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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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 BujumburaANDThe National website...more
Bujumbura Hotel * Restaurant VAYA > ApartmentsLuxury with Panoramic Viewin KIRIRI (Best square in the crest)Special price included all services, Breakfast and Diner (Half-Pension) Greek Assortments MEZESchrimps in oven, Vaya SpecialityTournedos au roquefort ! cheeseBaklavamore
‘Kasuku’ is the Swahili word for an African grey parrot. To me it translates as “Wow!”. Le Kasuku served me one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed in Africa. They are simply the best Restaurant in Bujumbura. The food is exceptional, the décor is fascinating and the service is second to absolutely no one. At the end of a very bad day I walked...more
Located at the Unbuntu Residence, it is actually an upscale apartment/hotel complex. It is also a fantastic place to watch the sunsets over the magnificent lake and towering mountains across the majestic lake. Some nights there are even Hippos to watch in the water. They have an open-air bar next to the swimming pool and tables everywhere. The 2 resident Grey-crowned Cranes will happily join you for a pleasant evening on the massive terrace. If you come early you can use the swimming pool. They do have changing rooms at the poolside. They serve large Primus beers on draft and the staff are attentive, but not in a big hurry. Food is also served outdoors for a perfect evening.
They are renowned for their pizza here.
Katenta Etienne is his name. Authentic African Masks is his game. His shop is really just a storage lock-up in Bujumbura, but it is full of absolute cultural treasures. He is located in a somewhat hidden part of the main craft market, but you really want to find him. I was amazed at the variety of both the types of masks as well as the different tribes/countries they originate from. Etienne (Stephen in English) is a really positive guy who was more than willing to patiently explain the details of each mask. One of the most fascinating is a sewn mask from the Democratic Republic of the Congo he is pictured with (photos 2 & 3). This is a very elaborate hand-stitched chicken head. It is the most unique mask I have ever come across in my travels in Africa.
Etienne is a member of the A.A.V.O.A (Association Artistes et Vendeurs des Objets d’Art). I would suggest you save this tip to your ‘Custom Travel Guide’ here on VT which will allow you to print his details and photo if you wish to find him in the market. I highly recommend you look at authentic items before you see some of the mass-produced masks in the main market area. There are several other good ‘storage’ shops beside him, but they are a bit pushy.
I felt the need to post in response to the warnings circa 2004.
Since the civil war ended in Bujumbura has gotten a lot safer. I went this weekend and the only sign of insecurity were the frequent miltary check points between the Rwandan border and Bujumbura.
At the risk of sounding perverse, the war was fantastic for prices, which are MUCH lower than where I live in Kigali. Prior to the war Bujumbura, like Kigali, had a reputation for being quite pricey for Africa. They won't stay this low for long though, as soon as the NGO, diplomatic and other ex-pat community comes back en masse. That said, it is still probably wise not to walk around by yourself at night, but cabs are quite cheap.
Is it open? Today? Ever?
By the time I found the Tourist Information Centre I had already been arrested for having a Guidebook. According to my now returned guidebook the office should be open. I saw 2 guys at the entrance and the door was open (PICTURE 1). When I walked up they looked very panicky and shouted ‘Ferme!’ and the doors shut (PICTURE 2). I walked away to go find some lunch. I then read in my controversial guidebook that they did close for part of the day. I duly arrived when they should have reopened. They never did during my stay in Bujumbura.
Please do go and see if they ever do open again and let me know! I will update this tip.
Bring a good guidebook and don’t let the Police/Militia see you with it. Do not plan on this office being open, its just slows down your valuable time here.