Bujumbura's favourite Sunday afternoon activity is lazing around at the beach on the north shore of Lake Tanganyika. There are three places, all slightly different.
Petit Bassam has a nice pool and is popular with families with children. It has a replica of a traditional hut of Burundian kings. The owner, a retired Burundian UN-official who has lived in Ivory Coast, will be happy to guide you, when he's around.
Next door is Karera Beach, a large stretch of fine sand with enough place for beach volleyball and a good restaurant. There's music on the premises and a cold beer is always within reach.
The most famous beach is the next one, Saga Plage. It attracts a young crowd, has a noisy "day-"club with hot swahili music and has several bars. Occasionally there are concerts going on.
Only some expats or local kids go swimming in the lake, but on windy afternoons you can watch some people busy kite-surfing.
One thing that amazed me was the friendliness that greeted us when we decided to hop across to the DRC for a few hours. The myth African border crossings are unfriendly and rude took a complete different shape when even the Station Commader decided to pose for a picture, after he ensured that we crossed the border in less then 5 minutes.
Towards the East of the town centre of Bujumbura one can find a building franzy with hundreds of new homes beeing build, showing that residents have gained the confidence again and are investing money in the restructuring of this war torn country.
The University of Bujumbura offers splendid views across the capital city and Lake Tanganyika. It is the only university in the poverty stricken tiny central African country. Its facilities are deteriorating and significantly damaged due to an ongoing civil war. In its infancy, it was owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Church. Its current enrollment is approximately 3,124. The history of this university goes back to the year 1964 when the various higher educational institutions were merged into one large institution.
High above the city of Bujumbura towers the Independance Monument honouring the countries independance after German and Belgium rule in 1962 and when Bujumbura regained its current name after the original name of Usumbura.
An ocean in the middle of Africa, with white sandy beaches and sun chairs? Okay you have not had too much local Rum - but you have arrived at the biggest fresh water reserve on the continent of Africa, right in the heart of Africa - Lake Tanganyika.
It is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water. It extends for 673 km in a general north-south direction and averages 50 km in width. The lake covers 32,900 km², with a shoreline of 1,828km and a mean depth of 570 m and a maximum depth of 1,470 m. Flying across the lake I was in the cockpit of our plane it took 45 minutes from South to North at 850 km/h!