Attractions in Burundi

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Unique Landscapes

Burundi has an incredibly beautiful landscape and rich and varied flora and fauna. From the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in Africa, the land rises abruptly to create dramatic rock formations, gorges with waterfalls, and hot springs.

For animal lovers, the cloud forest in the northwest is a haven for primates, while the Rusizi Delta is an oasis of tranquility and a paradise for bird watchers. 

Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, is a welcoming, vibrant city and growing business center. lts well equipped hotels offer  the latest technological facilities. Tourists can spend the day exploring the city's museum, monuments and craft centers, then sample the exciting night life, with live entertainment in lake side clubs, bars and restaurants which offer a wealth of international cuisine.

Parks and Protected Areas

Rubuvu National Park

The National Park of Ruvubu in north-east Burundi is the biggest protected ecosystem in the country with more than 50,000 hectares. In the heart of a still wild environment, this unique park is populated with diverse wildlife. Among others, you will find: buffaloes, antelopes, monkeys and hippopotamuses. Experienced guides will lead you for a short walk for a few hours or a whole day excursion throughout the park to visit the savannah and its extraordinary beauty.

Rusizi National Park

You do not want to miss the Natural Preserve of the Ruzizi which is only fifteen minutes from the center of Bujumbura.
You will be charmed by the richness of the wildlife and the flora. Nineteen species of mammals live there including the hippopotamus, which is the most popular animal of the preserve. The Ruzizi delta hippopotamuses live in the company of thousands of colorful birds. The Ruzizi Preserve has the honor of hosting the legendary hyphaene, a palm tree that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Protected area of Kigwena

Created in 1954, the forest preserve of Kigwena extends over 3,300 hectares and ranges between 773 and 820 m in altitude. It stretches out over the western piedmont of the Congo-Nile range ending in a gentle slope down to the plain of Lake Tanganyika and straddles the Route 3 national highway. The hot springs of Mugara are found in this preserve. This is a unique picturesque forest and the only natural equatorial reserve of its kind in the country.

Kibira National Park

Perched at an altitude between 1,500 and 2,660 m at the top of the Congo-Nile range is Kibira Park, a majestic primeval rain forest spread over 40,000 ha. Formerly a sacred hunting preserve for the kings of Burundi, it is now a protected area and home to some 98 mammal species, a dozen primates (numerous families of chimpanzees, baboons, tailed monkeys, black colobus) as well as some 200 species of birds. Many streams and rivers that irrigate the country in the East as well as the West have their sources in this park. This rain forest plays a major role in the formation of the Congo and Nile River Basin and constitutes the watershed line.

While rarely visited in the recent past, Kibira National Park has become a place tourists want to visit. On your way there you pass through the impressive tea plantations of Teza and Rwegura. Once in the park, guards lead you deep into the dark undergrowth to discover the charms of this primeval forest including mesmerizing birds’ songs.

Currently there are two access points for the park: the tourist pygmies’ village of Busekera and the hydroelectric dam of Rwegura. The dam is another interesting attraction providing magnificent vistas and a charming spot for rest or an outdoor picnic. You can choose a short walk or a whole day excursion with experienced guides to visit the savannah and its extraordinary beauty.


Cultural Tourism

Gishora Sacred Drum

Gishora is one of the famous drum sites of Burundi. Gishora is perched on the top of a hill at 7 km from the urban centre of Gitega). To relive the cultural tradition of Burundi one can visit the drum sanctuary of Gishora. The site recreates an architectural complex of Royal palace, rarely found elsewhere in the country. Drummers’ performances can be watched

The Intore Warrios, Kirundo

The warriors of Umwami (King) of ancient Burundi did not always have the same name; those of the first army set up in the country to defend the king against the internal rebellions or the external attacks were called ‘Intore’. Others were called ‘Ibirima’, ‘Amasuka’, ‘Abadasigana’, etc. according the symbolic representation of the valor or boldness of the warriors. The ‘Intore’ dancers kept this military parade formerly executed by the royal warriors, back from the battlefield, to express their bravery before a delighted population awaiting them, in the presence of the King. Dressed in leopards’ hides, and wearing a kind of wig with long sisals on their heads, a string of bells on their ankles, a necklace (in ivory), and holding a lance in the right hand and a object standing for a shield in the left hand, the dancer performed gracious movements following the rhythm of the sound of the horn of antelope, whistling and drums, in a deafening racket proper to the warrior terror. The movement of the dance changes constantly depending on the content of the poem proclaimed by the leader who organizes the show.

Today, this performance is executed during official ceremonies of the nation, as it is for other performing groups. Nevertheless, one should notice that three male dances (Drums, Agasimbo, and Intore), kept an official mark based on the ancient kingship, now become shows on official events. This historical dance is one of the attractions at northern lakes of the country, near the administrative centre of Kirundo.

Agasimbo Acrobatic Dancers, Makamba

The ‘Agasimbo’ dance is peculiar to this southern region of Burundi. Like most of male dances of Burundi, the ‘Agasimbo’ dance is performed with much deftness to prove the talent, suppleness, beauty and the physical strength of the dancers. It is an entertainment performance struck up simply for the pleasure and joy of living of the inhabitants of that region of Buragane, but also for amusing people the evenings, especially during periods of good harvest in this fertile region of the country. This acrobatic dance requires much suppleness: the dancer spins around like a top by successively making movements according to the rhythm of the hand clapping, feet and hands alternating in touching the ground to the dictate of the refrains.

The ‘Agasimbo’ dancers have become very famous and have already brought enjoyment in many countries across the world. Today, they are regularly invited to embellish the national events or for welcoming distinguished visitors to Burundi. This dance has existed since the monarchy and has gone through ages till date as it is passed on from father to son, in the same geographical locality.

The Treaty of Kiganda

German establishment in Burundi was not easy. Although the invaders settled on the east coast of Lake Tanganyika in 1896, King Mwezi Gisabo did not surrender until June 6, 1903. During the intervening years the Germans tried in vain to invade the country. German captain Von Bering was forced to look for support from dissidents to the king and found Maconco and Kirima who were claiming territories for their own. They were able to oust the king from his capital (Muramvya) and forced him to retreat to Kiganda.

Rumor has it that the king was never defeated. In fact, catholic priests of the mission of Mugera and some of his influential sons like Ntarugera had a hard time bringing the king to negotiate with the Germans. At Kiganda, on June 6, 1903, Germans were obliged to acknowledge that Mwezi Gisabo remained king of Burundi; in fact, a post run by a German was set up for his protection. In return, seated on the flat rocks of Kiganda, the king of Burundi: Acknowledged the sovereignty of Germany; Recognized the autonomy of Maconco and Kirima respectively in Bukeye and Muramvya; Accepted to pay a fine of 424 cattle as reparation; Agreed to not hamper the action of the catholic mission of Mugera, etc.

In this region considered to be the cradle of Burundian culture, the site of Kiganda Treaty is included in a circuit that passes nearby the Kings’ valley, the monument of Rubumba trees and the cultural attractions of Gitega, before continuing towards the natural eastern sites of the country.

Rubumba Tourist and Cultural Village

The successor of a king was enthroned following a well-known ritual. After the death of the king, while the ritualistic staff ‘Biru’ took care of the body, all the personnel of the crown and the princes, came to Mwihangarizo, where mourning was observed for three months until the enthronement of the new monarch. The place was the departure point of the investiture procession.

The ambience was very festive, enhanced by the spectacular drumming of Gishora, praise-poetry, and exhibition of different dances. It was a very important day in which all kings participated in some pre-ordained rites including planting sacred, venerated trees and groves, the living symbol of the permanence and sustainability of the Burundian monarchy and its sacredness

The sacred groves of Ntare Rugamba, Mwezi Gisabo, Mutaga Mbikije, Mwambutsa Bangiricenge, and the last of the kings of Burundi Ntare Ndizeye are still remarkable sights to view on top of Mount Rubumba.


Monuments & Museums

Source of the Nile

The famous Nile River has its southernmost source in Burundi, downhill the mount Gikizi at 2,044m of altitude and at 6,671km from its contact point with the Mediterranean Sea. It was discovered in 1934 by the German Waldecker.

A pyramid that symbolizes this long sought after discovery was set up in 1938, at the top of the mount Gikizi at 2,088m of altitude. From this structure, you can look over the central plateau of Bututsi and the plain of Muhweza, as well as the urban centre of Rutana that seems to seep out of the verdant mountain dominating the plain of Kumoso that stretches to the the Tanzanian border. A commemorative metallic signpost indicating the route of the Nile was carved in the east wall of the pyramid. 

The Nile is the longest river in Africa. Its channel crosses five African countries upstream-downstream, of which Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt, without mentioning other five countries that constitute the bulk of its basin. Huge electric dams of which that of Assuan and Assiout were built on the Nile which made the basis of the political and economic unity of Egypt.

Livingstone Rock

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume!"
-Yes, I am happy to be here to welcome you.

This happened in November 25, 1871 at Mugere. A stone was erected on site to capture the encounter between the famous scientist and the young reporter STANLEY, who went to look for him. 

Bujumbura Live Museum 

Founded in 1977, it was among the first sites determining the cultural and artistic riches of Burundi. Located in a large park area, the living museum of Bujumbura includes testimonies of cultural heritage, including both the natural and human creations.

Vugizo Historical Monument

The Mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore: Here rests Prince Louis Rwagasore, the hero of Independence. Prince Louis R. was murdered on 13/10/1961 after the victory of his political party (UPRONA) which he was the secretary general. Mount Vugizo was chosen as a burial because of the altitude.

Unity Monument: The mausoleum monument of national unity stands at 500m since 05/02/1992. The term "DUSENYERE K'UMUGOZI UMWE" written in the middle of this monument and the eight jets of water around evoke the image of the bundle of firewood where each person brought his hand. Otherwise said in the national language it relates to the commitment, to the preservation, the promotion and the permanent character of national unity. The flag of unity is flanked by two towers, the national flag and the flag of unity.

On this same Mount Vugizo, Jesuits built their first school in Burundi, the College of the Holy Spirit. It was the first interracial college built in Ruanda-Urundi. This property was a great symbol of the Belgian school work in this area. Currently, the college is now occupied by the University of Burundi.


 Leisure Activities

Burundi leisure options are plenty and this is one of the prime reasons for the rapid growth of tourism in Burundi. The capital city of Burundi, Bujumbura, houses various places of interest and all of them are unique and wonderful to watch. Burundi recreations are various and the country offers numerous sources of entertainment options to spice up a simple vacation to an extraordinary one.

Burundi sports activities is an important source of recreation in Burundi and the travelers can simply indulge themselves in various sports. The Ministry of youth, culture and sports of Burundi promotes various recreational activities along with the modern sports. Soccer is the main sport and is a great source of recreation in Burundi. Basketball is even simultaneously gaining popularity.

Burundi has a rich cultural heritage of folk art which forms an integral part of Burundi recreation. The dance forms and local music of Burundi is amazing and the visitors can enjoy the various musical forms of this country. Drumming forms an important part of recreation and is usually played in family and social gatherings.

Shopping is also a great way to hang out while traveling in Burundi. The country offers numerous attractive craft works which can be carried back as mementos while visiting this country.

Nightlife in Burundi is great as the country boasts of a range of good quality restaurants and pubs which make excellent chill out zones. Thus Burundi leisure options galore and the visitors can choose any one of them to unwind themselves.