Eco-friendly travel guide to Burundi advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Burundi, Burundi.
- Air quality: 1.5 / 5
- Bus connections: 5 / 5
- Train connections: 0 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 3 / 5
- National parks: 5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2.5 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $100
- Budget per day: US$30 - $100
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
A place does not have to be the richest before you visit it. Many areas make the perfect holiday destination for various reasons.
Taking a trip to Burundi may seem out of place for some people because it is one of the world’s poorest cities. However, the locals are warm and full of life. Thus, you are sure to have an enjoyable time.
Being a responsible traveler in this country includes doing things and activities that sell Burundi in a good light. It will help if you buy stuff from the local vendors to increase their sales and more.
Air Quality and Pollution
It is best not to have high expectations when traveling to Burundi as it is a struggling country. But that does not mean tourists should not visit this country.
This place’s air quality is one of the reasons it has a low inflow of foreigners. When visiting Burundi, you are sure to experience low air quality.
The people of this area usually engage in activities that endanger the air and environment. As a foreigner, it might affect your health as you are not used to such air quality.
It is why we always advise foreigners to take along all their health essentials when going to Burundi.
Respect the Culture
You may find it hard settling into the Burundian system. We see that foreigners usually ask what it takes to be respectful in Burundi.
The first thing we say is that you should not look down on the locals. There are high possibilities that you may be more affluent than some of the people you will meet. However, it would help if you do not treat them any differently.
To get along with Burundi’s people, you should treat everyone with equal respect. It also comes in handy to learn some of their culture and traditions. It helps to ensure that you do not carry out contradictory actions.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Burundi might be a poor country, but it has rich places to visit.
Here are some of them:
- Akanyaru: It is a local river in Burundi that rises from Rwanda and flows through Burundi. Visiting this place lets you enjoy a natural environment. There are different things you can do here. Some people use it as a place to relax through birdwatching. We assure you that you will love the experience.
- Musée Vivant: We can say that this place serves as both a zoo and a museum. You can visit it any day, but weekends are usually more fun as you can meet other people. There might a language barrier, but the tour guides are generally versatile, and we are sure you will see someone who knows your language. It is usually a pleasant experience as you can also get things from the gift shop.
- Gishora Drum Sanctuary: It will be wrong to visit Burundi without enjoying some cultural exhibitions and performances. At this place, you get an entirely local experience as you can also hear some of their stories. It is easy to lose track of time at this place. Interestingly, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Mount Heha: We usually encourage foreigners to take up challenges when in a new place. It is the only way you can have fun and keep yourself busy. One challenge you can take up is climbing to the country’s highest point, which is this mountain. It is located in the Bujumbura Rural province of Burundi and gives exquisite views.
- Bururi Forest Nature Reserve: If you are looking to enjoy Burundi’s natural scenery, it will come in handy to visit this place. It has a lot to offer, and the environment is soothing. You are sure to have a relaxing time at this place and learn something new about the area. It should be on your list of places to visit.
- Chutes de la Karera Falls: We are sure that you will love everything about this place, starting from its beautiful scenery. Its lush vegetation and green hills make it a perfect place to take pictures and make memories. One of the top highlights of this place is its waterfalls. It has three levels of waterfalls, and many people love to hang out at this place.
- Mount Kikizi: Although it is not the tallest or highest mountain in Burundi, it is a close contender. You will enjoy visiting this mountain as it also has a spring. You can go there alone or in a group. However, it is sure that you will have a swell time. We are confident you will be eager to make return visits.
- Regina Mundi Cathedral: You might be wondering why we added a church to the list of top places to visit in Burundi. However, this place serves as a top tourist attraction due to its architectural features. It is impossible to pass this place without taking a second look. People are usually in awe when they visit. We know that you will also love this cathedral.
If you do not have plans to explore different areas when you are in Burundi, you are wrong. What then will be the essence of your visit?
The best way to enjoy a place is when you are up to exploring its various areas. Some people may say that it is best not to have high expectations when visiting Burundi as it is a growing country. We agree with this claim.
However, allow us to tell you that Burundi has many places for you to explore. Thus, you cannot have a dull moment when you visit. Instead, you will be in awe of the sights and have nothing but pleasant reviews.
You can start exploring a new place by visiting its city parks. These are places where one can relax, have fun with friends, and do much more.
We cannot say that there are many city parks in Burundi. However, the available gardens in this country also classify as city parks.
A city park in Burundi is:
- Jardin Public Bujumbura: It could be that you are seeking an outdoor area to relax. It could also be that you want to go jogging or take a walk. All these are possible at this place. It comes in handy that it is always clean and peaceful even though it is a public park. It is a great place to explore.
Taking a drift from exploring city parks, you can also explore national parks.
Some of them in Burundi are:
- Rusizi National Park: The cleanliness of this place is one of its top highlights. You get to be in touch with nature without any hindrance. It also comes in handy that there is a tour guide. Thus, you can get all the information you desire about this place.
- Kibira National Park: Taking a hike at this place is one of the most fantastic things you can do in Burundi. You also get to see some animals like birds and hippos. It is an excellent place to explore in the country.
There is also the idea of exploring beaches when you are in Burundi. It will be safe not to have high expectations about the beaches in the country. However, we are also sure that you will have exciting activities you can use and keep busy.
Some of the beaches in Burundi are:
- Saga Plage Beach: It is a beautiful beach with white sands in Burundi. Interestingly, it also has accommodation facilities. It is safe to say that it is one of the oldest beaches in Burundi. There are also restaurants on this beach. You are sure to meet people and have fun when visiting.
We know that for many foreigners, it will be their first time visiting Burundi. Thus, they need a guide when moving around.
Suppose you do not have money to pay for a tour guide. Or it could be that there are some situations where having a tour guide will not work. You will need to figure out how to move around within the country without missing your way.
This is where knowing the landmarks in the area comes in handy. Once you know the different landmarks, figuring your way will be easier. Some of the landmarks in Burundi are:
- Livingston-Stanley Monument
- Unity Monument
- Gishora Drum Sanctuary
There is also the option of exploring the museums in a country when you visit. When you do this, you get to learn more about the area.
For a place like Burundi, it is possible to see all its museums before leaving as there are only 4 in the country. Thus, you can take it as a challenge.
Some of these museums are:
- National Museum of Gitega: This museum was founded in 1955 and is the largest in the country. It is the perfect place for anyone to learn about Burundi’s history. You can also familiarize yourself with their artwork. Visiting this place is always a pleasant experience.
Why don’t we talk about the delicious delicacies in Burundi?
After all, we hope you do not think that you can stay in this country without tasting any of its traditional local meals.
There are many food options in Burundi, and one of them is Marahagwe. It is a type of local food that you will enjoy eating. Most times, we see foreigners requesting more of it.
We also advise that you try their chicken stew which they call Boko Boko Hares. Or, you can decide to go for their fried beans which they call Ibiharage.
Whatever option you choose, it will be a delight to your tastebuds.
The ideal place to get any of these meals is at a traditional local restaurant, and there are many of these options in the country.
However, you shouldn’t always expect to see something fancy when you think of the local restaurants. Sometimes, they have the thatch house outlook.
The worst thing will be to judge the food from the outlook of the restaurant. These places ensure to put in all their expertise into the preparation of these meals.
They also have excellent customer service, ensuring that you do not have any complaints. We urge that you visit these restaurants when you are in Burundi.
What if I am a vegan? Are there vegetarian restaurants in Burundi?
These are common questions for people with special food preferences to ask when visiting a new place.
Unfortunately, we cannot say that there are vegan restaurants in Burundi. This is not to say that you cannot find suitable vegetarian meals in the country.
Instead of seeing vegetarian restaurants, you can get regular restaurants with foods prepared to a vegan’s preference. Thus, you can be on the outlook for such restaurants.
It may prove challenging to find, but you will eventually get a place, especially when you ask the locals.
If you love to eat light meals, we know that you will be craving to know Burundi’s available street food options.
The majority of the street food options you will see in this country are regular snacks that you already know. Food items like pies and cake are the top street foods in Burundi.
Since they are called street foods, you can be sure that it is not hard to get them. You can get them from kiosks on the roadside, or you may even see someone who is hawking it on a tray or pushing a wheelbarrow with these street foods. Thus, it is accessible.
We do not know what you have in mind or your expectations regarding the drinks one can get in Burundi. However, we can assure you that you will see familiar options.
One thing to note is that there are no restrictions when it concerns the type of drink you can get in Burundi. It could be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It all depends on your preference.
You can get beer and wine in this country. You can also see fruit juices and fermented drinks. Is your preference gin or rum? You are sure you also see them in Burundi.
Thus, we can say that you do not have any issues when it concerns drinks.
Water also classifies as a drink, so it is best to talk about the state of tap water in the country you are visiting.
For those visiting Burundi, you will not get clean tap water to drink. Thus, it is best that you stick to buying bottled water.
We always tell people that it is best to be safe than to be sorry. Some people might want to drink tap water in this country, but it is a bad idea.
We do not want a situation where you have a health crisis or complications in this country. Thus, do not drink the tap water in Burundi.
If there are water bodies in a place, it is not out of place to engage in water activities. The activities can be fishing or kayaking.
Thankfully, you can engage in these activities when you are in Burundi. They are common in the country, and it is a perfect way of bonding with the locals.
When you decide to engage in such activities, you will have a swell time and never complain of dull moments. These activities add to the memories you will make in the country.
As a foreigner, your goal should be to have maximum fun while in Burundi, and you can do it through these activities.
If you love fitness, you might also want to engage in yoga while you are in Burundi. It is an activity that brings people together and also helps you to keep busy.
We cannot say that there are particular yoga studios in Burundi. However, you can find fitness centers or gyms where people engage in yoga.
Understandably, it is always better when there is a yoga studio. But you have to make do with what you have when you are in Burundi.
Yoga is an activity that also helps to relax the mind. Thus, you are gaining many benefits when you indulge in it. It will be wrong for us not to add it to the list of feasible activities in Burundi.
If you do not know the available accommodation types in the place you are visiting before you arrive, you are wrong. Where do you plan to stay? How do you want to know how to plan your accommodation budget? There are many things at stake when you do not know this information.
Thus, we always advise that people start to check for available accommodation options once they hatch the idea to visit that area.
Checking for this option lets you know some accommodation types that you did not know before.
We will help to highlight feasible accommodation options for those going to Burundi.
Staying eco-friendly should be a top priority for many countries. Although Burundi is a developing country, we see that they try to partake in some things that help them stay eco-friendly.
One of its is by having an eco-friendly hotel. It is can also be called green hotels. These hotels are not many in the country, but you can get an option.
It comes in handy for those who are conscious of protecting the environment. You get to enjoy many facilities at such hotels while ensuring that you are aiding the environment.
It is usually a comfortable option.
A green hotel in Burundi is:
- Hotel Dolce Vita Resort
Hostels and Guest Houses
We that they have to stay in hostels and guesthouses as feasible accommodation options in many places. In Burundi, it is more likely that you see guesthouses than hostels.
It is safe to say that these are cheaper accommodation options as they are not as expensive as staying in a green hotel.
A characteristic that differentiates hostels and guesthouses from other accommodation options is that you can share rooms with others. Thus, if you are traveling in a group, you do not need to fear being separated. Some of the rooms in a hostel or guesthouse would have bunk beds.
The guesthouses in Burundi have facilities in place to ensure that you are comfortable.
Most places also have the option of staying at an apartment when visiting. We would not say that this option is not feasible in Burundi, but it is common for many tourists.
We see that foreigners tend to go for other options than staying in an apartment. We do not know the reason for this, but it could be that the price of staying in an apartment is higher than others.
For research, we see that the available apartments in Burundi are as comfortable as other accommodation options. If you prefer staying in apartments when visiting a new place, you should not hesitate to give it a try.
What do you think about staying with a local when you are in Burundi? There are many benefits to this, starting with the fact that you get to stay for free. The process of staying with a local is called Couchsurfing. There is also a website that facilities this, allowing locals and foreigners to link up easily.
Of course, there have to be some compromises when you are staying with a local. However, it would also be a fun learning experience for foreigners. You get to have a first-hand experience of how the locals of Burundi do their things.
Couchsurfing is a viable accommodation option in Burundi.
Suppose you do not have much time to stay in an area, but you are curious to know its offers. You can use the camping method to learn more about the place.
Burundi is an excellent country for anyone to indulge in camping due to its perfect scenery. However, you should have a tour guide if you decide to go camping in this country.
The tour guide ensures to point out the dos and don’ts when it concerns how you handle the environment. They also let you know about some of the fun local camping activities.
Some people do not want to leave when they go camping in Burundi.
- Bujumbura - the capital and largest city, situated on the north-eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika
- Bururi - southern city
- Cibitoke - north-western city
- Gitega - the former colonial capital, the second-largest city, in the middle of the country
- Muyinga - north-eastern city
- Ngozi - northern city
Getting There and Moving Around
Another helpful information that comes in handy when traveling is knowing how to get there. This information helps to ensure that you do not have a stressful journey. In cases where people do not know how to get to their destination, they may use the wrong transport service or go to the wrong place. To avoid such a mix-up, you must know how to get there.
Getting information on getting to your destination also helps you plan how much you will set aside as a traveling budget. It will be a great mistake to overlook this important detail when traveling.
How do people move around in this place? How do they get from one point to another?
It is another question that foreigners usually ask. Thus, it is safe for us to say that every tourist needs information on how to move around when they are in a new place.
For those traveling to Burundi, we will help highlight the means of transport that facilitate this country’s movement. The goal is to ensure that you do not stick out like a sore thumb when you are in the country.
You will also reach a place faster and stress-free when you know how to move around in the country.
You have the option of walking around as a means of movement when you are in Burundi. Some people may argue that the country is not safe, so walking around should not be feasible.
However, we would say that all areas have their level of crime. It is why you have to be alert while walking around since pickpocketing is common in this country.
Apart from the petty crimes, there are no issues when it concerns walking around in this country. You get to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and you can strike up a conversation with the locals as you move.
Thus, walking is a way of moving around in Burundi.
Allow us to tell you that seeing people cycle around is a common sight in Burundi. Thus, it will not be out of place if you decide to get a bicycle as a way of moving around.
Once you rent your bicycle from a rental store, you do not have to wait for anyone before heading to your desired location.
We can say that the roads in the country are okay for cycling. You can either cycle as a way of moving around or cycle for fun. Whatever the case might be, the goal is to accomplish your mission.
Getting a bicycle from any of the rental stores is usually not expensive.
There is also the option of using a scooter to move around in some places, but we cannot say that it is common in Burundi. If you want to compare it to using a bicycle, the number of scooters is low.
It can be possible for you to get a scooter at a rental store. If you prefer to use it to move around, you can go ahead with the renting process.
However, it is always vital to know how to use this electronic vehicle properly before heading out with it. This is to ensure that you do not get into any mishaps or accidents.
Using air is a way of getting into Burundi. Since it is the fastest means of transport, we are not shocked that many people are interested in traveling through this method.
There is only one international airport in Burundi. Thus, you should expect it to be busy. This airport gets international flights from other East African countries and South Africa.
If you are not in any of these places, getting a direct flight to Burundi will be difficult. In such a case, you need to go to a country or city where you can get a direct flight to Burundi.
Using air is usually a stress-free experience
It is not out of place for someone to consider using a bus to get into Burundi. If Burundi has a road connection with a place, using a bus is feasible.
Although this method is no as fast as using air, it is usually effective.
Understandably, it is not from everywhere that you can get a bus going to Burundi, especially if you are on another continent. Research shows that there are only three countries where one can direct a direct bus to Burundi. The countries are Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda.
If you are not in any of these countries and desire to use a bus, find how to get to them and get on your bus to Burundi.
One can also use a bus to move around in Burundi. It is safe to call it the most popular way of moving around the country publicly, If you are looking to move between cities in Burundi, using a bus is your best option. During your movement, you can strike up a conversation with someone on the bus as a way of being friendly.
It comes in handy that using a bus within Burundi is not expensive. Thus, it will be best if you do not fear or worry as it will not create a big dent in your account.
It is best always to remember that you can use a bus to move around in Burundi.
It will not be out of place for anyone to consider using a train to get into Burundi or moving around. However, this will only happen in areas that have railways.
If you have researched Burundi, you will realize that there are no railways in the country. Thus, it will be impossible to use a train to move around or get into the country.
Some people are usually indifferent about using a train and will not mind if it is the only available option.
Sadly, you cannot use a train in Burundi. If you want this experience, you can get it in other places.
Some people will say that a free way of moving around in a place is through hitchhiking. We agree with such claims.
If you are within Burundi and moving around between cities, you can decide to hitchhike. All you need to do is to negotiate with the drivers.
Typically, the drivers are usually welcoming to foreigners and will not mind giving a free ride. Thus, it will not be wrong for us to say that hitchhiking occurs in Burundi. You can also say that it is a fun way of moving around.
With the water bodies in Burundi, it should not be strange that another way of getting into the area is using a ship.
People are usually eager to try this method as they might not have experienced it before. Unfortunately, the ships do not have a routine. Thus, you will not always see them available.
People trust luck when it concerns using a ship to get into Burundi. It is usually a swell experience, and we do not want you to miss it.
Sustainable shopping is a term that should not be strange to foreigners. However, we see that many people do not understand what it means.
By engaging in sustainable shopping, you are buying the local items from its local vendors. It is a way of helping the country grow.
In a developing country like Burundi, they need all the support they can get. Thus, it is best that you have sustainable shopping in mind. It also encourages them to keep doing what they do and grow.
You can engage in sustainable shopping by buying things from the local market. The vendors of this place are locals of the country and will make inputs that help you make the best choices.
It is best that you keep an open mind when visiting the food markets in Burundi. It is because the food markets can get crowded and busy. It could be that you are not used to such a setting. However, we are sure that you will understand how things work.
If you have never bought things from a second-hand store, you should start when you visit a new place since the things sold at a second-hand store have already been used. Buying it helps alleviate whatever issues the owner might have that made them put the item up for sale.
There are usually many items that you can get from a second-hand store. Thus, we are sure that you will not leave a second-hand store without seeing something you love or desire.
Growth is a continuous process worldwide. It is why we now have what people call eco-fashion. It helps people to express themselves with what they wear. This can be expressed when you use recyclable materials to make clothes.
Eco-fashion has become top and commendable in many places. Sadly, the concept is not yet widespread in Burundi.
We hope that the locals get to later know about eco-fashion as it will go a long way. Some people say that you cannot go wrong with eco-fashion, and we agree to the claim.
We cannot say that there is an active recycling service in Burundi, but they are trying to make it happen.
Many people in this country do not see the need for recycling. Even those who understand the importance of recycling find it hard to comply.
As a foreigner in this country, you should be proactive in some activities, including recycling. It shows you in a good light, and the locals can emulate something from you. Thus, you should not always be in a hurry.
The scenario that plays out here is almost the same as what happens during recycling in Burundi. However, that should not mean that waste endangerment does not occur in the country.
It may not be at the rate you want, but we commend them for the effort they are outing into everything.
Burundi is not the cleanest country globally, but you can survive if you decide to live there. If you see anyone littering, it is best to caution them to curb such bad habits.
We hope that the country gets better in terms of waste management.
Work and Study Abroad
There is also the concept of working while studying. It does not happen everywhere, but we can see it happening in Burundi.
If you are an aspiring student of any of the schools in Burundi, you have the assurance that you can work while studying if you desire.
It helps those who are financially down and need to work while schooling. We can assure you that you will find a job that gives you the money you desire. However, ensure that working does not affect your studies.
We cannot say that students are usually rushing to school in Burundi. However, we cannot cancel out that the fact that it happens sometimes.
As an exchange student in this country, the people will treat you right. If you desire to be an international student in Burundi, you need to check if your present school does exchange programs with any school in Burundi.
Once that is in place, you are on your way to enjoying yourself while studying in this country.
As an exchange student, you learn and behave like a local, enjoy many performances, and more.
It is almost safe to say that the au pair system works everywhere worldwide.
With the au pair system, you get to have a job that can come in handy when you are in a new area. There is a website to this effect. It helps to facilitate the long process of searching for jobs.
Au pair jobs are usually domesticated, but you get paid. Thus, it seems like a fair scenario.
We would say that Burundi needs as many volunteers as it can get.
Check for a sector where you can be effective and be a volunteer. It is best to ensure that you make positive influences as a volunteer in this country.