Welcome to Burundi tours and safaris guide, things to do, where to stay, tourist attractions and more.
1. Visit Lake Tanganyika
The great Lake Tanganyika is Burundi’s most popular and commonly visited tourist attraction which covers an area of 19,883 sq miles making it Africa’s second largest, as well as the world’s longest lake. Amazingly it provides habitant to a great diversity of both plants and animals ranging from the tiny microscopic algae to the huge giant crocodiles, about 300 different species of small & large species of fish have been recorded here in addition to over 1,250 plant species. After Lake Baikal Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest lake in the world and second after Lake Victoria among the largest freshwater lakes on the African continent. It is surrounded by a very impressive diversity of landscapes that include the plains and the soaring mountains which offer the ideal background for photographers. Don’t miss out on a boat trip on Lake Tanganyika.
2. Rusizi National Park
Rusizi Nature park also known as the Parc National de la Rusizi and is among the most spectacular natural areas found within Burundi. It’s crisscrossed by river Rusizi which serves as a habitant to a huge number of hippos and birds. The park is located northwest of Bujumbura city not too far from the border with the Democratic republic of Congo and offers a variety of activities including bird watching, boat cruises and game viewings during which you will see various species of monkeys and antelopes among many other animals.
3. Explore Rumonge
Rumonge is the fourth largest city in Burundi and it is located on Lake Tanganyika shores. It is among the prime tourist destinations within the southern part of Burundi and it is blessed with several amazing beaches and a beautiful variety of landscapes which make it a very amazing place to visit while on holiday. We in the town center you will find a number of white houses that are believed to have been constructed back in the Belgian colonial time.
4. The Karera Waterfalls
The Karera falls is another tourist site that stands out among many in Burundi and it is commonly visited by a large number of tourists every year. it is alleged that the waters of the waterfall have healing powers that serve as medication for people and for that reason you will find both local and international visitors dipping themselves in this water as they seek ‘divine’ healing. The terrain surrounding the waterfall is very breathtaking and the ambience is very peaceful a thing that attracts people of all calibers just to enjoy the serenity and unique setting of this place.
5. Kigwena Reserve
Located on the lower slopes of the Congo Nile the kigwena Reserve covers an area all of 3300 hectares and serves as a natural habitat to a variety of plant life and animals. Within this Reserve there are various tourist activities you can engage in however one of the key attractions here are the Mugara falls which also have a thermal spring.
6. Saga Beach
For those looking for a memorable beach holiday while in Burundi, the Saga Beach is the most recommended place to go. The beach is characterized by white sand and scattered with beautiful trees that offer an amazing shade for you to unwind. The water waves experienced here are quite gentle enabling holidaymakers to enjoy a variety of beach activities as the get good service from the numerous bars and restaurants within its vicinity. Because its located about five kilometers (5 km) northwest from the capital Gitega, its quick access makes it the perfect gate away from all the hustle and noise of the city center.
7. Kibira National Park
Kibira is the second largest national park in Burundi and covers an area 400 square kilometers whose terrain is dominated by a rainforest. Previously this was a secret hunting area but today serves as a safe haven for more than 95 mammal species among which are various primates like chimpanzees, the black colobus monkey, baboons and golden monkeys in addition to more than 198 bird speeches. Don’t miss out on the thrilling guided birding tours and nature walks in this amazing game park
8. Lake Rweru
In 2018 Lake Rweru was listed among the world list of tourist attractions. The Lake which is found on the northernmost point this beautiful country form part of the border of Burundi with Rwanda. It is mainly known as the most distant starting point of the great River Nile for the very adventurous holidaymakers. This site is worth exploring and there are several walking paths and mangroves and a visit to the nearby lake Rwihinda (the Bird Lake) will give you an opportunity to see some of the breeding places of migratory birds.
9. Teza Tea Plantations
The quiet and green Teza Tea plantation is the perfect place t visit if you are looking forward to seeing a beautiful rolling terrain covered with a breathtaking ‘carpet’ of all shades of green. The ambience is very relaxing and noise free and perfect for photography. Currently tea is one of the leading products of this country so a visit to the Teza Tea factory will not only end in the plantations but you can also visit the tea factory to see how the production process is done in Burundi.
10. Ruvubu National Park
Covering an area of 508 sq km, the Ruvubu National Park is Burundi’s largest national park and it is crisscrossed by River Ruvubu. Its diversified terrain offers habitat to a variety of wild animals such as antelopes, crocodiles, lions, hippos, monkeys, leopards and buffalos among many others in addition to various birds. Because the human population had severely encroached on this natural wildlife habitat which greatly endangered the survival of the flora and fauna here, the Burundian government evacuated all the encroachers a move that saw this park rise back to its former glory with wildlife populations growing. In 2013, Ruvubu gained the status of a world Heritage Site. Game drives, guided nature walks and birding tours are some of the activities to enjoy here.
11. Bururi National Reserve
The scenic Bururi National Reserve is among Burundi’s eco-friendly destination covering an area of more 15.4 square kilometers and serves as a natural habitat to various wild animals and over 80 bird species. The reserve was established in 1951 and its woodlands include more than 89 rare tree species such as the Strombosia and Newtonia. There are 22 mammal species among which are 6 primate species like chimpanzees and five (5) large mammals.
12. National Museum of Gitega
This museum which was established back in 1955 during the colonial rule of the Belgians is the national museum of Burundi. it houses a collection of ancient photos, witchcraft tools, musical instruments, artifacts plus weapons, in addition to having an open-air theatre, a reptile house, botanical gardens and an aquarium.
13. Burundi Monuments
Burundi has a number of monuments founds in across the country that are a clear reflection of the history and culture of its people. The Livingstone Stanley Monument found south of Bujumbura the former capital of Burundi (where early explores David Livingstone and Henry Stanley spent two nights back in 1871), Monument of Burton Speke and the Unity Monument in Bujumbura are the most popular monuments and landmarks in the country.
Frequently asked Questions on Burundi
below are some of the frequently asked questions for holidaymakers visiting Burundi and these have been professionally answered to help you better plan your safari in Burundi.
Do I need a visa to go to Burundi?
All persons visiting Burundi irrespective of their nationality are required to have a visa which they can obtain through submitting applications to the Burundi Embassy in their home country and these should be obtained prior to their entering the country. A single-entry visa that is valid for one month is normally offered for tourists however this can be renewed in case you wish you stay for a longer duration.
Is it safe to visit Burundi?
Burundi is presently considered to be safe especially after the country transitioned to a democratic form of governance. Although there may be occasional threats as well as petty crimes all people visiting Burundi are advised to take very good caution of themselves and property. Leave your valuables including laptops and jewelry well locked up in your hotel room. Avoid moving unaccompanied in the dark and you should take note that some parts of the country may have a curfew program running so always check the Burundi consulate website for the latest security updates.
What vaccines do I need before going to Burundi?
All persons visiting Burundi are required to present a yellow fever vaccine certificate as proof of receiving the shot. Other recommended vaccinations include the hepatitis A, meningitis, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria and anti-malaria prophylaxis. In case you will be making contact with animals on your safari, you are advised to visit to take the rabies shot as well.
What is the official Language of Burundi?
Burundi has two main official languages which are Kirundi and French. Nonetheless the English language is increasingly becoming popularly spoken but to be able to effectively communicate you are advised to learn the basic French / Kirundi phrases. Bantu and Swahili are also widely spoken particularly in the rural areas.
What is the local Currency for Burundi?
The official currency of Burundi is the Burundian franc (BIF) which comes in notes of different denominations of 10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10 francs. The coins are in denominations of 1, 5 and 10 francs
Are Credit cards used in Burundi?
Credit cards are hardly used in Burundi with just a few large hotels using them. Because there are no ATMS in the country, may not be useful to you. Foreign currency like Euros and dollars can only be exchanged in backs found in Gitega the capital city as well as in Bujumbura.
What is the time zone in Burundi?
Burundi’s time zone is GMT +2
What is the Electricity current for Burundi?
Burundi runs on an electric current of 220 volts and 50Hz across the country, and uses the Plug types E and C which have two round pins. For that reason persons visiting this country are highly recommended to carry their own electric socket adaptors.
What is the best time to visit Burundi?
Burundi can be visited all year round however it is best recommended that you do not travel during the long-dry season during which the country experiences extremely hot temperatures that are uncomfortable. However in case you travel during that time, it is better that you limit your movements to the central part of the country which experiences somewhat cooler temperatures.
Burundi experiences a tropical-highland climate although the temperatures may differ in different parts of the country as a result of the varying altitude. The regions close to Lake Tanganyika on the other hand experience an equatorial climate with the warmer temperatures hitting a maximum of 73°F, and the Mountainous regions are considerably cooler hitting a maximum temperature of 60°F. The central plateau area has the most pleasant weather with average temperatures of 68°F all year round.
the four main season of Burundi include: the long-dry season that starts in June to August, then the short-wet season which starts in September to November, then the short-dry season which commences from December to January. From February up to the Month of May, Burundi experiences the long rainy season a time that is not recommended for tourist travels. We should however point out that the drought and rain patterns experience across the country vary from region to region so always check-out the latest weather updates before you travel to Burundi.
Why Travel To Burundi
When we look at preservation and eco/nature sightseeing Burundi lays a peak and position of intense bio diversity that straddles the Great Lakes region from western Uganda to the northern tip of Lake Malawi. The same area, however, has the most concentrated zones of population in Africa as well as the constituency of greatest insecurity, human upheaval and political volatility. All of this presents a unique series of challenges and places this region among a handful of vital but precarious frontlines in the global conservation struggle.
Bujumbura city tours
Bujumbura is Burundi’s capital city and with Burundi city tours, find some time to visit the Snake and Culture museum, the Islam culture centre, the city hall and Lake Tanganyika. The explorer’s memorial is a huge rocky monument in the city suburb commemorating the arrival of John Speke and Hannington on their River Nile expeditions. There is a host of vibrant city markets, craft centre and beautiful tree lined streets in down town Bujumbura.
Visit the historical Gishora Drums sanctuary, with Drummers & Dancers, in action, and thereafter, transfer to Bujumbura city. There is so much to see in Bujumbura Burundi Holidays that a one day trip may not be enough!
Lake Tanganyika borders Burundi and Tanzania and makes one of the most beautiful Burundi tour destinations with vibrant fishing villages, beautiful sandy beaches and excellent birding destination for birding fanatics. Some of the sighted birds include herons, kingfisher, malachite eagles, bee eaters, fish eagles, cormorants and many others.
Rutovu is Burundi’s argued source of the Nile River that follows into Lake Victoria. The small forest meandering water stream has been documented to be the river Nile’s base by many researchers. Ruvubu forest in which the river is found boasts of unique plant species, rarely sighted animals and some endemic bird species.
Burundi National Parks
One of last unbroken strands of indigenous, montane forest that at one time cloaked the entire region runs through both Rwanda and Burundi, and is known respectively as the Nyungwe National Park and the Kibira National Park. While most of the larger animal species have been wiped out by a combination of war and poaching, the region is still home to a rare diversity of indigenous primates, a vast catalogue of plant species and one of the most energetic concentrations of bird life in Africa. Some of the remaining species include antelopes, hares, buffaloes, wild crocodiles and chimpanzees
Additional parks involve the wetland Risizi National Park and the Rurubu National Park.
Don’t look too hard for urban glamour and excitement for it does not really exist here. Chimpanzee trekking in Kigwena Nature reserve is a must while the hot springs of Mugara are fascinating.
In Burundi the complex is part of a community management program that in the by now established tradition of eco-tourism seeks to preserve the region as well as use it as a means to generate income for local communities.
Burundi hotels and accommodation
On arrival in Burundi for Burundi holidays, there are a number of good Burundi hotels, guesthouses, resorts and safari lodges with overnight and dinner.
Resha resort on Lake Tanganyika near Mukamba fishing village is a standard Burundi hotel with excellent facilities. Some of other options in Bujumbura include Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel for Bed & Breakfast basis.
Why Visit Burundi?
Explore the 4 sides of Burundi! Ascend atop our hills, stroll through the rain forests, explore the lakes and sunbathe on the beaches. This is the perfect destination to spend a memorable vacation! The temperatures vary from 28°C /82° F on the clear, sides of Lake Tanganyika in the low areas of Bujumbura, but only one hour from in the central plateau area, average temperatures 20°C/68° F. The highest mountain regions are cooler, with an average of 16°C/60°F.
The Burundian drummers referred to as Abatimbo within Kirundi play their sacred drums that are a fundamental element of the wealthy Burundian cultural traditions.
Additionally you can see their graceful female dancers. Enjoy the creativity of the craftsmen in ancient crafts for example painting, basketry, sculpture as well as pottery and carry on and tell a story on Burundian practices and culture which has been passed down for generations
Furthermore, you will take pleasure in the variety of our food, whose trademark meal has been the distinguished taste of mukeke, a special fish got only in Lake Tanganyika. Because Bujumbura is a city with multiple cultures that joins people from rural Burundi, and from nearby countries yet others from far away afield, this city prides itself in providing a cookery experience which is dependent on all these different peoples plus cultures. Actually, there is a lot to see, do as well as enjoy on your stay within Burundi!
Why take a safari in Burundi?
The numerous Game Parks plus Nature Reserves throughout Burundi protect a huge selection of animals. Ranging From the impressive ‘Big Five’ to reptiles, warthogs and antelopes. Burundi is habitat to a number of Africa’s wildlife species. The focus in Burundi is to offer visitors with a far more close wildlife experience in regions of natural beauty, as well as offer them some freedom to discover by their own terms. This isn’t a place for huge tourism plus convoys of cars or trucks however, walks to discover the bush and also track uncommon species such as black and white rhinos. Along with traditional Four wheel drive plus walking safaris, a number of Burundi’s reserves may as well be explored using mountain bike or on horseback. In many reserves tourists are allowed to move around alone, without a guide or even a ranger. There are also self catering choices among the accommodation which permit you to control your own ‘safari lodge’ in the wild. There are not several places on the planet where you can go for your own private bike ride and see zebras plus bushbucks on the way, or go on a walk to see giraffes before enjoying a private bush barbeque.
What to see on a safari in Burundi?
The Unique Landscapes including: Lake Tanganyika, Karera Water Falls, Germans’ faults, Unexplored Cave of Kayove, Muhweza Hot springs as well as Teza Thea Plantation
Parks and Protected Areas including: Kibira National Parc and Ruvubu National Parc
Cultural Tourism that includes: Gishora Sacred Drum, Rubumba Tourist and Cultural Village, Kiganda Treaty, The Intore Warrios, Kirundo and the Agasimbo Acrobatic Dancers, Makamba
Monuments plus Museums such as the Source of the Nile, Livingstone Rock, Vugizo Historical Monument, Gitega National Museum as well as the Bujumbura Live Museum
Leisure Activities including: Bird Watching around Lake Rwihinda and Water Sports on Lake Tanganyika
Which Safari Company or Tour Operator?
Good enough, the biggest percentage of the tour companies organize trips to the different tourist destinations in Burundi thus offering tourists an opportunity to visit the different tourist attractions across Burundi. But I greatly recommend that whichever tour company you decide to use, ensure that it is register with the recognized associations of tour operators within the country.
Where to Stay on a Burundi Safari?
You will find over one hundred hotels within Burundi, over a half is found in Bujumbura. There’s a wide selection of hotels, both international standard hotels and average sized hotels providing excellent services.
Additional accommodation structures with good terms for lengthy stays for example guest houses, furnished apartments and motels are available all over Burundi. The country has learned from its European colonial history gourmets’ savoir faire.
When to Go on a Safari in Burundi?
Burundi’s climate differs more based upon the region you visit in the country than on the specific season. During the entire hot plus humid lowlands, in Burundi’s southwestern area, average temperatures are 86 degrees Fahrenheit; within the hilly north, temperatures are reduced, hanging at approximately 68 degrees. It’s helpful to know that this country experiences 2 wet seasons; February to May as well as September to November.
A hot tropical climate is experienced close to Lake Tanganyika as well as within the Ruzizi River plain. Most commonly it is windy around the lake. The remainder of the country is moderate and pleasant. The country has 2 rainy seasons – the main one starting in February to May, and the other rainy season from September to November, plus 2 dry seasons: the lengthy one from June to August and then the shorter dry season starting in December to end of January.
Lightweight cottons plus linens along with waterproofs during the rainy months. Warm clothes are suitable for the evenings.
How much does a Burundi Safari cost?
A one day tour in Rusizi National Park including vehicle and driver, a guide, park entrance fees as well as meals goes for USD 285 for one person or if two people each pays USD 215.
Are the people of Burundi Friendly?
Yes the men and women of Burundi are really friendly and welcoming. The official languages of Burundi are Kirundi ( also referred to as Rundi) plus French; also Swahili is often spoken around Lake Tanganyika as well as in the Bujumbura region.
Local tradition plus neighboring countries impact on Burundi’s culture. Riots have impeded its cultural practices. Because of agriculture, the majority of meals doesn’t include meat but contain peas, corn plus sweet potatoes. To represent unity during gatherings, they usually drink a local beer referred to as impeker. Some of the well known people originating from Burundi are singer Jean Pierre Nimbona, referred to as Kidum, as well as a footballer Mohammed Tchite.
Crafts are an essential kind of art and are offered as gifts to many tourists. Artists in Burundi usually engage in basket weaving, although Masks, pottery, shields and statues are as well made.
Drumming too is a crucial cultural part. With Performances for more than 4 decades, the Royal Drummers in Burundi use the traditional ikiranya, amashako as well as ibishikiso drums. The Dance usually accompanies the drumming performances. Among the Burundian dances are the abatimbo plus the fast-pace dabanyagasimbo. Additional instruments used are the inanga, zither, inyagara, flute, umuduri, indonongo as well as the ikembe.
What is the Weather like in Burundi?
Generally speaking, Burundi features a tropical highland weather, with a substantial daily temperature variation in most areas. The temperatures additionally vary considerably from region to region, mainly because of variations in altitude. The central plateau has a pleasurably cool weather, and its average temperature is 20° C / 68° F. The region close to Lake Tanganyika is on the other hand warmer, with an average temperature of 23° C / 73° F; the high mountain regions are cooler, and with an average temperature .the average yearly temperature of Bujumbura is 23° C / 73° F. Rain is unusual, falling heaviest in the northwest. The Dry seasons differ in length, and at times they present as long cycles of drought. But, four seasons may be distinguished: the lengthy dry season (from June to August), the shorter wet season (from September to November), then the short dry season (from December to January), as well as the long wet season (starting in February to May). The majority of Burundi receives rainfall amounts between 130 and 160 cm / 51-63in a year. The Ruzizi Plain together with the northeastern region receives rainfall amounts between 75cm and 100cm / 30-40 in.