Burundi is a small landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of Southeast Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It has a land area of 27,834 square kilometres, with an estimated population of almost 8.7 million. The country is also sometimes considered part of Central Africa. Its capital is Bujumbura. Like most young nations with ancient traditions, Burundi has a very rich culture reflected by its art, dance, music, and handicrafts. Among its natural resources include cobalt and copper, as well as coffee, sugar, and tea.
What to see & do
Check out Saga Beach, one of the beaches in Lake Tanganyika, considered as some of the best urban beaches of any landlocked country in all of Africa. Enjoy swimming in safe and warm waters with your friends or family. There’s also Plage des Cocotiers (Coconut Beach), a stretch of beach that lies approximately five kilometres northwest of Bujumbura, and is known to be the most beautiful. It is more commonly known today as “Saga Plage”, in honour of what was once the most popular restaurant and bar in this area. Take part in any of the exciting cultural events held in Institut Français Burundi, from art-house films to exhibitions and food-related events. Chutes de la Karera, the collective name for the four lovely waterfalls located near Rutana, is comprised of the Nyakai I, Nyakai II, Nyakai III, and Nyakai IV. It is located 64 kilometres south of Gitega, which can be reached via a chartered vehicle in Bujumbura. The watercourse is joined by that of Mwaro Falls. Other places worth checking out include of course, the capital, Bujumbura. Visit Gitega, a large market in the town centre, which is home to a Museum of Traditions (ancient utensils, pictures, commentary). Check out Nile Sources near Rutovu, located at the south-eastern part of the country. Besides the beautiful surroundings and hot springs, you can also see the last traditional enclosed villas – round habitations that are surrounded by wooden fences, which in turn, surrounded by grazing meadows and ploughed fields.
How to get around within Burundi
Most major roads in Burundi are sealed and public transport is primarily by minibuses, which operate throughout the day from the gare routière (bus station) in any town. Currently, there are no railways in the country. The roads in Burundi total to 12,322 kilometres, but only approximately 7% remain open in all weather, with the rest classed as local roads or tracks. For water transport (Lake Tanganyika), the major port used is in Bujumbura. Most freight is transported down waterways. For air transit, there’s one international airport and seven other smaller airports in the country.
How to get there
If you’re flying in to Burundi, you’ll go through Bujumbura International Airport, located in the nation’s capital, Bujumbura. At present, it is served by six airlines that operate regular scheduled services: Air Uganda (Entebbe), Brussels Airlines (Brussels, Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta), Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian Airlines), flydubai (Dubai-International, Entebbe), Kenya Airways (Kigali, Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta), and RwandAir (Kigali). Other ways of getting in include by bus, which is available mainly from Bujumbura, around the central market. International buses are to and from Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda via companies like Amahoro, Belveder, Otraco, and Yahoo; or by ferries, which ply along Tanganyika. Although note that they do not operate regularly.