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Bujumbura

Travel Guide Africa Burundi Bujumbura

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Introduction

Burundi Child

Burundi Child

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Bujumbura is the capital and largest city in Burundi. It has a total population of about half a million people. The city is located at the northeastern corner of Lake Tanganyika and functions as the administrative, industrial and economic heart of the country. The city has become much more relaxed since the rebels and the government are living along in relative peace again, although very recently there was again some shooting by a rebel group which did not join this peace pact. It is not really unsafe for travellers though and the city has an attractive colonial centre, markets and both a cathedral and mosque and nearby is the Livingstone-Stanley Monument.

As of June 2009, there are no ATMs in Bujumbura accepting foreign ATM/credit cards, though Banque de Credit de Bujumbura offers credit card cash advances in the Western Union section. If you are heading to Tanzania, then the only place to obtain Tanzanian shillings is the market - none of the FX bureaux quote TSh.

Contrary to some guidebooks, Tourist Information is now (June 2009) on Boulevard de l'Uprona, a couple of hundred metres from the junction with Chaussee du Peuple.

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Sights and Activities

  • Colonial centre
  • Markets
  • Burundi Museum of Life
  • Burundi Geological Museum
  • Nearby Livingstone-Stanley Monument
  • Saga Beach offers beachlife on Lake Tanganyika.

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Weather

Bujumbura has a tropical climate with generally hot and humid conditions. Daytime temperatures average 30 °C while nights are around 20 °C. December to February is the hottest time and also fairly dry, just like the slightly cooler and dry time from June to September. April is generally one of the wettest months.

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Getting There

By Plane

Aéroport International de Bujumbura (BJM) is where the international flights arrive and depart. It is located near the capital Bujumbura and international destinations include Brussels with Brussels Airlines, Addis Ababa and Entebbe with Ethiopian Airlines, Nairobi with Kenya Airways and Kigali with RwandAir.

Air Burundi serves Kigali and Entebbe, as well as Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Fly540 serves Mwanza and Nairobi, while Interlink Airlines flies to Jeddah. It's better and often cheaper to fly to nearby Rwanda or other countries like Tanzania.

By Bus

Several bus companies (e.g. Belvedere, New Yahoo) offer transfers between Bujumbura and Kigali in Rwanda. The journey from Kigali takes about 6 hours (including border formalities) and costs RWF6,000 (June 2009). Note that if you pick up a bus from Huye (aka Butare) in southern Rwanda, then you will pay the same fare as if you were coming from Kigali.
There are also buses on a bad road between Bujumbura and Cyangugu (Lake Kivu).
To and from Tanzania, there are also a number of options to cross borders. To head into western Tanzania, there is a Buragane minibus - their office in Bujumbura is on Rue Science, just west of the junction with Boulevard Lumumba. The departure time is at 7:00am and it costs BIF8,000 (June 2009). It takes about 3.5 hours to reach Burundi immigration, where you'll spend maybe 30 minutes, then another hour to reach Tanzania immigration, where it terminates. Minibuses can then be picked up from here to Kigoma.

By Boat

There used to be boat connections between Bujumbura, Kigoma (Tanzania) and Zambia, but ask around if these are still available.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis between the centre of town and Saga Beach cost BIF5,000 (June 2009).

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Sleep

Budget

The cheapest accommodation appears to be next to Patisserie Trianon on Avenue du Commerce (go through the arch above which is written Ceprodilic) with rooms starting from BIF8,000 (June 2009).

Mid-Range

  • Saga Residence, at the junction of Chaussee Prince Rwagasore and Blvd Lumumba, is a reasonable option, offering en suite double rooms (with no fan or aircon, and only cold water) for $25 (June 2009). Internet access is free and there is a restaurant but the service is very slow.
  • You could also try the Pacific Hotel (on Avenue des Palmiers), charging BIF25,000 (June 2009).
  • Others include Hotel Botanika, Hotel Residence Ubuntu, Residence St Rose and the Novotel.

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

Postcard postage costs BIF730 to Europe and BIF810 to the USA (June 2009).

Contributors

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This is version 7. Last edited at 5:58 on Jun 3, 13 by Peter. 15 articles link to this page.

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