There is a Tourist Information Office in Bujumbura, but it seems to be closed all the time. They do have a national website with a few basics. The City of Bujumbura has some information as well – in French only. Mostly it extols the virtues of lake front hotels and restaurants. You can find this website here:
City of Bujumbura
The National website on the link below.
You could call this place either completely crazy or even fun. Either way you will never see a zoo like this one. The Musée Vivant was once a full zoo before the civil war and many of its prized animals disappeared. It still has some interesting collections. When I arrived I was ushered in a by my friendly guide and the first building we came to contained fish tanks with no lights, making the fish very hard to see. There was also a large cage with Guinea Pigs inside. When I asked about the Guinea Pigs they explained they were there to feed the crocodiles and alligators. Next stop was a crocodile. Well 2 eyes sticking out of the water anyway. When I walked around the other side of the enclosure the crocodile came completely out of the water. “You want to feed him a Guinea Pig now?” I was asked. Next I was taken over to the Chimpanzees who seemed to have a lot of cigarette ends around their cage. Yes, they do smoke if given cigarettes. I was advised not to get too close as they had a habit of grabbing visitors. Then on to see a Dik-Dik and a Klipspriner you can actually pet. Next was the Snake House. When I asked about the Cobra, my guide said “I will make him angry so you can see him better”. He then duly began to hit the underside of the cage and Mr. Cobra did get angry. This cage hitting continued at several other cages. Then on past some enclosures that are now empty and on to the young Leopard in a cage. After that it’s on to some life-size models of a King’s home. And then the tour was over.
This is the only remotely Tourist thing to do in Bujumbura, but its definitely interactive. So if you want to feed Crocodiles and Alligators, definitely visit!
Admission is 5000 BFr, opening hours are ‘flexible’.
This is a full service Post Office including money transfer and international telephone services. If you want postcards you have to go to the Tourist Office Gift Shop, which is nowhere near the Tourist Office. It is 2 blocks away near the Havana Club on the Blvd. de l’Uprona. They are open Monday-Friday from 8am-12pm & 2pm-4pm. On Saturdays they are open 8am-11am.
** Be careful taking pictures in this area! I was arrested for taking a photo of the main market behind the Post Office. **
Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi, is a unique paradise nestled among the mountains of the rift valley. Although nestling in the tropical plains, the city is almost encircled by beautiful scenery. To the west are Lake Tanganyika and the distantly impressive mountains of the DRC while the Burundian hills try to complete the circle around the city. With a regular on-shore breeze, the beaches of the Lake Tanganyika provide a literal breath of fresh air from the heat of the city.
Bujumbura people are friendly, quite interesting and very hospitable.
Apart from being the capital of Burundi, this ‘paradise’ is also the main business centre of the country with many entrepreneurs, shopping outlets (mostly supermarkets), an open air market, government offices and also various company’s’ offices being located in the city centre. Many education institutes; universities, primary and secondary schools are also in here or around the outskirts of the city.
Getting around Bujumbura is easy and friendly since compared to many cities in Africa, the traffic is easy and one can also cross from one end to another on foot, furthermore the city is not that big and luckily it is yet to be crowded.
Accommodation in this growing paradise is affordable and can be easily accessed since many hotels are well situated, be it at the beaches of Lake Tanganyika or in the city centre, location of these hotels is safe, beautiful and accessible. In the city centre, there are hotels that mostly care for business travelers while along the beach, many hotels tend to care for families and leisure travelers. Hotels in the outskirts of Bujumbura are perfect for backpackers or travelers who wish to have an encounter of the local people.
High above the city towers is the Independence Monument honoring the country’s independence which was attained in 1st July 1962. This is just one of the many sites that are visited in and around the city.
Staying in Bujumbura for a weekend or a vacation is a worthwhile experience which is affordable. Working in this city or even holding meeting and conferences in many hotels here is not only easy but professionally possible.
Burundi is a country full of contrasts, a land where the old and the new, tradition and modern, east and west, blend, to create a fascinating, exciting and relaxing destination. This is a place that magically unfolds irresistible, charming touches rooted in traditional African hospitality which is topped up with ultra modern services.
The blend of a beautiful people and a diverse well kept culture with the seductive beauty of the tropical hills, the untamed amazing bird life and the breezy inland beaches of Lake Tanganyika brings a unique fusion of experiences.
Bujumbura is the entertainment, shopping, sports and business capital of this beautiful country. Home to many hotels and restaurants with dining options that include a range of delicious local and also international cuisines. Recreational facilities are available and the entertainment ranges from traditional celebrations to trendy night life options. Bujumbura offers you a home away from home on a platter.
Compared to the rest of the East Africa region, Burundi lacks the wild life that makes East Africa a great destination. Luckily there is so much in the country that compensates for this. With the tropical climate all year round, bird lakes which are homes to various birds’ species are well distributed in the country, mostly on the north of the country.
Culture is a valued heritage that has been well preserved for many generations. Burundian culture shapes the way its people live and it’s well demonstrated by their way of dressing and also the way they celebrate various social events.
The ‘Heart of Africa’ is a very safe destination with favorable, tropical climate all through the year. Add to this the best inland beaches and the timeless landscapes of the hills and it is easy to see why Burundi is an exciting year-round destination.
Very few places on earth holds a variety of life like Lake Tanganyika which harbors different species of flora and fauna in it and along its basins, of which more than half are found nowhere else. The biological diversity is amazingly remarkable. More than 1,300 animal and plant species have their homes at the basins of the lake, while in the waters, life ranges from micro living organisms to a huge variety of fish species, and crocodiles that live together. Some of the fish species are rare and endemic species. Due to the age of the lake and its geographical location, Lake Tanganyika boasts over 350 species of fish and scientists are continually discovering new species.
The benefits are nonetheless enormous, providing direct employment to a high number of people and a livelihood to many that live close to the lake and even beyond. The lake furthermore provides access to clean drinking water to the immediate residents dwelling along the shores and those living miles away from the lake. A city like Bujumbura, which lies along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, depends on the lake for water and power supply. The lake is vital to all the people living in the basin since fishing is a major occupation for most of the villagers.
It is also an important route for transport and trade among the countries that lie along its shores; Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and even beyond. Most of these countries are landlocked hence the presence of Lake Tanganyika is vital for facilitating transport connections and easy movement of people and export/import goods.
The surrounding forests and natural reserves are well preserved and are a home to a variety of both wild and bird life. Natural vegetation in these forests offers great picturesque sceneries.
There are some protected areas bordering Lake Tanganyika that boast of the white sandy shores of this huge lake. Some waters in this lake are known to harbor crocodiles and swimming in such waters can be risky hence it is not advisable to swim or hold beach activities in such locations of the lake. However, the beautiful beaches here are a great point to watch wild inhabitants of the protected parks along the shores; bird watching is also thrilling as the area is home to a wide range of exotic birds. Most commonly spotted are the hippos that are always lazing in the waters.
Secluded hotels, bays and resorts along the shores of Lake Tanganyika offer various accommodation services ranging from exclusive private lodges to uniquely designed hotels that cater for travelers who choose to travel individually or as couples, families or even groups. It is here that many choose to enjoy fishing, boating, canoeing, lake-birds watching, photography safaris and many more water excursions or to simply enjoy the peace that comes with relaxing at some of the most breathtaking inland beaches of Lake Tanganyika.
The question that mostly arises in the mind of eco travelers is how long the lake will remain the source of life for its exotic flora and fauna species and for the people who are dependent to it if good maintenance is not put into place soon enough.
Even though its logic that the countries sharing this beautiful lake should work together into taking measures to preserve it, and even though all travelers coming to visit the lake either seek relaxation or adventure, everyone who comes into contact with Lake Tanganyika or any other destination for that matter, has role to play in ensuring that the ecosystem of that destination is not tampered with. This is mainly for the sake of the inhabitants; both people and animals, and for the sake of future travelers.
Although the area along Lake Tanganyika is noted for its numerous continuous scientific researches, it is also renowned for its beauty, natural habitats, and untapped wilderness. For those who have been searching for an extraordinary destination, choose Lake Tanganyika, it will be a beautiful and memorable adventure.