The country is divided into 16 provinces (Bubanza, Bujumbura, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitokeas "communes" in rural areas and "quartiers" in the capital, there are a total of 117 of such groupings. Beneath this, there are several lower levels of administrations, including the sector, the "colline", or hillside, and the smallest grouping, the "Nyumba Kumi" or "group of 10 houses."
- Bujumbura - the capital and largest city, situated on northeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika
- Bururi - southern city
- Cibitoke - northwestern city
- Gitega - the former colonial capital, second largest city, in the center of the country
- Muyinga - northeastern city
- Ngozi - northern city
- Kibira National Park - Situated at the top of the apex Zaire-Nile, with its 40,000 ha of preserved forest land, is the largest completely untouched natural area in Burundi. Its wild life constitutes a real shelter for chimpanzees, baboons, cercophitecus (a monkey), and black colobes scattering away to the approach of human beings and defying all laws of equilibrium and gravity. The park is crisscrossed by a network of 180 km of tracks and paths mainly used by guard car patrols and motorized tourists. The guards of the park will scout you in the wood undercover where you will be able to discover the fascinating attraction of the primeval forest and the charming songs of birds. Our mountain chains hide thermal springs, and the access to the park is made through the tea plantations of Teza and Rwegura which count among the best natural sceneries.
- Ruvubu National Park - The National Park of Ruvubu lies on both sides of the Ruvubu River and is limited by high rise mountains. It was freed from human inhabitants and returned to complete wild life. The track and length of the path network is approximately 100 km and includes many observation lookouts. You will be accommodated in a newly erected camp and you will be able to tell your friends when you are back home about tracking buffaloes along their trails where the joyful glee of the songs from all the African bird faunae you may think of it as springing at every winding.
- Rusizi Natural Reserve - The Natural Reserve of Rusizi will be your first visit in Burundi for the simple reason that it is very near the capital city of Bujumbura. The River Delta extends over 500 ha of vegetation made of Phragmites Mauritianus. It is a natural shelter for few families of antelopes and hippopotamuses that come here in quest of grazing land. At the end of the track if you are lucky enough you may meet with a few crocodiles fast asleep on the golden sand of the river banks. The Rusizi Palmgroves (situated on the Cibitoke road 10 km away from Bujumbura) is also an exceptional landscape that will no doubt make your mind drift away from your day to day preoccupations. It offers to the visitor a rich vegetation completely adapted environment gratified by only a few sparse rains, made of euphorbia, thorny bushes and tall palm trees of the “Hyphaena bengalensis var ventricosa” specie. Right in the deepest part of the reserve you will be able to admire the natural ponds left by the Rusizi meanders. This place is a paradise for birds which come there by the hundred and feed themselves by dive-fishing. If you are patient enough you will be able to see some hippopotamuses paddling in the shallow waters feeling at home as well as on the ground.
- Bururi Natural Reserve - The Natural reserve of Bururi is a 3300 ha expanse of altitude damp forest. The town of Bururi offers visitors this wonderful panorama. In this place there are about 117 different species of birds and 25 different species of mammals have been identified in a forestland surrounding of multifarious vegetation. On a walking circuit along the botanical lanes and trails of this forest the visitor will fully enjoy the wild coolness of our mountains densely covered with trees of many different species. This region is only 33 km distant from Roumonge. The road through it will drive you from the lakes along miles of hallucinating and breathtaking panoramas.
- Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve - The Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve is a real sanctuary for migratory aquatic birds which come to the site by the thousands to reproduce. All these now protected birds can nest more and more on these green swamps and islets of the lake. Crested cranes and herons live there a peaceful live. The visitor can drift along on barges to approach many species of birds without risk of frightening them.
- Nyakazu Break and the Karera Falls
The natural Forest Reserves of Roumonge, Kigwena and Mugara are in course of development to enable chimpanzees and cercopithecuses to find enough food to stay there and procreate. The thermal waterfalls situated in the Mugara reserve will enable you to lend yourselves to natural massage simply by taking showers under these waters raised from the earth’s bosom. The very near beaches of Tanganyika will welcome you for a well deserved swim and rest.
Burundi is not different from any other young nation and jealously keeps all the elements that constitute its very rich culture: dances, musical rhythms, handicrafts. Its aim is to ensure the transmission of the inheritance from the forefathers and ancestors evidenced by belongings and objects they liked, they dances they composed.
The earliest known people to live in Burundi were the Twa, a short "pygmy" people who remain as a minority group there. The people currently known as Hutu and Tutsi moved into the region several hundred years ago, and dominated it. Like much of Africa, Burundi then went through a period of European colonial rule, ending with its independence from Belgium in 1962. In the decades since then, it has been the scene of recurring brutal mutual bloodlettings between the Hutu and Tutsi populations (much like the better-known genocide in neighboring Rwanda), and a series of political assassinations. Peace and the (re)establishment of civil democracy took place in 2005 with a cease-fire and the election of former Hutu rebel Pierre Nkurunziza as president.
Bujumbura International Airport is served by the following passenger airlines: Kenya Airways (Nairobi); Rwandair Express (Kigali, Johannesburg); Ethiopian (Addis Ababa); Brussels Airlines (Brussels). Air Burundi has recently begun operating passenger services from Bujumbura to Kigali and from Kigali to Bujumbura almost monday through sunday.
busses are nice. Otraco is the main agency for bustravel from Bujumbura.
You can use the ferries to travel along Lake Tanganyika.
Bujumbura is located in the western part of the country. Moving towards the East travelers will be able to visit Gitega, it’s a large market held right in the center of the town, and its Museum of Traditions (ancient utensils, pictures, commented visit). Travelers will have to make advance bookings to be able to watch an extraordinary and fascinating show unique in the world: “The Drummers of Giheta” playing in their traditional environment. Then you will be making head away towards Rutana to see the admirable panorama of the Karea Falls and the Nykazu Break, called the “Break of the Germans”, which is an exceptional lookout that oversees the Kumoso plain. You will be ending your tour by the visit of Gihofi, a booming town with its new sugar refinery in the hart of the sugar cane plantations country.
Towards the Southeastern part of the country don’t miss by any means the visit of the Nile Sources near Rutovu. Don’t forget to take your swimming gear with you otherwise you may miss the benefit of the hot springs in charming and subtle surroundings. You will also be able to see on your way the last traditional enclosed villas (round habitations surrounded by wooden fences strip in turn surrounded by grazing meadows and ploughed fields).
Further south you will be able to cross a line of villages succeeding one after the other and wedged between the lake and abrupt mountains. Fortunately, you will be able to stop and have a rest, or go for nautical sports and have a meal in restaurants or simply stop for a drink, on nicely arranged fine sand beaches. Still further south lays the Nyanza Lake. Why not to take a boat and go to Tanzania on the other side of the lake and visit Gombe Natural Park?
Towards the north just before reaching Bugarama, there is an important market center for high quality fresh foodstuffs. You can walk across the primeval forest of Kibira the access of which is still very difficult but which is in a process of beaconing. Carry on towards Kayanza and Ngozi, two big agricultural production and trade villages. At Kirundo, near the border with Rwanda, you will discover the small lakes of the North, the peacefulness and serenity of their jagged borders. Take a boat and drift on the Rwihinda Lake to admire numerous birds’ species entirely free on the lake (crested cranes, wild ducks, fishing eagles, etc.).
On the road from Muyinga to Cankuzo, the visit of the Natural park of the Ruvuvu Rivers is a must now that is endowed with accommodation infrastructure; there you’ll be able to admire Burundi protected remnant buffaloes and dorcas (gazelles). The surrounding primeval forest will no doubt leave you with an unforgettable souvenir.
Landmarks and Monuments
In Bujumbura climb to the “Belvedere” on the top of the hill, a dominating point of the town. You’ll be able to visit the mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore, founder of the Uprona party and Hero of the independence of Burundi.
Ten kilometers south of Bujumbura at Mugere is the Livingstone-Stanley Monument, a stone marking a spot where the two famous explorers David Livingstone and H. M. Stanley spent two nights on 25-27 November 1871 as guests of Chief Mukamba during their joint exploration of the northern end of Lake Tanganyika, following their first meeting at Ujiji, Tanzania 15 days previously.
114 km away from Bujumbura, on the Bujumbura-Ijenda-Matana road lays Rutovu, a town where a pyramid was erected at the southern most source of the Nile, at an altitude of 2,000 m.
It is impossible to make a list of all the places worth making a stop, as Burundi is a real Garden of Eden defying weather and exercising on people an irresistible attraction. When arriving in Bujumbura, for all your circuits, itineraries and tours go to the National Office of Tourism where a great choice can be made available to you. You will be able to see everything: the Nyakazu Break to the east, the Karera Falls, the Tanganyika Lake panoramas at Vyanda and Kabonambo, the tea plantations of Teza or Rwegura. The reservoir built at this place is surrounded by beautiful sceneries. In a nutshell, a synthesis of curiosities worth devoting part of your holidays allowance.
The visitor cannot leave, for sure, the richly traditional country without visiting the two museums in Bujumbura and Gitega.
The second largest town in the country, Gitega, has the National Museum founded in 1955 where there is an exhibition of a magnificent ethnographic collection of objects owned by the Crown and that could be seen at the Court in the first part of the 20th century, together with an archaeological collection and historical photographs.
You will enjoy the old photographs of our kings, princes and queens of the 19th century, surrounded by lot of objects owned by men and women of those days; jewelry, baskets from all regions, earthenware for many uses, calabashes to keep water or for churning, war and hunting spears, ploughing instruments, ironworking and sculpting instruments.
In Bujumbura, the Musée Vivant near the lake presents a great part of the treasures in a wider place surrounded by magnificent gardens. Old and modern crafts are presented in beautiful small cabins. However the masterpiece of this museum is the reconstruction in real dimensions of a royal habitation. The entire surrounding courtyard can be visited and the main hut topped by an interlaced dome covered by a think thatched roof.
The Musée Vivant also keeps up a bird house where few local species can be seen and a Herpetologic Center where there are displays of snakes and many species of reptiles. This living museum was regarded as one of the most renowned centers in Africa since its collection was opened to the public in 1988.
Although most travelers will find that they can get around passingly well with a working knowledge of French (and increasingly, English), some familiarity with Swahili, or the related local language, Kirundi, is helpful particularly in rural areas. The problem may be that Kirundi is extremely difficult to learn. Kirundi and Kinyarwanda (the official language in Rwanda) are slightly the same.
Burundi is endowed with very flourishing craftsmanship, with unique delicate and attractive shapes.
Burundi has developed plastic arts only very recently. The visitor will be able to find Gitega and Bujumbura talented artist able to carve sceneries on wooden boards and paint landscapes with beautifully shaded bluish backgrounds.
For the international traveler, Burundi offers some culinary surprises -- fresh fish from Lake Tanganyika and produce from the nation's rich volcanic soil are particularly notable. There is a sizable South Asian community, offering curried dishes alongside the more traditional rice and beans, and french-inspired European offerings. For lighter meals, samosas and skewered meats are common, and bananas and fresh fruit are often served as a sweet snack.
As in Rwanda, big Primus bottles are available for between $1-$2 as well as Mutzig which is good but a
Although accommodations in rural areas can be spartan, Bujumbura hosts a number of international-grade hotels, catering to a mainly a U.N. and international clientele. The only international-brand hotel to be found is a Novotel, which will set you back about $120 a night. Other notable hotels include the Source du Nil ($120/night), the Hotel Botanika ($85/night), the Clos de Limbas ($70/night) and the new, anglophone Sun Safari.
Although some semblance of normalcy has returned to much of the country with the conclusion of the nation's democratic transition and a democratically chosen head of state in August, 2005, travelers should be warned that there is still significant insecurity throughout the country and exercise extreme caution. Besides the still-active rebel group, the Forces Nationales de la Liberation (FNL), who continue to attack government forces and civilians, threats posed by banditry and armed robbery, as well as petty crimes remain. Visitors should exercise caution, avoid traveling after dark, and be aware of curfew laws. Many roads close at night, and most embassies put out curfews on their staff. As any conflict or post-conflict situation, visitors should consult their embassy to be apprised of the latest local developments, and be sensitive to the changing security environment.
Be careful of kiosk foods and avoid unboiled water. Also ensure you have been vaccinated.
As in many other African countries, HIV infection is widespread. One source  suggests 18.6% in the cities and 7.5% in the countryside as of 2002.
The respect for the Burundian Elders is very, very great. The younger peoples of the many villages and kinships show respect to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even to unknown peoples. The Burundians also show respect to younger and of equal ages.
This page was last edited at 04:58, on 23 March 2009 by Peter Fitzgerald. Based on work by Eric Polk and Todd VerBeek, Wikitravel user(s) Valtteri and Episteme, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.