Burundi Info For Visitors

Burundi Drummers

Burundi Drummers

Burundi [1] is a small country in East Africa, although it has some cultural and geographical ties with Central Africa. It is surrounded by RwandaTanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Burundi covers 27,834 km² with an estimated population of almost 8.7 million. Although the country is landlocked, much of the south-western border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika, one of the deepest lakes in the world.

Burundi is one of the ten least developed countries in the world and it has one of the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world. Burundi’s low GDP rate is due primarily to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education, political instability and the consequences of HIV/AIDS. Cobalt and copper are among the nation’s natural resources. Other resources include coffee, sugar and tea.

Burundi possesses all the elements of a young nation with ancient traditions that constitute its very rich culture: art, dance, music, and handicrafts. Its aim is to ensure the transmission of the cultural inheritance from the forefathers and ancestors evidenced by belongings and objects they revered and favored, the dances and rhythmic music they composed.

Things to see and do

Arts and crafts

Study the arts and crafts of the Burundians: leather, ceramics, ivory and wood-carvings in the Craftwares Village at Giheta, plus sculptures, wickerware and paintings in the town’s Art School.

Bujumbura

Go to the capital port-city of Bujumbura, a bustling town with a population of some 200,000 inhabitants. The area was colonised by Germany at the end of the 19th century, and there is still architecture dating from that period, including the Postmaster’s House. Other attractions include three museums (including the museé vivant, a reconstructed open-air village displaying Burundian culture) and the Islamic Cultural Centre. There is also an excellent market.

Flora and fauna

Admire the country’s diverse flora and fauna, from savannah to steppers, mountain forests to blooming fields.

Gitega

Stare at a beautiful vista of central plains and the expanse of the former royal city, Gitega, from the mountaintops of the Congo Nile range. Gitega has an exquisite charm of its own, from the Chutes de la Kagera waterfall to its National Museum.

Kirundo

In Kirundo, in the far north of Burundi and with its three lakes of CohohaRweru and Rwihinda, settle down for some bird-watching: the third lake, Rwihinda, is even nicknamed ‘Birds Lake’ because of the sheer quantity of birds (around 20 different species) that settle there. A large amount of birds can also be viewed in Kibira Natonal Park.

Lake Tanganyika

Be seduced by the scenic and fun pleasures of Lake Tanganyika, where (in normal circumstances) cafes and restaurants line the lake. Here, there are some opportunities for watersports, including sailing, waterskiing and fishing.

Rutovu monument

Gaze upon the monument near Rutovu, in Bururi Province, which marks Burundi’s claim to the source of the Nile.

Stanley and Livingstone

Around 10km (6 miles) south of Bujumbura is a stone that marks the historic meeting-place of Stanley and Livingstone in 1871.

Urubugu

Compete in the ancient game of urubugu (also known as mancala). It is played with pebbles or seashells on hollows scooped out on the ground, or with seeds on expensive, elaborately carved wooden boards.

Shopping in Burundi

Local crafts, particularly basketwork, make excellent buys.

Shopping hours:

Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1500; Sat 0830-1230.

Nightlife in Burundi

There are several nightclubs, restaurants and bars in Bujumbura.

Burundi Visa and Passport Requirements

Passports:

A passport valid for at least six months, and with at least one blank page, is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Visas:

All nationals listed in the chart above are required to obtain a visa to enter Burundi.

All travellers must carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa note:

You must show evidence of your booked travel itinerary when applying for a visa. If travelling on business, you also need to provide a letter of invitation.

Types and cost:

Multiple-entry visa: £60.

Validity:

One month.

Transit:

For visits of up to three days, transit visas are available at the border for US$40.

Application to:

Consulate (or consular section at embassy).

Working days:
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