Have You Heard of Burundi? A True Hidden Gem in East Africa



gishora drum ceremony burundi

Have you ever heard of the nation Burundi? Effectively, you most likely have when you’ve discovered this put up, however I’ll go forward and let you know about it anyway!

Burundi is a a really distinctive hidden gem that’s a part of East Africa, and infrequently ignored due to its well-liked neighbors; Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. To be compeltely trustworthy, I solely came upon about Burundi as a result of I zoomed in on the map once I was on the lookout for new locations to journey to on an upcoming return journey to D.R. Congo.

The web doesn’t have good issues to say about Burundi, neither does the U.S. gov’s journey web site, which was clearly written by somebody who has by no means been there. So I’m right here to ship the reality about what it’s actually like, why you must go, and what the very best issues to do in Burundi are!

If you wish to go to Burundi, you will have a tour to get to most of those locations! I like to recommend Gisabo Tours, who took me in all places, together with to an area wedding ceremony!

The place is Burundi?

Burundi is positioned in “East Africa”, which additionally consists of Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and shortly will embrace D.R. Congo. It’s tucked in the course of all of them, slightly below Rwanda.

Tips on how to Get to Burundi?

You’ll wish to get a flight into Bujumbura, which is the brand new capital of Burundi. It’s a really small airport, and never precisely a busy flight route, so that you’ll seemingly have a couple of layovers to be able to get there.

You should use Skyscanner to seek out the most affordable flights there in case your dates are versatile. Simply seek for costs within the “entire month” moderately than a particular date (I name this enjoying Flight Roulette). For those who’re going to be in a close-by nation, there’s seemingly a direct flight there. I had one from Dar es Salaam!

What do you Have to Enter Burundi as a Foreigner?

burundi entry requirements
That is as of July 2022. A lot of the East African international locations now not a covid take a look at so this may change quickly.

The entry course of for me was hectic, unhelpful, and lengthy. Fortunately I’m an expert traveler, and simply waited patiently all through the method. That is most likely TMI however when you’re ever about to lose your chill, simply keep in mind I did all of this SOLO, with out having the ability to communicate the native languages (French and Kirundi), AND whereas my menstrual cup was leaking as a result of I messed it up once I used one of many squat-toilets in a small village that I by accident obtained off the airplane in earlier than touchdown in Bujumbura.

Anyway…right here’s what you’ll want to enter, and beneath is a really detailed course of for find out how to get all of it:

  • Visa (can get upon arrival for $90)
  • Unfavorable covid take a look at 72 hours earlier than arrival
  • One other covid take a look at upon arrival ($100!!!)
  • Proof of ongoing flight
  • Proof of your lodge reservation
  • Arrival card (given on the airport or on the airplane)

Take into accout the method is hectic, however this may let you know precisely what to do.

So there will probably be three cubicles in entrance of you, after which the precise immigration to your proper.

  1. Go to the primary sales space first. Folks will probably be shoving one another to attempt to get to the entrance, and can reduce you in line when you’re not being aggressive sufficient. Have your cash prepared and your passport. You want $90 for the visa, and $100 for the covid take a look at. Shove all of it into one of many home windows and wait for somebody to take it.
  2. As soon as they take it, they’ll provide you with two papers. Take the paper for the Covid take a look at to the third window. They are going to then provide you with a receipt…
  3. Then take that and the opposite paper to the second window…they may then provide you with one other receipt…
  4. Take each of the receipts again to the primary window (that is ridiculous I do know), they may then provide you with yet one more reciept…
  5. Take that receipt again to the second window and provides it to them along with your passport, and they’ll lastly put your visa in it.
  6. When you’re ready in line, fill out one of many arrival playing cards
  7. Take your passport with visa and your arrival card lastly to the immigration officer to get stamped.
  8. Get your baggage
  9. You then get to proceed to the very unorganized obligatory covid testing space. Log onto their wifi, then go to the web site listed above the sales space behind it. Get in line for this sales space instantly, don’t sit down or something.
  10. Whereas ready in line, fill out the appointment type on the web site. When it asks to pay, click on the choice that claims you already paid.
  11. While you lastly get to the entrance of the sales space (individuals will attempt to reduce you right here as properly, so once more, concentrate), present them your appointment affirmation that will get despatched to your e-mail, and your receipt from inside. As soon as he checks it and indicators off, you then go get a faux throat swab, and you may lastly depart!

What to do in Bujumbura

As I discussed, Bujumbura is the capital, and in order  you may most likely think about, it’s very busy. There’s not a ton of issues to see within the precise metropolis, however the lake space could be very lovely and enjoyable! 

Actually, there’s fairly a couple of lake-front bars, reastuarants, and little seashore golf equipment, in addition to a couple of inns! You possibly can even go swimming on the seashores, however simply remember…there are hippos, and hippos will be extraordinarily harmful!

So my prime suggestion for Bujumbura is to go to the seashore bars. One which was actually cute was referred to as Bora Bora. You too can go have lunch on the fancy Lodge Du Loc (the place I stayed for a hefty worth), which has a pleasant pool and seashore space.

Relying in your information, or your skill to simply make mates, it’s also possible to attempt to attend an area wedding ceremony or Dowry get together! I went to each and it was a lot enjoyable!

Finest Issues to Do in Burundi

Outisde of Bujumbura, you’ll discover a number of actually wonderful issues to do. I solely had time for a couple of of them, however I selected correctly and was very impressed!

So right here’s my finest issues to do in Burundi that I did, and a pair others you are able to do as properly! 

By the best way, you DEFINITELY wish to get a information and a driver. I used Gisabo Excursions, which is foudned and run by a younger Burundian man named Audice who cares a lot about his nation! He’ll actually give you a stunning expertise!

Karera Waterfalls

My prime decide of issues I needed to do and in addition now my prime finest issues to do in Burundi decide, is Karera Waterfalls!

They’re a bit far (about three hours from Bujumbura) so that you undoubtedly have to take a tour. You possibly can do it as a day journey, nevertheless it’s a whole lot of driving, so I’d suggest staying the night time close to it or close to your subsequent vacation spot.

Karera Waterfalls is definitely a giant park, and there are a complete of 5 waterfalls you may see! The principle one is true on the entrance, however when you comply with the path to the appropriate, you’ll have a pleasant hike to the others.

Earlier than you get to the decrease falls, you may go on an extended rope bridge for a very beautiful view! Then I’d counsel going all the best way right down to the very backside, and the tallest of all of the waterfalls. Watch out when crossing the stream as a result of the rocks are slippery! And don’t get to shut to this waterfall as a result of it’s actually robust!

As a substitute, hike again as much as the center falls, which is the highest of the earlier waterfall. That being mentioned, be VERY cautious and don’t get near the sting! The falls right here have rock swimming pools on the backside of them (versus mushy sand) so you may sit in it and luxuriate in a natrual bathe!

Later you may go to the one native lodge close by referred to as Parrot**** for lunch and a few of their selfmade 100% pineapple juice!

Sidenote: international guests aren’t widespread right here, so you’re going to get stared at rather a lot. Please say hello and be type to the locals! You possibly can even purchase some fruit or snacks from them!

Gishora Drum Ceremony

gishora drum ceremony burundi

I knew that my journey to Burundi wouldn’t be full with out goinig to see the Gishora drums! This unbelievable, soul-shaking efficiency actually had me in tears! The beat of the drum and the power of the drummers, plus the awe from the native youngsters who come to look at, was simply actually wonderful!

The historical past behind these large drums, which can be mentioned to resemble a girl’s physique, and constituted of worshipped cow cover, is an fascinating one as properly. The ingoma drums signify energy, and play an essential function within the re-rise of their tradition following colonization by the French.

Gishora is close to *** which was the primary capital of Burundi. The lodge I stayed at there was referred to as *** and it was solely about $25 for a giant, comparatively fashionable room, and respectable lavatory with scorching water.

Tea Fields

burundi tea fields

It didn’t happen to me that there could be big tea fields in Burundi, though it ought to have since I additionally noticed them in Rwanda. However anyway, they’re within the north of Burundi as properly!

The world they’re in is up within the mountains, and it really will get REALLY chilly! Like I used to be freezing and needed to flip the heater on in my lodge room! So undoubtedly pack a jacket!

You’ll have to pay a charge to enter the Nationwide Park that all the tea fields are in (included when you take a tour after all), and I’d suggest shopping for one of many little handmade souvenirs from the locals there making an attempt to earn some money.

I stayed at a lodge referred to as Inexperienced Park, which was solely $35/night time, and had a cushty room. The recent water in my room didn’t work, however my guides mentioned theirs did, so simply be sure you verify first. In addition they have a restaurant there that takes a very long time, however the meals is nice!

Lake Tanganyika Seashores and Seaside Golf equipment in Bujumbura

As I discussed within the part about Bujumbura, there’s a bunch of seashores alongside Lake Tanganyika! You possibly can go to a lodge that has one, or one of many many seashore bars and golf equipment. Once more, the one I assumed was actually cute known as Bora Bora, they usually even have hookah there!

Additionally as I discussed, there ARE hippos within the lake. I didn’t personally see them, however I’ve seen sufficient in my life to know they may swim anyplace they need. And the issue with that after all, is that they’re very harmful! For those who see one, again away!

I did keep at Lodge Membership du Loc, and it was fairly good, however undoubtedly costly, particularly in comparison with a budget costs of all the opposite inns! I obtained it on a reduction from Reserving.com for $140 an evening, however for my part it undoubtedly isn’t value that worth. The one factor it had that made it nearly value that as that it has a small personal seashore and an enormous pool.

So if you wish to add Burundi, considered one of my new favourite hidden gems in Africa, to your journey checklist, I’d extremely suggest it! Please contact my mates at Gisabo Excursions to rearrange it, I promise they’ll take excellent care of you, and present you a tremendous time!

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