Fun things to do in Burundi

  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt

Most Viewed Things to Do in Burundi

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    Travel with Children in Burundi

    by inamahoro Updated Oct 28, 2013

    Burundi has an amazing climate, fabulous inland beaches, friendly people, great local food and a fascinating culture and heritage. This is a unique destination where your child can potentially dance with the traditional dancers, learn about life in various villages and townships, swim in the Lake Tanganyika, scramble up the green hills for an adventurous walk or maybe take a ride to the historical sites in the countryside. And that is just the start. There are many things to do from participating in simple activities to an exciting trip to the lash green hills where a picnic can be done and also a visit to some fabulous and scenic waterfalls.

    Planning a tour in this country is all exciting since with a well planned itinerary, it is possible to visit a huge number of sites, after all the country is not that big. Driving is safe and easy for a family traveling with kids in Burundi since many roads are well maintained. Travelers are always provided with a professional driver and a guide who readily speaks the preferred travelers’ language. This ensures that language is not a barrier during a trip.

    Many hotels are extremely welcoming but you should always do your homework whether your preferred hotel accepts children and book ahead to ensure you have suitable accommodation. Another option is to look at hiring a private apartment or a guest house. For those who wish to experience the daily life of the locals especially in the countryside, home stays are available at a reasonable price and are very safe.

    Children are the next generation of environmental caretakers; however it is not quite that simple to engage them in a safari. The general recommendation is that you shouldn't take children under the age of five on a safari because most of them do not have the patience needed to sit quietly in the vehicle for long driving hours. However, the traveling parent should make the decision since they know their own children well.

    By choosing a reputed tour operator to plan your family tour, the safety of your children is assured since they will give you a perfect itinerary with children friendly sites and activities. Go out with a guide who will teach you and your children about the various sites, surroundings and their different characteristics.

    Meals in Burundi are fine with plenty of child-friendly choices and it is always recommended to take bottled water to avoid any risk of infection. Warm clothes are also necessary for travelers who choose to visit and stay upcountry since the temperatures there fall especially during the nights.

    Children sometimes need a little more help to focus them and keep them entertained throughout the trip. Travel diaries during long trips are one way to store memories for young travelers. Most things are electronic these days, taking pictures and videos will definitely keep children engaged during a safari. However, writing a diary and also collecting things; from dry leaves, feathers from different birds to unique commodity packets which are not found back at their homes; it becomes a memory souvenir that lasts for a lifetime.

    Children Friendly Hotel in Bujumbura Lake Tanganyika Beach Activities Easy Traffic in Bujumbura Restaurants offer safe meals for the whole family
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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    Travel with Children in Burundi

    by inamahoro Written Oct 28, 2013

    Burundi has an amazing climate, fabulous inland beaches, friendly people, great local food and a fascinating culture and heritage. This is a unique destination where your child can potentially dance with the traditional dancers, learn about life in various villages and townships, swim in the Lake Tanganyika, scramble up the green hills for an adventurous walk or maybe take a ride to the historical sites in the countryside. And that is just the start. There are many things to do from participating in simple activities to an exciting trip to the lash green hills where a picnic can be done and also a visit to some fabulous and scenic waterfalls.

    Planning a tour in this country is all exciting since with a well planned itinerary, it is possible to visit a huge number of sites, after all the country is not that big. Driving is safe and easy for a family traveling with kids in Burundi since many roads are well maintained. Travelers are always provided with a professional driver and a guide who readily speaks the preferred travelers’ language. This ensures that language is not a barrier during a trip.

    Many hotels are extremely welcoming but you should always do your homework whether your preferred hotel accepts children and book ahead to ensure you have suitable accommodation. Another option is to look at hiring a private apartment or a guest house. For those who wish to experience the daily life of the locals especially in the countryside, home stays are available at a reasonable price and are very safe.

    Children are the next generation of environmental caretakers; however it is not quite that simple to engage them in a safari. The general recommendation is that you shouldn't take children under the age of five on a safari because most of them do not have the patience needed to sit quietly in the vehicle for long driving hours. However, the traveling parent should make the decision since they know their own children well.

    By choosing a reputed tour operator to plan your family tour, the safety of your children is assured since they will give you a perfect itinerary with children friendly sites and activities. Go out with a guide who will teach you and your children about the various sites, surroundings and their different characteristics.

    Meals in Burundi are fine with plenty of child-friendly choices and it is always recommended to take bottled water to avoid any risk of infection. Warm clothes are also necessary for travelers who choose to visit and stay upcountry since the temperatures there fall especially during the nights.

    Children sometimes need a little more help to focus them and keep them entertained throughout the trip. Travel diaries during long trips are one way to store memories for young travelers. Most things are electronic these days, taking pictures and videos will definitely keep children engaged during a safari. However, writing a diary and also collecting things; from dry leaves, feathers from different birds to unique commodity packets which are not found back at their homes; it becomes a memory souvenir that lasts for a lifetime.

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    In The Haven of Africa (East Africa)

    by inamahoro Written Sep 17, 2013

    East Africa is a region full of contrasts, a land where the old and the new, tradition and modern, east and west, blend, to create a fascinating, exciting, adventurous 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 environment, well laid savannahs and lash green hills of Burundi and Rwanda, the untamed amazing wild life and the breezy coastal and inland beaches brings a unique fusion of experiences.

    In here, there are cities and big towns which are the entertainment, shopping, sports and business capitals of this beautiful African region. They are also homes to many hotels and restaurants with dining options that include a range of delicious local and international cuisines. Recreational facilities are available and the entertainment ranges from traditional celebrations to trendy night life options. These cities offer any traveler a home away from home on a platter.

    Compared to the rest of the East Africa region (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda), 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.

    This haven is a very safe destination with favorable, tropical climate all through the year. Add to these the best coastal and inland beaches and the timeless landscapes of the hills and savannahs, and it is easy to see why East Africa is an exciting year-round destination.

    Green and Hilly East Africa Wild life Relax Beautiful Nature
    Related to:
    • Safari
    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park

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    THE LASHING GREEN HILLS OF BURUNDI

    by inamahoro Written Aug 28, 2013

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    In the ‘Heart of Africa’ landscapes comprise of green hills that are fertile with volcanic soil which is perfect for agriculture, the main economic backbone of Burundi. The favorable tropical climate in the upcountry region allows production of food that the city dwellers depend on all year long. Food produced varies from vegetables to cereals which can be either for domestic or commercial use.

    Amidst those fertile hills, lie vast fields that produce the main cash crops grown in this country; tea and coffee, mainly for export. Recently, Burundi has been named among the best coffee producers. Many plantations are owned by families who are also the workers in the fields. Production of these crops is seasonal with the main harvest starting in March, peak around April/May (depending on altitude and weather) and end in June.

    Touring these plantations is an exciting adventure to learn about growing and processing of coffee and tea, also get a chance to participate in some simple activities that involve the processing. Alongside the local people, enjoy a hot or cold cup of coffee made the Burundian way.

    The landscapes offer ample opportunities for intimate moments in the quiet, breath taking surroundings. Guests can enjoy a nature walk, a picnic and get to enjoy an outdoor lunch/snack or just relax in the plantations which offer peaceful environment with natural, fresh air.

    During a drive to the Burundian countryside, beautiful scenery of these plantations offers a wonderful and natural feeling in a perfect climate, totally different compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.

    Hilly Burundi
    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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    Look out for stunning birdlife in the rice paddies

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 21, 2013

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    (work in progress)
    The Burundian lowlands are chequered with rice paddies, which attract a whole range of wading birds. All sorts of heron, egrets, ibis, kingfisher are attracted to the paddies, whose reptile and fish life provides rich pickings for hungry birdies.

    In this instance, a flock of glossy ibis (black) and cattle egrets (white) took flight when we got too close for comfort, providing a wonderful photo opportunity.

    Even the marshy lawned area in front of the airport attracts birdlfe: the morning we arrived, we spotted over a dozen large herons there, casting a very beady eye over the resident froglife!

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    Redifining Burundi

    by inamahoro Written Aug 12, 2013

    The sad truth is that many travelers have misconceptions about Burundi. People wish those traveling to the country things like ‘be safe’ and so often many began to wonder whether there might be some truth to it. But walking through Bujumbura airport so easily when you had worried about it so much before will make you realize that maybe things wouldn’t be as difficult as many would put it.
    It’s funny how strongly we associate a name with its history or origin rather than its current or rather its present situation. I’m sure I could name the first three things that come into your head when I mention ‘Burundi’. Many are quick to avoid getting into the details and only want to keep what they have heard or read from different materials.
    Burundi is a country with so much to offer. Not only the sights and things you will do, but also the attitudes and culture of the people that you are sure to meet. If lucky enough to spend a lot of time with local people you will meet – open-minded and fascinating people who aren’t afraid to talk about their views and what they think about their lives, the government, and the entire world in general.
    The saying ‘Guests are friends from God’ may have something to do with the overwhelming hospitality of the Burundian people. Speak to anyone that has ever been there, and the first thing they will mention is the hospitality they received which took their breath away. Burundian hospitality is all about making sure the guest has everything they need, and they feel at home.
    The geographical position of this country allows it to have a wide range beautiful, hilly landscapes which offer amazing views and attractions. With some waterfalls distributed in the small country, bird lakes and diverse cultural heritage, you also get a compliment of relaxing along the beaches of the famous Lake Tanganyika
    This is one of the most eye-opening destinations that a traveler would love to be because it will completely change the way that they think about the world and about people. Hopefully that maybe it will get rid of a few myths about the country, and that maybe people will think again about visiting this beautiful place. It is upon every traveler who visits here to do the amazing people in this country some justice by writing and saying something that hopefully, truly reflects life in Burundi.

    Bujumbura Burundi Drums Night life in Bujumbura Lake Tanganyika
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel
    • Adventure Travel

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    Meeting the locals

    by inamahoro Updated Aug 9, 2013

    Burundi, compared to the rest of Africa, probably has the best and an amazing multitude of happy and friendly people who are proud of their country and will make sure you enjoy your visit. They share both a common language and collective cultural elements which are admirable. Burundian culture promotes oneness and this makes it beautiful and different from many African cultures.

    Greetings in Burundi are full of expressions of peace and love for individuals and the whole community, which is openly, passed to all visitors with a warm handshake or/and a hug accompanied by a beautiful smile. The people are relationship driven and visitors are highly respected and appreciated.

    Christianity remains to be the most-followed religion in here but Islam and other religions are highly respected.

    Sharing a meal is a social moment where families or friends enjoy a meal together mostly from one large plate. With the large plate in the middle, the family takes turn in getting a bite and this is a perfect moment to share many daily issues among themselves. Burundian meal is simple and mostly homemade, but with no doubts a healthy one which will always be accompanied by a drink; a soda or a beer.

    Weekends are eagerly awaited especially in the city-Bujumbura and other big towns. This is usually the moments when friends meet to have fun, enjoy and relax after a long busy week. These meetings take place in the city/town mostly in a bar or a restaurant. Nevertheless, the Lake Tanganyika Beach gives a perfect relaxing environment where locals go swimming, boat riding or participating in other beach activities. A drink, mostly a beer is a must have when enjoying weekends the Burundian way.

    Marked on the ’Burundian’ calendar is summer (June-August). This is a very special season where many wedding ceremonies take place. Marriage in this small country is a sacred affair which is socially celebrated in all aspects, that is in a cultural way and also in a modern style. During these events family, friends and the entire community come together. Dressing up for these occasions is very important. In many cases women are dressed in traditional attire, mostly uniform and men show up in suites. The events are always held in the evening and a reception for all the guests (the whole community) is organized afterwards.

    Burundi traditional way of dressing consists of colorful African Vitenge (wrappers). Young girls and women wear this type of clothing which is very popular especially during ceremonies and social gatherings. Unlike the city dwellers, people in rural areas and small communities do not go for western style of clothing, instead they settle for traditional way of dressing. Their way of clothing is beautiful, simple and uniquely designed. It is important that the person wearing the garment feel comfortable and is able to perform various duties and work.

    In this country, the value of music has proven to be significant to the culture. For example, one of the most celebrated cultures is the playing of historical drums. As sacred objects, the drums were much more than simple musical instruments; they were used for special circumstances. Major events for the king were announced through the drums, such a royal coronation, funeral, and weddings. As part of keeping their culture alive, locals play the drums at major modern day events particularly during national and international events. They still respect drums just as their ancestors did.

    Welcoming everyone with warm smiles is the way of life here in Burundi.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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    Reliving the History and Ancient Times of Burundi

    by inamahoro Updated Jul 31, 2013

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    The hilly slopes of Burundi have a truly amazing people, culture and history. You can explore a traditional way of life in a small ‘Busekera’ village, visit the countryside and learn about its farming community, or participate in the discovery of the history behind the vibrant life in these hills.

    The original inhabitants of Burundi, just like the rest of the early Africans are known for their art and ability to survive in their different environment. In the 16th century, they set up kingdoms which were a sign of power and authority. Later, in the 19th century, the kingdoms gave birth to the modern political life of this beautiful country. In the early administrative city; Gitega, detailed history of their remarkable ancient skills, royal families, tradition beliefs and traditional way of ruling, are some of the artifacts found in the National Museum. A unique chance to listen to music related to the early kingdoms of Burundi is offered in Gishora Drum Sanctuary.

    In these legendary hills lies amazing secrets of the ancient kingdoms; Kiganda, a small town in Muramvya is a Burundian Heritage site with two separate royal grounds.

    One of the sites is a beautiful park which is a historical sanctuary containing all details about signing the Treaty between Germans and King Mwezi Gisabo who was the traditional ruler during that colonial era. The treaty was signed on June 06, 1903 and then that date was seen as the official colonial era.

    The other site is the royal inauguration grounds where the Kings Mutaga Mbikije,Mwezi Gisabo and many other ancient political kings were inaugurated.In order for these important occasions to be always remembered, inauguration trees have been planted since many years back. These trees are a very important landmark in the history of Burundi hence they are well protected and the whole venue where the inauguration took place in those early days is well maintained.

    Touring this site is an incredible chance for one to enjoy the Burundian ancient royal walk on elegant, well kept royal grounds.

    Inaguration tree in Kiganda
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Trusting a Travel Agent

    by inamahoro Written Jul 31, 2013

    Today, with the overwhelming number of sources for travel information (the Internet, cable television, newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, etc.), it’s no wonder the consumer is confused. Yet that is precisely why the services of a professional travel consultant are more valuable than ever.
    People know travel agents beat consumers at uncovering the best airfares.
    It is much more than the "lowest fare" that provides the compelling argument for a good travel agent. The best thing an agent can do is to match up travelers with the vacation that’s right for them.

    The professional travel consultant builds relationships with their clients to learn their interests and lifestyles, as well as their dispositions. Below is a list of some of the important services, which are either provided free or for a nominal charge, by travel agents:

    1. Distilling the product information:

    2. Investigating and supplying competitive information:

    3. Staying abreast of the most current and timely promotions:

    4. Analyzing the current promotions: the cheapest is not always the best.

    5. Clarifying the fine print, such as cancellation penalties and restrictions:

    6. Making recommendations for travel-related options:

    7. Simplifying the research and subsequent transaction:

    8. Enhancing the trip with value-added benefits and amenities:

    9. Using their clout to obtain the best possible in seemingly impossible situations:

    10. Getting problems resolved:

    I hope you’ll consider sharing this information in future with great interest.

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    "Dr Livingstone, I presume?"

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 22, 2013

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    “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”

    Perhaps Burundi’s greatest historical claim to fame is that it provided the backdrop for great explorers of the Victorian era to meet. In fact the shores of Lake Tanganyika provided the setting for not one, but two meetings between these travel titans: the meetings between David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, and a subsequent encounter between Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke.

    The meeting between Stanley and Livingstone is best known for one of the famous conversational openers of all time: “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” Not that there would have been much mistaking the grizzled and taciturn Scottish missionary in his trademark peaked cap for anyone else in these parts, but to be fair to Stanley, he’d been tracking the good doctor down for some time, and by that point, Livingstone hadn’t been seen by a Westerner in over four years.

    The Burundian travel industry would have you believe that this famous meeting took place in Mugere, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika and less than 20km from Bujumbura. This is a tempting claim to fame, but sadly they’re being economical with the truth: although Livingstone and Stanley did meet here, it was actually a reunion, since they had first met – and exchanged this historic greeting - in Ujiji (now in Tanzania) in November 1871.

    Nonetheless, Livingstone and Stanley – who apparently got on rather well - did meet here again, and spent a couple of weeks in each other’s company. The spot is marked by a large rock with a very simple inscription of their names and the date in odd, angular script.

    The rock may be the main drawcard, but arguable more impressive is the gorgeous view out over Lake Tanzania.

    The rock is located in an elevated spot only a couple of hundred metres off the main road along the lakeside, but at the time of our visit (March 2013), it wasn’t well signposted. Follow the directions below, and if needs be, ask one of the local people to help you find it by asking for, “La roche de Livingstone, s’il vous plait?”.

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    The bamboozling floating islands of Lake Dogodogo

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 20, 2013

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    It’s fair to say that when you consider lakes in Burundi, it’s more likely that it’s Lake Tanganyika rather than Lake Dogodogo comes to mind. However, if you’re driving north out of Bujumbura towards the Rwandan border and fancy a break, then Lake Dogodogo is probably worth a brief detour off the main road (less than 1km) , if only for the bragging rights that accrue from ticking off places with outlandish names.

    Lake Dogodogo - which, despite its name, has no obvious canine connection - is a small, shallow lake punctuated by islands of reeds. What’s most unnerving is that these islands are actually free floating and once a breeze gets up, these things scuttle surprisingly fast across the lake surface.

    There is a modest hotel on the lake shore, which is probably the best place to stop for a drink and something to eat in this area: however, beware that it caters to the ‘local’ - as opposed to ‘international’ - market and seems to have limited opening hours (we visited in mid afternoon, for instance, and it wasn’t open as ‘the boss’ wasn’t there).

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    Lake Dogodogo: mess about in boats at your peril

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 20, 2013

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    There are a few fishermen who operate on Lake Dogodogo, so if you're game, you may be able to negotiate a trip out in a dugout canoe hollowed out from a tree trunk. If so, bear in mind that these things don’t have a keel, and their flat bottoms mean that the slightest weight redistribution in the canoe can result in alarming instability.

    Even if the prospect of a dip or a paddle seems irresistibly tempting as an antidote to Burundi’s unrelenting humidity, this lake – like most other open water bodies in the region – is almost certainly bilharzia-ridden, so veer on the side of caution and avoid contact with the water where possible.

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    Rub shoulders with Buj's equestrian community

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 20, 2013

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    It probably wouldn’t be the obvious location for a newcomer to town, but one of the nicest places in Bujumbura to enjoy a sundowner is at the Equestrian Club (Cercle Hippique).

    The club itself predates World War II and is best described as a somewhat rundown hacienda. During the week, it is the haunt of former Burundian cabinet ministers who gather to chew the fat over sundowners. Over weekends (and particularly on Friday evenings), it is a magnet for the expat community who gather with their families to celebrate the end of the working week over a few drinks and a bite to eat.

    The horses and facilities are excellent, and if you like to ride, it’s well worth booking yourself a lesson which will cost you a fraction of what you’d pay in Europe or North America. Our daughter has only been riding a few months but was keen as mustard to give it a go, and certainly met her match in both instructor and horse.

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    An unexpected place for a Greek Orthodox church

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 20, 2013

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    Of all the landmarks in Bujumbura (by my admission, a fairly modest haul), the most unexpected was the large and very beautiful Greek Orthodox church, which is undoubtedly the most impressive place of worship in the city.

    Apparently Bujumbura used to have a sizeable Greek community which justified the construction of such a large church. However, their numbers have declined over the years, and the Greek community is no longer the force in Buj expat society that it once was.

    Burundi has quite a varied religious profile, with a Christian (dominantly Catholic) majority and a sizeable Muslim community. In common with other African nations, mainstream Christianity has been ‘customised’ to accommodate local cultural beliefs, most notably elements of ancestor worship.

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    Share a view enjoyed by Livingstone and Stanley

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 20, 2013

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    Lake Tanganyika occupies a narrow trough along the western limb of the Rift Valley, and is sharply defined by mountains that rear steeply up on either side.

    It would therefore seem logical that if you’re looking for a daytrip out of Bujumbura, a drive south on the main road along Lake Tanganyika is an obvious bet. Whilst it’s certainly possible, to be honest the drive along the shoreline can be a bit of an anticlimax: for much of the distance, the road doesn’t hug the lakeside, so uninterrupted views of the lake are not guaranteed, and the shoreline doesn’t offer much in the way of beaches or other scenic spots.

    One notable exception is the view from the rock where Livingstone met Stanley at Mugere (about 12km south of Buj), which offers a glorious view out over a meandering river as it wends its way to discharge into the lake. It’s a lush and richly coloured composition against a dramatic backdrop of moody, misty mountains and pretty well everything that you could hope for in a tropical vista – one more reason to be sure to stop here!

    If you have a day to spare in Buj and fancy exploring the surrounding area, the nicest way to spend it is to head inland to the southern source of the Nile (a lovely drive, even if the spring itself is amusingly anticlimactic) and then return to Buj along the lake road.

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Burundi Things to Do

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