Karibu Burundi (Welcome to Burundi)

  • Background information: by edgardowelelo@yahoo.com

From exotic birds to crafts, a tour of Burundi is a journey through the past, present and future.  The geographical position of Burundi in the heart of Africa and its wonderful landscapes are making the country a real paradise which is sometimes called “The SWITZERLAND IN AFRICA”.  The soft and temperature climate in Burundi as well as the variety of its geographical structure are making the country the best place for holidays and relaxation. But the relaxation would be more thrilling in Burundi, a country which is very well known for its legendary hospitality, if you can visit the whole of it. Then, you may discover that “Eden Garden”, like the explores of the last century in the very middle of the African continent. It is necessary to know the kind of harmonious patchwork which is made by the climate as it varies from one region to another. So, the area of the Peak Congo Nile, which is covered with the big Kibira forest has got a pleasant climate. A delicious tropical is found within the region of the central plateau and the thousands of hills surrounding it, as well as the depressions in the Eastern and North – Eastern part of Burundi.

  • The Capital Bujumbura

The foundation of Bujumbura is dated back in 1876. Initially, Bujumbura was only a port on the shore of the Lake Tanganyika. But it soon developed into an important business city which finally became the capital city of Burundi. All year long, the Lake Tanganyika remains attractive for all kind of fans: skiing, sailing, fishing and many other activities which usually imply strolls along the lake. And beside the private swimming pools in some hotels or at the “Entente Sprotive Restaurant” there are many beautiful places along the lake which are convenient for swimming, especially the public beach of KAJAGA, near the Hotel “Club du Lac Tanganyika”. But for the guests who are not fond of water, Bujumbura offers you golf, tennis, volley – ball, horse riding, bowling and even a flying – club. In addition to sports activities, Bujumbura may be considered as a palace for gastronomy lovers. In fact, because of the big number of restaurants (“Entente Sportive”, “Monastere”, “Cercle Hellenique”, “Cremaillere”), Bujumbura has become a restaurant’s paradise. They are struggling to improve by all means the quality of their food in order to satisfy their guests. Most of the hotels have world class restaurants. Bujumbura also has plenty to offer in entertainment. Tourists can dine beside Lake Tanganyika perhaps savoring a delicious local fish called the “Sangala”, and then spend the evening in a night club, relaxing in a friendly atmosphere. The Lake Tanganyika, which full of fish, is the deepest in the world just after Lake Baikal in the former USSR.


  • Lake Tanganyika Profile

Lake Tanganyika is believed to be the world’s longest body of inland freshwater lake; 670 km long and second – deepest: over 1400 m deep. It is one of the oldest lakes on the planet and thanks to its age and ecological isolation, is home to an exceptional variety of fish species. Most notable are its colorful Cichlids species, many of which believed to be not found anywhere else, and they make wonderful snorkeling activities in the Lake’s clear waters. Lake Tanganyika, an awesome piece of inland water that until decades ago has entirely been isolated for its 12-Million-year history, is fed by Lake Kivu to the north, the Ruzizi River and central Tanzania’s massive drainage areas all sending millions of metric tons of freshwater into this Rift Valley Lake. In short, Lake Tanganyika, its length is about 800 km, its width is about 50 km, its super ficies is about 32,000 square, and its altitude is about 771 m.

  • Beautiful Landscapes

From the top to the mountains which constitute the Peak Congo Nile, you have a beautiful view of the central plains and Gitega – which is the second town of Burundi. The city of Gitega is a peaceful place with peculiar beauty and exquisite charm. The route from Bujumbura to Gitega goes via Muramvya (50 km from Bujumbura) through wonderful green landscapes. Twelve Kilometers from Gitega is Giheta, an artistic center for different works in leather, ceramic, ivory, wood carvings. Visitors can carry some memorabilia from the town.

  • Fauna and Flora

The geographical structure of Burundi and the micro – climates within the country involve a diversity of vegetation. Thus, from the savanna to the steppers, through Ombrophilous mountains forest, Burundi is a delightful blooming country. The fauna is quite rich and comprises different type of animals including antelopes, hares, buffalos and Cynocephalus. There are also crocodiles and hippopotamus in Lake Tanganyika where they can sometimes be seen from the shore. Beauty, variety and scientific value of Lake Tanganyika, Ruvubu and Kibira have also continued to be of great interest to ecologists.


  • Tourist Trips

It is useful to know that Burundi has preciously protected all the historical traces of the explorers of the last century who stopped over its territory. So, the very spot where Livingstone shook hands with Stanley, can be still be identified because of the big stone which was previously put there by God as if He had foreseen it would be significant place in history. It is also true for the “German Falls”


(Bujumbura – Bugarama – Teza – Kayanza – Ngozi – Kirundo – Gitega – Bujumbura)

  • Attractive Locations

From Bujumbura to Bugarama, the road goes up a steep hillside before reaching the peak of Congo Nile. From there, you will have a very nice view of Bujumbura, with Lake Tanganyika reflecting the sky as a mirror. The plains of Imbo, which borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is available. So, after Bugarama, there are important tea plantations and the big factory of TEZA. Coffee is grown in Kayanza and Ngozi provinces. Kirundo is the next province after Ngozi. Kirundo is fantastic place because of lakes Cohoha, Rweru and Rwihinda, which is also known as the “Birds Lake”. The Lake is a habitat for different birds. The trip in the North leads also to Gitega, the second city in Burundi where drummers and dancers are good at entertaining visitors. Gitega is also a center for different important cultural and scientific institutes: The National Museum, and the school of Arts. On the way back to Bujumbura, there is a break at Muranvya which is the former residence for kings taught in the history of Burundi.


  • (Bujumbura – Livingstone and Stanley Place – Resha center – Bururi – Nile source – Thermal sources of Muhweza – Gihofi – Nyakazu – Gitega – Gihofi- Nyakazu – Gitega – Bujumbura)


  • Attractive locations

The Southern round trip goes from Bujumbura by the road leading to Rumonge. A few kilometers from Bujumbura, tourists will stop at the place where David Livingstone met with Stanley in 1871. This is not far from Bujumbura. At 60 kilometers further from Bujumbura, there is a lodging place which they call “Resha centre”, the former Mauss castle. The lodging is managed by the “Source du Nil Hotel” in Bujumbura. There is a good restaurant and it is a nice place for swimming, ski diving or camping.  The trip continues to Bururi province after crossing a big forest with monkeys. This is a good   opportunity to visit the southern Nile source at Rutovu where a symbolic pyramid was built by authorities. To visit this source, discovered in 1934 by the German explorer Burckhard waldecker, one first has to travel to the commune of Rutovu, perched at the summit of Mount Kikizi, (2,145 meters). Starting out as a tiny trickle of water, the stream will change its name successively to Kasenyi, Kasumo, Kigira, Ruvyironza, Ruvubu, Kagera, Lake Victoria (Nyanza), Victoria Nile, Lake Kyoga, and Lake Albert, before finally becoming the mighty Nile, travelling for 6,700 km and almost tickling the feet of Egypt’s famous pyramids on its way to meet the Mediterranean. A symbolic pyramid has been built at Rutovu. After Rutovu, a short visit is paid to Muhweza hot springs and the “German Falls”, in the Mosso area. The way back to Bujumbura stops at Gitega and Bugarama.



The principal sights are the National Museum and the craftwares village. The museum contains a rich collection of exhibits depicting the Burundi of yesterday and today; its customs and traditions. Located at the intersection of the Ngozi – Gitega and Muyinga – Gitega roads, the craftware villages attract many visitors who come to buy their wares. Also in Gitega is the Gitega Art School where ceramics, paintings and sculptures are produced. Not far away, at Giheta, similar items are produced by a team of artists. Drummery performances, unique of their kind, are also staged in Gitega.



200 Kilometers from Bujumbura, in the North – East of Burundi, is a region of extensive depressions dotted with many lakes and birdlife. It is an area of great scene beauty where the visitor can discover, by canoe, such lakes as Cohoha, the bird Lake, renowned for its ornithological reserve; and other lakes like Kacamirinda and Kanzigiri. There are also varied tourist attractions in North – East, among them the Intore dancers and other groups of performers.



  • Rusizi National Park
  • Forests of Congo – Nile Ridge (Kibira)
  • Forests of Kigwena – Rumonge
  • Ruvubu National Park
  • Forest of Nyakazu and Muishanga
  • Kibira National Park.



Located in the central Africa, Burundi is an ideal tourist destination for nature lovers. The rich flora and fauna of the country attract the tourist in no time. There are a number of natural reserves and parks in Burundi to protect the wildlife. Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve is one of those reserves. It is a major tourist attraction in Burundi.



Historically, Burundi had the same colonial master as Rwanda, with Germany as first colonizers and Belgium as the second, till independence on July 1, 1962. Geographically, Burundi is centrally located in the heart of Africa, and that is why is nicknamed the little gem in the African heart land. Burundi is bordered to the north by Rwanda, to the east and south by Tanzania and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Briefly, Burundi is a land locked country. The size of Burundi is 27,834 sq.km, and the capital city is Bujumbura. Other main cities in Burundi – including Gitega, the second city in Burundi, Ngozi and Kayanza provinces.



The foundation of Bujumbura is dated back in 1876. Initially, Bujumbura was only a port on the shore of the Lake Tanganyika. But it soon developed into an important business city which finally became the capital city of Burundi. Bujumbura was once a small village after it became a military post in German East Africa in 1889. The city’s name changed from “usumbura” to Bujumbura when Burundi became independent on July 1, 1962. The area of Bujumbura city is 87 Sq.km. Bujumbura is the biggest city and hub on Lake Tanganyika basin; the country’s provinces of Buganza, Bururi, Bujumbura and Makamba hug the north eastern shores of the Lake. Main languages including – Kiswahili, French, English and Kirundi. Country’s motto is (unity, work and progress).



Monuments & Museums      

  • Source of the Nile
  • Livingstone Rock
  • Vugizo Historical Monument
  • Gitega National Museum
  • Bujumbura live Museum


Cultural Tourism

  • Makamba
  • Agasimbo Acrobatic dancers
  • The Intore warriors, Kirundo
  • Gishora Sacred Drum
  • Rubumba Tourist and Cultural Village.


Parks & Game Reserves

  • Rumonge Natural Reserve
  • Bururi Natural Reserve.
  • Vyanda Natural Reserve
  • Kigwena Natural Reserve
  • Rusizi National Park
  • Ruvubu National Park
  • Kibira National Park


Geographical Features Attractions

  • Teza Tea Plantation
  • Muhweza Hotsprings
  • Un explored cave of Kayove
  • German Faults
  • Karera Waterfalls
  • Lake Tanganyika


What to do in Burundi

  • Visit Rusizi National park which is only 15 minutes from the center of Bujumbura.
  • Tours of birdwatching, Lake Rwihinda watersports, Lake Tanganyika.
  • Tours of exploring the Bujumbura’s museum, monuments and craft centers, then sample the exciting night life, with live entertainment in Lake side clubs, bars and restaurants which offer a wealth of international cuisine.
  • Tour of visiting Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.



Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve is occupied by Forest (27%), shrub land (45%) and west land (27%). This area is used for agricultural purpose and fisheries. The rest of the area is used for nature conservation and research. It is an ideal place for bird watching. Several birds like Zambezian Biome, Falco Naumanni, Ardeola Idea, Gallinago Media, Circus Macrourus, Guinea – Congo Forests Biome and Afrotropical Highlands Biome can be found here. Except than these birds you can find a number of other species such as white – collared Olive back, Northern Brown – throated weaver, Red – chested sunbird, Sharpe’s pied – babbler, Papyrus yellow warbler, white – winged scrub – warbler, Carruthers’s cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek, Red – faced Barbet and Ring – necked Francolin. Distance from Airport to Rwihinda Lake (Rwihinda Lake Natural Reserve is situated in the north of the country. The natural reserve is quite close to the town of Kirundo near the Rwandan border. Lake Rwihinda Nature Reserve was previously known as Lac aux Oiseaux which means Bird Lake. The Lake covers 425 ha area. However, the total protected area covers around 8,000 ha. The distance between Bujumbura and Kirundo is about 121.5 and the road distance can be around 140 km to 152 km town nearest about 5 km.

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