Passport and Visa
Your passport must be valid for at least six months, and with at least one blank page, Then for the visa application you will fill the application, with a passport photograph, a travel itinerary and the required fees are the basic requirements; some applications will require additional forms.A visa will be issued on arrival if there is no Burundidiplomatic representation in the traveller’s country of origin. Diplomatic representation is currently available in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and the USA. Tourist or business visas, valid for up to 30 days, incur a fee of EUR50. Return or onward tickets, all documents required for next destination and sufficient proof of funds are recommended.
Bujumbura International Airport has international flights from Brussels (SN Brussels Airlines), Nairobi (Kenya Airways & Fly 540), Kigali and Johansburg (Rwandair Express) Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines).
If you need medical care whilst in Burundi, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company. In these conditions you will have to pay in full after your treatment and file an assert with your cover company for repayment. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country’s local embassy or representative. To be compensated you must be treated by licensed medical personnel and provide your cover company with proper documentation and receipts.It is sensible to always ensure you have a full travel cover strategy which covers you for repatriation to your home country.
Burundi is a land-locked country in the heart of Africa, a little south of the equator, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, by the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west and by Tanzania to the south and east. The interior is a broken plateau sloping east to Tanzania and the valley of the River Malagarasi. The southern tributary of the Nile system rises in the south of the country. The landscape is characterized by hills and valleys covered with eucalyptus trees, banana groves, cultivated fields and pasture. In the east, the fertile area gives way to savannah grassland, and tea and coffee are now grown on mountainsides.
Subsistence agriculture employs 90% of the workforce and accounts for approximately half of the total economic output. Cassava and sweet potatoes are the main subsistence crops, while coffee (the country’s leading export), tea and cotton are the main cash crops. Hides and skins also produce valuable income. The country’s small mining industry produces gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum. Deposits of vanadium, uranium and nickel (perhaps 5% of known global reserves) have also been located and are due to be exploited in the near future. Oil deposits are believed to be present, although the quantities are unknown. Manufacturing is confined to small textile concerns.
Burundi Franc (BIF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of BIF5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of BIF10, 5 and 1.Currency Exchange. All exchange transactions must be conducted through one of the main banks in Bujumbura or Gitega. Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs Major credit cards are not generally accepted; there is limited use in some major hotels. Traveller’s ChequesTo avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars or Euros. Commission rates are usually high.
The official languages are French and Kirundi, a Bantu language. Swahili and English are also spoken.
1 Jan New Year’s Day.
5 Feb Unity Day.
1 May Labor Day.
13 May Ascension.
1 Jul Independence Day.
15 Aug Assumption.
13 Oct Anniversary of Rwagasore’s Assassination.
21 Oct Anniversary of President Ndadaye’s Assassination.
1 Nov All Saints’ Day.
25 Dec Christmas Day.
When to Visit
Burundi is a tropical climate hot and humid. Temperatures are, in any time between 20 ° C and 30 ° C. The nights are cooler in some areas as Gwegara or Nujumbura. Periods of rain are from September to November and February to May. Periods of heat, however, between June and August and from December to January. June is ideal to visit Burundi.
What To Wear and what To Bring
Dress codes are relaxed. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, you can bring: Lots of light clothing, supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings. Binoculars will really enhance game drives and forest walks, as will a good field guide to East African birds. Bring a camera and an adequate stock of film. Print film is available but transparency film is not. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities
Country code is 257.Public Pay phones are available in major towns/ cities, with mobile phone coverage countrywide. Internet cafes operate in most urban areas. Emails can be sent from most hotels, as can faxes and telexes.
Most major roads in Burundi are sealed and public transport is mainly by minibus. Destinations are displayed in the front window and they depart when full. They depart throughout the day from the gareroutière(bus station) in any town.Buses are the connection to the main cities of Bujumbura, Bururi, Cibitoke, Gitega, Muyinga, Ngozi and to Rwanda. Minibuses and taxis operate with the cities/towns. You can also take ferries on Lake Tanganyika.
Follow standard tipping rules for 10% of the bill for good service.
Safety and Health
You are advised to carry sunscreen and/or insect repellant as well as some anti-
malarial medication as a precaution. Good medical facilities are available in the country. However, it is recommended that you take out medical insurance before arrival. You are advised to visit your GP for a check-up at least a month before travelling. Prophylactics against malaria are strongly advised as is mosquito repellent. Drink only bottled or boiled water.If you must travel, expect curfews, avoid any demonstration, and communicate quickly and clearly if approached by police or local authorities. Keep currency on hand to a minimum and avoid walking around at night.
Seasons and Climate
A hot equatorial climate is found near Lake Tanganyika and in the Ruzizi River plain. It is often windy on the lake. The rest of the country is mild and pleasant. Burundi has two rainy seasons – the major one from February to May, with a minor rainy season between September and November, and two dry seasons: the long dry season from June to August and the shorter dry season between December and January.
The best place to practice Bird Watching in Burundi is about 200 kilometers from Bujumbura, in the North-East area of Burundi. This territory presents a wide depression, where lakes have formed in the years: travellers can discover this wonderful area with their canoes, exploring Cohoha, Kacamirinda and Kanzigiri lakes.