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Burundi - village hut

“It seems strange to the locals if a white person doesn’t ‘act like a rich person’ – that is, if they walk the dusty roads, and forego chauffeur-driven cars for the reality of the streets. White people are referred to a ‘mzungo’ here, and everyone looks on them as a rare spectacle. The children all stared at us, but didn’t always dare approach us, as the expression in our eyes struck them as too mysterious. Still, small kids were often happy to strike poses for us when we took photos.

It was a real experience to see one of the sources of the Nile. There are, in fact, many hundreds of sources of the Nile, but the one is Burundi is the most southerly. Of course, it wasn’t so spectacular to look at, but the feeling was still special. Nearby was a hot spring, where it was great to enjoy a natural ‘jacuzzi’.

Near the Karera Falls our tour group obtained an escort of armed guards, as there had been some kind of ‘trouble’ (robbery) affecting another group of tourists, and they decided it was sensible to supply us with guards.

We visited a coffee-washing plant (mahenda), which was a particularly interesting experience.

We also visited a so-called ‘pygmy village’. It turned out that the inhabitants were not true pygmies, but they were shorter than the Burundian average.

I can’t really praise the quality of the country’s roads, unfortunately – the ones we travelled were full of ruts and potholes, which made our travel experience rather uncomfortable. As recompense, however, the mountain landscape was gorgeous and serene.

Anyone who thinks Burundi doesn’t offer much from a tourism perspective is sorely mistaken. True, the tourist infrastructure is still rudimentary, but the potential is unquestionable.” (V.E. 2015)

Practicals

Transport

 Only 11% of Burundian roads are asphalted. Luckily, all the main roads are of good quality. Mostly Chinese companies are working on the road infrastructure. 

Fun

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Background

Burundi - national flag

Destination in brief

Burundi is in Central Africa. Its neighbors are: Democratic Republic of Congo (west), Rwanda (north), Tanzania (east and south).

Size: 27 834 km² (10 747 mi²)

Capital city: Bujumbura

Population (in 2020): 11.9 million - 85% Hutu, 14% Tutsi   

Languages: Official languages are Rundi ( or Kirundi), and French. Rundi is a local, Bantu language spoken by both major ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi. Rundi is the standard medium of communication throughout the country, and such linguistic homogeneity is rare in sub-Saharan Africa. Swahili is a language of commerce, spoken in Bujumbura as much as the French. ,

Religions: 91% Christians

Form of government: democratic repulblic, multi-party system

Currency: Burundi franc (BIF)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020):230 USD

Most common surname: Nkurunziza

Safety: Not safe (in 2020)

Top tourist attractions: Kibira National park, Ruvubu National Park, Kigwena Natural Forest, Bujumbura, Gishora, Saga Beach, 

History

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Burundi - Mugere - Monument Livingstone-Stanley - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Nowadays

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Burundi - agriculture

Burundi - village kids

People

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Burundi - family

Burundi - kids

Burundi - girl - a.g. photo

Tourist etiquette

1.Never bring up the Hutus vs. Tutsis issue! Even more: never yourself make a distinction between Hutus and Tutsis.  Avoid falling into a terrible trap. The question is too complicated for a foreigner.

2. Please don't make too many gestures while speaking to locals as they would consider it a lack of calm and control over your emotions. Facial expressions are not welcome; use a calm tone of voice.

Attractions

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