Tourism in Burundi
Tourism in Burundi is an industry that is steadily picking up to compete with the other neighbours in both East and Central Africa. Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. Burundi is bordered by Rwanda in the north, Tanzania in the south and east, Lake Tanganyika to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west. Bujumbura is the country’s former capital city, and the largest city with a number of attractions that tourists can visit. Gitega is the current capital city of Burundi.
Tourism in Burundi is underdeveloped, though slowly picking, with poor infrastructure in terms of roads though it is the case with a number of African countries. Burundi is however endowed with vast natural resources and wildlife that tourists can visit and come close to nature with. Ecotourism is the most opted for area of visit, visiting parks like Kibira National Park, Rurubu River and Lake Tanganyika, which inhabit wildlife and reward tourists with great views.
Attractions in Burundi
Much as tourism in Burundi is not so well developed and untapped, there are some really great attractions that tourists can visit. Below are some of them;
Saga Beach: Saga beach is part of the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Though without white sand and not at the sea shore, the beach is a great place for a walk and a dip in the fresh water body. It is also easily accessible from Bujumbura.
Institut Francais Burundi: Institute Francais Burundi is a French cultural institute in Burundi that hosts diverse and exciting cultural events that range from art-house films to food and exhibitions. Visiting here is a great way to network and meet new people with different cultures and lifestyle.
Chutes de la Karera: Chutes de la Karera are basically four very beautiful falls that can be enjoyed on a hike. Travellers have an opportunity to take a shower to cool off in the smallest of the waterfalls. The sight of the waterfalls, plant and animal life including birds and butterflies are very rewarding.
Rusizi River National Park: Rusizi River National Park is located just outside of Bujumbura, and is surrounded by plains which periodically flood thus bringing animals to the area for a drink. Among the animals that can be seen here include large serried ranges of hippos that have tourists visiting the place over and over. The park is also a birder’s haven with migratory birds say sand pipers, plovers, which come from as far as Asia and Europe.
Kibira National Park: Kibira National Park has an altitude that ranges from 1,500-2,600 meters above sea level, and inhabits mainly primeval rainforest that was in the past a hunting area for the then kings. Kibira National Park has rivers and streams that flow through rewarding travellers with a remarkable sight, as well as primates and other animals that include among others baboons, chimpanzees; and over 200 bird species.
Ruvubu National Park: Ruvubu National Park is Burundi’s largest park covering over 500 square kilometres of space. Gazetted as a national park in 1980, the park inhabits majestic wildlife like buffaloes, kobs, hippos, among others. Ruvubu National Park is home to rare plants and flowers with a variety of birdlife including migratory birds that roam the region all year long.
Lake Rwihinda Natural Reserve: Lake Rwihinda Natural Reserve has a variety of flora and fauna and is a great place to escape to nature in the country. The reserve is made up of shrub land, forest and grassland perfect for a nature walk, camping and picnicking. At the lake, birders are rewarded with various bird species while canoeing.
Kigwena Natural Forest: This forest is a densely populated one that is worth a visit just to explore it and busk in its wildness. Travellers who get to visit Kigwena Natural Forest are sure to spot among others baboons, various monkey species, bird species and chase after butterflies. The forest is conveniently located on national route 3 in Rumonge community.
Bururi Nature Reserve: Bururi Nature Reserve is a habitat to over 100 bird species as well as a number of animals. The reserve provides nature walks through trails and circuits that fit all travellers’ levels of fitness. Visiting the reserve gives travellers an opportunity to explore the place, as well as relax due to its calming nature.
Mount Heha: Mount Heha is located just in the outskirts of Bujumbura and with a height of 2,864m, it gives travellers an opportunity to challenge themselves with a mountain climbing adventure. The views during the hike are rewarding enough. Mount Heha is the highest in Burundi, and makes part of the Burundi highland mountain range.
Source of the Nile: It is highly debated if really this is the source of the Nile River that goes as far as Egypt and pours in the Mediterranean Sea. Irrespective though, the place is worth a visit. A spring about 100km from the capital is most likely to be southernmost source of River Nile, and can be spotted due to the Pyramid that was constructed there.
National Museum of Gitega: The National Museum of Gitega is one located in the now capital city of Burundi, which was also the capital city during the colonial times. The museum has a collection of artefacts and antiques from Burundi’s history. Visiting the museum gives travellers an opportunity to learn of the country’s history.
Tourism in Burundi, though not well developed as compared to the other countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and the Congo, still provides travellers with a rear experience of untapped nature and view Africa as is, without much modernisation. There are Burundi safaris that can be arranged for travellers after exploring some of the country’s wild and nature. Burundi could also be a sight point for your gorilla trekking in Rwanda safari or any other tourist activities in the region say extensive game viewing, wild beast migration, and boat safaris, among so many others. Get in touch with a tour operator of your choice to help you plan the best safari to Burundi and neighbouring countries.