Burundi is a tiny country in the heart of the African continent, landlocked between Central and Eastern Africa. Located in the Great Lakes region, Burundi has the second largest and deepest lake in Africa. Lake Tanganyika marks the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo over a 160 kilometers distance. Its waters are particularly rich in fish. Water cobras, crocodiles and hippopotamuses like it too.
The country has a sandy coastline with beautiful beaches on the north side of Bujumbura, and rocky shores on its southern side. Burundi has eight other lakes of varying size located in the northern part of the country. We can mention Rwihanda Lake, also called Bird Lake for the richness of its ornithological fauna, Cohoha, Rweru, shared with Rwanda, and Kanzigiri. With a pastoral and agricultural landscape including many tea plantations in the east, Burundi has a vegetation of grassy savannahs and trees where eucalyptus, acacia and oil palms flourish. Forests once covered vast areas; almost decimated, they are today protected through national parks and natural reserves where live elephants, leopards, warthogs, antelopes, monkeys, and galagos. The Kibira National Park, which covers nearly 40,000 hectares to the northwest, is the largest natural region still undamaged in Burundi. Located on the Congo-Nile ridge, it has 180 km of dusty roads that can be easily traveled but only on foot. Rusizy Park is located near the Congolese border and the Burundian capital Bujumbura. Between palm groves and swamps, it is the hippopotamus landmark: nineteen species are listed there. In the south-east of the country, the Kaera and Nyakazu Falls, surrounded by mountains and forests, offer a grandiose spectacle, especially when rainbows appear. Burundi has about 9.8 million inhabitants of which 93 are pastoralists and farmers; 500,000 people live in Bujumbura, the capital. Founded by the Germans, Bujumbura lays between Lake Tanganyika and the Mumirwa Mountains. Bujumbura, or “Buja” as the Burundians call it, is a young and very active city. Former royal capital, Gitega is the second largest city in the country and especially the cradle of the famous “Sacred Drums of Burundi”. Although located in southern Equator, Burundi is not very hot. Because the country lies on a plateau, its equatorial climate is tempered by the altitude. The average annual temperature is 21.1 ° C. The dry season from May to August is the best time to stay in Burundi. The country is marked by tensions that have existed for decades between the Hutu and Tutsi communities, conflicts that have turned into bloodshed, particularly in the early 1990s when the civil war raging in neighboring Rwanda spread in the country. Since the mid-2000s, Burundi’s national reconciliation has been welcoming many refugees and asylum seekers living in camps.
Burundi is a country with an exceptional nature and an amazing culture whose famous sacred drums are the main emblem. Destination still unpopular, Burundi is a country that has a lot to offer: its legendary Tanganyika Lake, its beautiful bird lakes, its mountains and valleys, its wild savannah, its enigmatic forests and especially a fabulous welcome from these people.
Art and culture in Burundi
The reputation of Burundi’s drums has far exceeded the country’s borders. The famous Royal-Drum of Burundi has been performing for more than forty years and promotes Burundian cultural heritage in an international level the. The drummers form a group of twenty people who enter the stage with their instruments on their head. The drums are often accompanied by dances including abtimbo and abanyagasimbo.
What to visit in Burundi
A trip to Kibira National Park is a must. Considered one of the biggest natural, this park, where Mount Teza peaks, has beautiful trees and bamboos, which are the last survivors of the primary Burundian forest. Lake Tanganyika, rich and complex biodiversity is another must. In addition to discovering the sandy or rocky coast, you can practice all kinds of water activities, such as sailing, fishing or skiing … but beware of crocodiles and other hippos that are not uncommon to see on its banks.
Gastronomic specialties in Burundi
A typical Burundian meal consists of sweet potatoes, corn, peas, cassava and plantains. The meat is consumed quite rarely. Burundians eat beef and goat kebabs or sauce dishes (Michopo). In the rainy season, Burundians also feast on grilled insects. Common vegetables are: local eggplants, lenga-lenga (similar to spinach in appearance), sombe (prepared with finely chopped cassava leaves). Burundians drink impeke, a local beer. In an intimate circle of family, the beer is served in a single pot in which everyone soaks his straw.