germany and later Belgium, exerted control over Burundi in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The colonial era brought significant changes, including the imposition of European governance systems and the exploitation of natural resources. Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962, but subsequent political instability and ethnic tensions have marked its post-independence history.

Unveiling the Geography of Burundi:

Nestled in the heart of East Africa, Burundi is a landlocked country bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Despite its small size, Burundi boasts diverse landscapes, including lush mountains, fertile valleys, and the shores of Lake Tanganyika, one of Africa's Great Lakes.

The country's geography plays a vital role in shaping its climate, agriculture, and biodiversity. The central plateau is the most densely populated region, characterized by rolling hills and terraced fields, while the western highlands are home to dense forests and tea plantations. Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world, offers opportunities for fishing, water sports, and relaxation along its scenic shores.

Tourist Destinations/Attractions of Burundi:

  1. Bujumbura: The capital city of Burundi, Bujumbura, is a vibrant cultural and economic hub located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Visitors can explore attractions such as the Livingstone-Stanley Monument, the Presidential Palace, and the Rusizi National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including hippos and crocodiles.
  2. Gitega: As the former capital of Burundi, Gitega is steeped in history and cultural heritage. Highlights include the Gishora Drum Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where traditional drumming ceremonies are held, and the National Museum of Gitega, which showcases artifacts and exhibits related to Burundi's history and culture.
  3. Karera Waterfalls: Located near the town of Rutana, the Karera Waterfalls are a natural wonder hidden amidst lush forested hills. Visitors can hike through the scenic landscape to reach the cascading waterfalls, where they can swim, picnic, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
  4. Rumonge Peninsula: Situated on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the Rumonge Peninsula offers pristine beaches, clear waters, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores, swim in the lake, and explore nearby fishing villages to experience local culture and hospitality.
  5. Kibira National Park: Covering an area of over 400 square kilometers, Kibira National Park is a haven for biodiversity and natural beauty. The park is home to dense montane rainforests, towering waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife, including chimpanzees, monkeys, and rare bird species. Visitors can enjoy guided nature walks, birdwatching, and camping adventures amidst the pristine wilderness.

Travel Plan for Burundi Tourists:

Day 1-2: Arrival in Bujumbura, explore the city's cultural and historical landmarks, such as the Livingstone-Stanley Monument and the Rusizi National Park.

Day 3-4: Visit Gitega and explore attractions such as the Gishora Drum Sanctuary and the National Museum of Gitega to learn about Burundi's cultural heritage.

Day 5-6: Journey to the Karera Waterfalls and spend time hiking, swimming, and picnicking amidst the natural beauty of the waterfalls and surrounding forest.

Day 7-8: Relax on the Rumonge Peninsula, enjoy water sports and beach activities along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and explore nearby fishing villages.

Day 9-10: Discover the biodiversity of Kibira National Park through guided nature walks, chimpanzee tracking, and birdwatching adventures in the montane rainforests.

Best Activities to Do in Burundi:

  1. Chimpanzee Tracking: Embark on an unforgettable adventure to track wild chimpanzees in Kibira National Park, where you can observe these intelligent primates in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior and conservation.
  2. Boat Cruise on Lake Tanganyika: Take a scenic boat cruise on the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, opportunities for wildlife sightings, and a chance to visit remote fishing villages along the shore.
  3. Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in Burundi's rich cultural heritage through traditional drumming ceremonies, dance performances, and visits to local markets and artisan workshops, where you can purchase handmade crafts and interact with local artisans.
  4. Hiking and Nature Walks: Explore Burundi's diverse landscapes and ecosystems through guided hiking and nature walks in national parks, forests, and rural communities, offering opportunities to spot wildlife, discover hidden waterfalls, and connect with nature.
  5. Relaxation and Recreation: Unwind and rejuvenate on the pristine beaches of Lake Tanganyika, where you can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling in the clear waters of Africa's Great Lakes.

Burundi Travel Package Costing:

The cost of a travel package to Burundi depends on factors such as accommodation, transportation, activities, and duration of the trip. Here's a rough estimate to help you plan your budget:

  1. Flights: Round-trip flights to Bujumbura from major international airports can range from $800 to $1500, depending on the airline, time of booking, and departure location.
  2. Accommodation: Budget accommodations such as guesthouses and hostels in Burundi typically range from $20 to $50 per night. Mid-range hotels and lodges may cost between $50 to $100 per night, while luxury accommodations can range from $150 to $300 or more per night.
  3. Transportation: Local transportation options in Burundi include taxis, buses, and motorcycle taxis (known as "moto-taxis"). Fares are relatively inexpensive, with short taxi rides costing around $1 to $5 and longer distances costing up to $20 or more. Rental cars are also available for those who prefer self-driving, with prices starting from $50 per day.
  4. Activities: Entrance fees to tourist attractions, guided tours, and cultural experiences in Burundi are generally affordable, ranging from $5 to $20 per person, depending on the activity and duration.

Overall, a week-long trip to Burundi for two people can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 or more, excluding international flights, depending on your travel style, preferences, and itinerary.

Top 5 Hotels & Resorts in Burundi:

  1. Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika (Bujumbura): Nestled on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika offers luxurious accommodations, stunning lake views, and a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, spa, and multiple dining options.
  2. Roca Golf Hotel (Bujumbura): Located in the heart of Bujumbura, Roca Golf Hotel offers elegant rooms, a golf course, and a range of recreational facilities, including tennis courts, a fitness center, and a swimming pool. Guests can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Lake Tanganyika from the hotel's rooftop terrace.
  3. Kiriri Garden Hotel (Bujumbura): Situated in a tranquil garden setting, Kiriri Garden Hotel offers spacious rooms, a restaurant serving international cuisine, and a swimming pool surrounded by lush vegetation. The hotel provides a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  4. Source du Nil Resort (Rumonge): Located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Source du Nil Resort offers comfortable accommodations, water sports activities, and a restaurant serving fresh seafood and local specialties. Guests can relax on the beach, go fishing, or explore the nearby Rumonge Nature Reserve.
  5. Kibira Forest Lodge (Gitega): Nestled in the heart of Kibira National Park, Kibira Forest Lodge offers rustic yet comfortable accommodations amidst the pristine rainforest. Guests can enjoy guided nature walks, birdwatching, and chimpanzee tracking adventures, as well as delicious meals prepared with fresh local ingredients.

Customer FAQs related to Burundi:

Is Burundi safe for tourists?

Burundi has experienced periods of political instability and civil unrest in recent years, leading to safety concerns for travelers. It's essential to stay informed about the current situation and follow travel advisories from your government. Exercise caution, particularly in urban areas and around political gatherings or demonstrations.

What is the 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 this time, the weather is pleasant, with sunny days and cooler temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and wildlife viewing.

What languages are spoken in Burundi?

The official languages of Burundi are Kirundi and French. Kirundi is the most widely spoken language, particularly in rural areas, while French is used in government, education, and business. English is not widely spoken outside of tourist areas, so it's helpful to learn basic French phrases for communication.

What currency is used in Burundi?

The official currency of Burundi is the Burundian Franc (BIF). It's advisable to exchange currency at banks or authorized exchange offices, as foreign currency may not be widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist establishments, but it's always a good idea to carry cash for smaller transactions and in more remote areas.

What are some cultural customs and etiquette to be aware of in Burundi?

Visitors to Burundi should be respectful of local customs and traditions. It's customary to greet people with a handshake and maintain eye contact during conversations. Modest clothing is recommended, especially in rural areas and when visiting religious sites. When visiting someone's home, it's important to remove your shoes before entering and offer a small gift, such as fruit or sweets, as a token of appreciation. Additionally, asking for permission before taking photographs of people or their property shows respect for their privacy and cultural beliefs.

In conclusion, Burundi offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, making it a captivating destination for travelers seeking authentic experiences off the beaten path. Whether you're exploring historic landmarks, relaxing on pristine beaches, or immersing yourself in vibrant local culture, Burundi invites you to discover its hidden treasures and embark on a journey of discovery in the heart of East Africa.

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