Burundian drummers
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Burundian drummers

© Creative Commons / georgie mott

Burundi Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

27,816 sq km (10,740 sq miles).

Population

8.7 million (2012).

Population density

312.8 per sq km.

Capital

Bujumbura.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from Belgium in 1962.

Head of state

President Pierre Nkurunziza since 2005.

Head of government

President Pierre Nkurunziza since 2005.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two rounded pins are usually used.

Burundi is a country of wonderful landscapes, from mountaintops to forests, huge lakes to tropical plateau. Yet this topographical patchwork mirrors Burundi's cultural patchwork, one which has interwoven both Hutu and Tutsi tribal strands, often with violent consequences.

Burundi's situation is improving. President Nkurunziza, democratically elected in 2005, is engaged in peace talks and has announced applauded measures, such as that of introducing free education. However, there is still a danger of indiscriminate attacks from rebel groups in Burundi. Until these incidents are fully quashed, many will miss out on seeing the beauty of Burundi for themselves.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 26 August 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • all areas within 1 km of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Cibitoke province
  • Ruvubu National Park
  • the road north of Bujumbura airport towards Cibitoke
  • the main road running west from Kayanza through the Kibira National Park

In Bujumbura you should take extra precautions in the areas of Kanyosha and Kamenge, where the risk to foreigners – particularly of opportunistic crime – is higher.

Avoid travelling by road outside Bujumbura after dark. This is due to the security situation and road safety concerns.

If you travel outside Bujumbura, you should get up-to-date local advice before setting off. There are limited facilities up country with little French spoken, and limited infrastructure. Make sure you’re as well prepared and self-sufficient as possible.

There is an increased risk of spontaneous political demonstrations, particularly in Bujumbura, as Burundi moves towards elections in mid-2015. You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they may become violent.

There’s a high risk of street crime, particularly while withdrawing money. There have been incidents of armed burglary.

There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Al Shabaab has made public threats against Burundi because of its support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

A long running cholera epidemic in Burundi (including Bujumbura) has caused several fatalities during 2013 and 2014. You should take necessary precautions and seek urgent medical attention if you’re unwell.

There’s no British Embassy in Burundi, but there is a Liaison Office in Bujumbura, which can provide limited consular advice and assistance. The Belgian Embassy is able to provide consular assistance to British nationals.

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