Burundi is a small country in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. It borders Rwanda to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Tanzania to the southeast. Its southwestern border lies next to Lake Tanganyika.

Burundi blends lakeside communities with domineering mountains. However, internal conflicts between ethnic groups regularly plague the country and make it less safe for travel. In addition to poverty and civil conflicts, Burundi also has to deal with corruption, weak infrastructure, poor access to health and education services, and hunger. The country has a high population density, but also a high rate of immigration of young people, who seek for better work and life opportunities elsewhere in the world.

The official languages of the country are English, French, and Kirundi. The predominant religion is Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

The local currency is Burundi Franc. The approximate exchange rate is BIF1685 for US$1. The currency exchange is available in one of the main banks in Bujumbura or Gitega. Credit cards are not generally acceptable. There are also no ATMs in the country.

There are truck taxis (tanus-tanus) in Burundi, but there are usually crowds. Car hire is available from local companies. Cars drive on the right side of the road here. However, roads are not in a great condition. Also, avoid traveling outside Bujumbura after dark. 

The electric sockets and plugs are of types C and F here, as in Europe. The standard voltage is 220V. 

The country’s tourist industry suffered due to a civil war in 1993. It started to recover in 2005, however, when travelers began visiting the country’s capital of Bujumbura, located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Nevertheless, the tourism infrastructure is still quite poor in Burundi. The country doesn’t offer much transport or accommodation options for visitors. 

At present, only certain locations are accessible to travelers. Restricted areas include both the southernmost source of the Nile River and the forest of Parc National de la Kibira. Instead, you can visit Kibira National Park, located at the top of the apex of the Zaire-Nile. Ecotourism is the most popular kind of travel in Burundi. Kibira National Park, Lake Tanganyika, and the Rurubu River are the major natural tourist attractions.

The major cultural attraction is the Burundian drummers, also known as Abatimbo. Their wooden drums are an important part of ancient Burundian culture. In 2014, the ritual drum dance of Burundi was placed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Before coming to Burundi, don’t forget to take vaccination against yellow fever, malaria, and cholera. And then come and explore this unique African country!

July 27, 2016 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

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