Burundi is a small country located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It lies between Tanzania in the east and south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, and Rwanda in the north. While the country does not have the best tourism infrastructures, in 2010, the Burundi government planned a 20-year infrastructure development plan in partnership with the African Development Bank to improve tourism infrastructure in the country. In 2017, the country hosted184,000 tourists. In this post, we’ll tell you the top 10 reasons to visit Burundi.
1- The Nile’s southern source
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about the Nile is that it is the longest river in the world. The southern source of the Nile River is located in Rutovu district, in southern Burundi and around 120km (74.5 miles) from Bujumbura. At the source of the river, there is a building reminiscent of the Egyptian pyramids. From here, you can see the panoramic view of the river. But please do not write your name on the pyramid-like most other tourists do!
2- Livingstone – Stanley Monument
Livingstone – Stanley Monument, 10 kilometres south of Bujumbura, the capital and largest city of the country, is a monument dedicated to the missionary and traveller Devid Livingston and to the explorer and journalist Henry Morton Stanley. These two travellers are said to be staying at this spot when visiting this region. This monument has been memorialized in honour of them since they were the first Europeans who came to Africa.
3- Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika is one of the main reasons to visit Burundi. The lake is the world’s longest (673 km) and second-oldest freshwater reserve (after the Baikal lake in Russia). There are more than 350 species of fish in the lake, and about 95% of them are endemic. This lake has many beaches on its shores stretching from the capital city Bujumbura all the way to Nyanza Lac in southern Burundi, closer to Tanzania. Lake Tanganyika beaches such as La Costa Beach, Yucca Beach and the like are the most visited places. You can also see hippopotamuses come out of the water and rest on the beaches with people.
4- Burundian Cuisine
Due to a lack of technological development in the agricultural sector, you can find lots of organic fruits and vegetables here. Lunch with Lake Tanganyika fish and vegetables and fruits grown in volcanic soils will give you unforgettable tastes. Tanganyika lake hosts Sangala (known as captain), Mukeke and Ndagala that are not available in any other place in the world except in Burundi. Shish kebab and grilled banana are national dishes of Burundi.
5- Burundian People
The people of Burundi are recognized for their friendliness. In Kirundi, visitors are respected and protected as “Umushitsi.” Rather than expecting the foreigner to try to communicate in the local language, it is normal for a local to try to communicate in the visitor’s language and give assistance. Hospitality was one of the building stones of Burundian society even before the colonization by Germany and Belgium.
6- Gishora Drum Sanctuary
The Gishora Drum Sanctuary is one of Gitega’s most popular attractions. It is the most effective way to learn about Burundi’s culture and history from the ground up. This heritage was added to the UNESCO list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. In this landlocked east African country, drums are played to honour life. Drummers wear the Burundian flag colours of white, red, and green, and their performances may be seen throughout the country, particularly in Bujumbura. Visitors are welcome to observe them during rehearsals or official occasions. You can also go to the Gishora Drum Site in Gitega Province (Central Burundi), which is a traditional drumming site with old and modern drums stored in traditional houses.
7- Mount Heha
Heha Mountain, located in the state of Bujumbura Rural of Burundi, is the highest mountain in the country with an altitude of 2700 meters. Mount Heha is one of the main reasons to visit Burundi. When you reach the highest peak of the mountain, you can see a beautiful view of Lake Tanganyika in the open air. It is a very convenient place for travellers who love to go hiking and climbing.
8- Rusizi National Park
The Rusizi National Park, one of Burundi’s most popular tourist locations, is located in Bujumbura, the country’s capital and largest city. Many animal species such as crocodiles, waterfalls, and flamingos can be seen in the park as you travel down the Rusizi River. You can also get a greater sense of the area by taking a river cruise.
9- Ruvubu National Park
Ruvubu National Park, located on the Burundi border, is the country’s largest national park, covering 508 km2. It has a lot of pristine nature and a lot of different creatures that he takes care of. Hippopotamuses come in a variety of forms, including hippopotamus, monkey, antelope, buffalo, leopard, and lion. There are also around 400 different bird species.
Located on the northeast corner of Tanganyika Lake, Bujumbura is Burundi’s largest city and principal port. It transports coffee, cotton, and tin ore, as well as the majority of the country’s main export. Bujumbura is the country’s former capital. Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza declared in late December 2018 that he will carry out a commitment made in 2007 to restore Gitega to its old political capital status, with Bujumbura retaining the economic capital and centre of business. Visiting Bujumbura is definitely one of the main reasons to visit Burundi.