Trip-guide of Bujumbura, Burundi

Museo viventeAs all Trip-Guide this of Bujumbura helps you in the beginning phase and them she poorly left later on, when you shold know how to keep it on all alone. Have a look at my picture of Bujumbura here.

SHORT INTRODUCTION Bujumbura is capitol city of Burundi, small country of the region of Great Lakes for a long time land crashs and civil wars. Think well if and when to go, better to have a good support on the place, especially if you want to move in the country (currently is still difficult). Otherwise enjoy the country, small but a lot funny like its main city lay down on the shores of Tanganika lake. Dip yourselves in the nature in the mountains to north towards the Rwanda, than in the Park of the Ruzizi or to the south. Green and with a warmth, tropical climate (rather humid) temperatures varies yearlong between 18 and 28°C. Two important info : be careul when you change currency and then to walk for road… the Fas à  Fas exchange is good for this because it also has a bar – Internet point where you can enter and drink something making losing your traces; lately the city has become a little dangerous about this. And second: ABSOLUTELY DON’T SPEAK absolutely never of the problem hutu-tutsi because you could have some problems. The Burundi is governed from a minority tutsi (15% of population) practically all concentrated to Bujumbura and the situation with the hutu groups is still difficult…

GOING To BUJUMBURA By plane from UK to Bujumbura: with Air France and KLM from London with different scales on Paris, Amsterdam and Nairobi. The service is great, better than Ethiopian Airlines; unfortunately does not exist lowcost for equatorial Africa. A go-comeback ticket costs 1000 euro but sometimes you can also find it at a cheaper price. At the arrival is possible to get a transti visa of 1 month for 40$. Look out that the renewal conditions are much difficult and sensitive of the political-security thermometer of the moment. Obligatory to have the vaccin for the yellow fever.

ARRIVAL To the INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT OF BUJUMBURA The airport is small even if the slowness (typical) of burundians can makes lost some time to get out. The only choice later is to take a taxi, the race for the center city is common on 10$ (approximately 15 min). The taxis are well identify in blue and white, discute price before getting on . 1 $ = 1140 Fbu is the change used in city center (Fas à  Fas) and in banks (or two) with ATM, the air port has not both ATM and exhange office

SLEEP in BUJUMBURA Best choice is to sleep towards the city center city because outside there aren’t structures and it is not absolutely sure. In good position the Guesthouse Agasaro (46 th. Avenue, Muyinga), not too far from the center and easily reachable by taxi. The breakfast is simple but quite goodè, price around 15-17$. The best for quality/price. If you look for something a little better go to Hotel de l’Amitie (from 20 to 30$) or go up to the top at Novotel or the central Source du Nil. Get away from the Doyen for problems of thefts in the rooms and the Tourist Hotel, practically next to a bordel of low level with indeed little recommendable people.

EATING in BUJUMBURA Please don’t try to get the best exotic at low price because sometimes quality (and hygiene) is really poor and you could sick of health problems. The good restaurants are enough, rather different also. Let’s start from Botanika, Blvd. de l’Uprona, where you will have an indeed made afro-European menù. A little expensive, around 12$ but the quality is great. Otherwise in city center other good restaurants does not lack. There is one libanese practically in front of Botanika (on 7 $/meal) with behind a little hidden Senegalese typical restaurant, and close also to a little store of african handycrafts. A couple of chic tips: on sunday there is a great buffet for 15000 Fbu with a lot things, sorbetto (drinks excluded) at the Hotel du Lac Tanganika, on the road for Gatumba, where you also can enjoy the day on the beach (wonderful) and use the swimming pool (8 $) or sauna (5$) and it’s really relaxing. Second tip is the large morning buffet breakfast at the Novotel for 8500 Fbu where practically you can eat for the day and knowing the codes (is enough going the day before for 10 min) will be able to surf the Net for free.

TELEPHONES and INTERNET in BUJUMBURA Getting a SIM card is a good chocie; it’s not expensive, just 1000 Fbu. There are not so much Internet point, the two best ones are in city center; one is the Fas à  Fas the other is little over French Cultural Center (CCF). The speed rate is discreet but sometimes it gives problems. For a quick ADSL instead go to the Novotel even if is most expensive, 4$ 30min.

TO MAKE in BUJUMBURA in its smallness the Living Museum (2000 Fbu) and to organize one tour to the south. Otherwise you can rent a car or found someone in order to go to see the National Park of the Ruzizi. The aperitive the evening at the Circle Nautique offers one beautiful sight on the lake with sunset in a background of congo’s mountains, then express meal and just late evening in the city center. The most fashionable club is Havana, in Blvd. de l’Uprona, where the “Buja’s cream” passes the weekends and there is also a quite good presence of white men well. Beawre of SIDA as always… A little calmer but otherwise with a characteristic mix ok Africa and Europe the Kibira is not outside the city center, managed from Edoardo, an Italian in love with the Burundi. Get also a look at the events of the French Cultural Center (sometime interesting) and to the program of cinema CAMEO (really in city center) nearly new, in order to see some African films. Vista del lago con pubblicità 

SPEAKING in BUJUMBURA the language is French and beyond swahili; loot at me:speak French.

CONCLUSIONS Bujumbura is one capitol city but with the spirit of “great village” really in its city center but with incredible contrasts between the center and outside, like all Africa. Use also the city like base for some excursion in the country, always after have taken info SURE from some European. The evening is better to take the taxis because of security issues.