Burundi is one of the 54 countries making up the African continent. Its heart-shaped form and its location in the central part of the continent are the reasons Burundi is called the Heart of Africa. Burundi is bordered by Tanzania in the East, Rwanda in the North and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West.
Burundi recovered its independence in 1962 after 46 years of a Belgian trusteeship and colonial rule which destroyed the ancient power structure and the social fabric through the crystallization of ethic cleavages between the three social categories: the Bahutu, the Batutsi and the Batwa. The Prince Louis Rwagasore was a key player in the fight for freedom against colonialism. Because of the existing cleavages, the first President democratically elected – Melchior Ndadaye- was assassinated just after 100 days in office in October 1993. In 2000 a peace agreement was signed between Burundi political forces, leading to establishing a power sharing system of government in which all ethnicities are represented. The power sharing engineering has led to a more stable socio-political environment.
Despite being a landlocked country, Burundi is well connected to the ocean via the ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the port of Mombasa in Kenya. Transport is possible with regular air connections to regional hubs (Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kigali and Entebbe) and via roads.
As a member of the East African Community (EAC), Burundi enjoys the same advantages offered to community members. Burundi provides visa free travel facilities for citizens of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan. The visa free regime applies to members of the Economic Community for Central Africa such as DRC, Congo-Brazza, Central African Republic, Tchad.
Burundi has an equatorial climate with high plateau causing a variation of temperature from Lake Tanganyika in the Imbo valley to the High mountain of Mu Mirwa.
Average annual temperature varies with altitude from 23 to 17 Degrees Celsius. In Bujumbura, the economic capital and the biggest city, the temperature can reach 33 Degrees Celsius in summer season. In Rwegura, one of the highest and coldest places, the temperature can go as low as 12 degrees.
To enter Burundi territory a tourist visa is generally required. The visa can be obtained from the different embassies of Burundi in Europe, United States, China, India and across the African continent.
To obtain a visa one needs to fill in a form, bring an invitation letter, an airticket booking and a proof of address in Burundi. In some cases, a visa can be obtained upon arrival at the airport. For this a special request is needed.
For visitors coming from the East African Community; members of the CEPGL and CEEAC there is a visa-free entrance into Burundi.
Currently Burundi has one international airport – The Melchior Ndadaye International Airport (BJM) in Bujumbura. The airport is linked to regional transport hubs in Nairobi, Addis-Ababa, Dar-es-Salaam, Entebbe and Kigali via international regular flights.
Airlines flying to Burundi include Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and its subsidiary Jambojet, Rwandair, Uganda Airlines, Air Tanzania and Brussels airlines. The regional hubs offer the necessary connections to destinations across the African continent, in Europe, in the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and the rest of the world.
Beside air transportation, Burundi is accessible by ground. There are road connections to Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda through regular cross border bus services. In some places between Burundi and its East African Community (EAC) neighbors, there is a “One Border Stop” which reduces the hassle for immigration procedures.
Ethiopian Airlines – Daily flights from Addis-Ababa
Kenya Airways – Daily Flights from Nairobi
Rwandair – Daily flights from Kigali
Uganda Airlines – 6 times weekly
Air Tanzania – 3 times weekly
Brussels Airlines – 1 time per week
The Burundian Franc (BIF) is the official currency used all over the country. In the tourism industry, the US Dollar is largely accepted especially in hotels in Bujumbura, the main city. Credit cards are also accepted in some places in Bujumbura and where ATMs are installed. However, it is recommended to make exchange into the local currency before starting transactions.
Credit / Debit Card: American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted mainly in hotels. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services, which may be available. Please note, service stations do not accept credit for petrol. Plan accordingly.
Banking Hours: Mon-Fri 07:30-17:30, Sat 09:00-11:00.
Burundi offers very affordable accommodation facilities across the country. The high-end hotels are concentrated in Bujumbura, the principal city. There is a variety of accommodation types: Hotels, lodges, apartments and cottages. The backpackers are not common but there are possibilities to adapt to the local reality.
If you need any help with hotel booking, please let us know. We are here for you. Use our telephone or E-mail for hotel booking arrangements.