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Burundi

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© Lonely Planet Publications
603

Beautiful Burundi has been blighted by a generation of ethnic conflict, but with the advent
of peace, this charming country may at long last be able to put its dark past to rest. A tiny
little nation of soaring mountains and languid lakeside communities, Burundi is sandwiched
between the African giants of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Tanzania.
The scenery is stunning and the welcome warm and it may once again begin to receive a
trickle of travellers as the word gets out that the war is over.
The steamy capital Bujumbura has a lovely location on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and
just outside the city are some of the finest inland beaches on the continent. Burundians
have an irrepressible joie de vivre and this has carried them through the crises of the last
decade. They know how to party like there is no tomorrow and a weekend in Bujumbura
is a lesson on life in the fast lane.
The tourist industry died a quick death with the outbreak of civil war in 1993 and many
of the upcountry attractions have been off limits for more than a decade. Choose from the
southernmost source of the Nile, the ancient forest of Parc National de la Kibira or the spot
where Stanley was reputed to have uttered those timeless words ‘Dr Livingstone I presume?’
Yes, you’ve guessed it, there’s not a lot to see, but the stunning scenery and warmth of the
Burundians more than compensates.
Intertribal tensions have devastated the country since independence in 1962 and there
is always a chance things could kick off again. It is a young peace, so make sure you check
before embarking on an adventure in Burundi.

FAST FACTS
Area 27,835 sq km
Capital Bujumbura
Country code 257
Famous for Les Tambourinaires
Languages Kirundi, French and Swahili
Money Burundi franc (BFr); US$1 = BFr924;
€1 = BFr1118
Population 7.3 million

BURUNDI

Burundi

604 B U R U N D I • • H i g h l i g h t s



Bujumbura (p607) Dine out in style before
dancing the night away in this city where
people love to live it up.
Saga Beach (p612) Hit the best inland
beaches in Africa for some fun in the sun.
Source Du Nil (p612) Journey to Burundi’s
very own pyramid, marking the southernmost source of the Nile at Kasumo.
Being in Burundi (p607) Enjoy the novelty
of being pretty much the only tourist in
the country.

CLIMATE & WHEN TO GO

For information on Burundian and East
African history prior to independence, see
p28.

Independence Days
Burundi, like Rwan...
BURUNDI
603
Beautiful Burundi has been blighted by a generation of ethnic conflict, but with the advent
of peace, this charming country may at long last be able to put its dark past to rest. A tiny
little nation of soaring mountains and languid lakeside communities, Burundi is sandwiched
between the African giants of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Tanzania.
The scenery is stunning and the welcome warm and it may once again begin to receive a
trickle of travellers as the word gets out that the war is over.
The steamy capital Bujumbura has a lovely location on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and
just outside the city are some of the finest inland beaches on the continent. Burundians
have an irrepressible joie de vivre and this has carried them through the crises of the last
decade. They know how to party like there is no tomorrow and a weekend in Bujumbura
is a lesson on life in the fast lane.
The tourist industry died a quick death with the outbreak of civil war in 1993 and many
of the upcountry attractions have been off limits for more than a decade. Choose from the
southernmost source of the Nile, the ancient forest of Parc National de la Kibira or the spot
where Stanley was reputed to have uttered those timeless words ‘Dr Livingstone I presume?’
Yes, you’ve guessed it, there’s not a lot to see, but the stunning scenery and warmth of the
Burundians more than compensates.
Intertribal tensions have devastated the country since independence in 1962 and there
is always a chance things could kick off again. It is a young peace, so make sure you check
before embarking on an adventure in Burundi.
Burundi
FAST FACTS
Area 27,835 sq km
Capital Bujumbura
Country code 257
Famous for Les Tambourinaires
Languages Kirundi, French and Swahili
Money Burundi franc (BFr); US$1 = BFr924;
€1 = BFr1118
Population 7.3 million
© Lonely Planet Publications
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