Burundi Guide
Some important information for your visit to Burundi


To a newcomer, Burundi (officially the Republic of Burundi), is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It is considered as part of Central Africa. Burundi's capital is Bujumbura which is westernized. The southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika.

In the countryside, Burundians generally wear loincloths and traditional clothes *imvutano* for the women and coat and trousers in tissue for men.

The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples have lived in Burundi for at least 500 years. For more than 200 of those years, Burundi was an independent kingdom, till the beginning of the twentieth century, when Germany colonized the region. After the First WWar and Germany's defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium. The Belgians ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. Burundi gained independence in 1962 and initially had a monarchy, but regional instability culminated in the establishment of a republic and one-party state in 1966.

As of July 2015, Burundi was estimated by the United Nations to have a population of 10,557,259 people. The population growth rate is 2.5 percent per year, more than double the average global pace, and a Burundian woman has on average 6.3 children, nearly triple the international fertility rate.

Many Burundians have migrated to other countries as a result of the civil war. In 2006, the United States accepted approximately 10,000 Burundian refugees.

Burundi remains an overwhelmingly rural society, with just 13% of the population living in urban areas in 2013. The population density of around 315 people per square kilometer (753 per sq mi) is the second highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Roughly 85% of the populations are of Hutu ethnic origin, 15% are Tutsi, and less than 1% is indigenous Twa/Pygmies. Burundi has the fifth highest total fertility rate in the world, at 6.08 children born/woman (2012 estimates).

Politics of Burundi takes place in a framework of a transitional presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Burundi is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly.

The cultural language of Burundi is Kirundi. The official languages of Burundi are French and Kirundi, all with the same weight.

Swahili and English are also spoken. Education for deaf individuals uses American Sign Language, introduced by the deaf American missionary Andrew Foster. No other languages are spoken natively in any significant numbers.

Burundi's culture is based on local tradition and the influence of neighboring countries, though cultural prominence has been hindered by civil unrest.

In April 2009, the government of Burundi changed the law to criminalize homosexuality. Persons found guilty of consensual same-sex relations risk two to three years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Burundian francs. Amnesty International has condemned the action, calling it a violation of Burundi’s obligations under international and regional human rights law, and against the constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy.

Traditional drumming of karyenda is an important part of Burundian cultural heritage, as indicated by the world-famous Royal Drummers of Burundi. Traditional dance often accompanies the drumming, which is frequently seen in celebrations and family gatherings. Some Burundian artisans have special songs to accompany different stages of their work.

Food in Daily Life

The most common foods are beans, corn, peas, millet, sorghum, cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas and rice for most city residents. The diet consists mainly of carbohydrates; vitamins and minerals are provided by fruits, vegetables, and combinations of grains, but little fat and proteins are available. Meat accounts for 2 percent or less of the average food intake. As a result, kwashiorkor, a disease caused by protein deficiency, is common. Fish is consumed in the areas around Lake Tanganyika. Meal production is labor-intensive. The cassava root is washed, pounded, and strained, and sorghum is ground into flour for pancakes or porridge. The porridge is rolled into a ball with one hand and dipped in gravy or sauce.

In some areas, brochettes and French fries ("frites") are a popular remnant of the Belgian colonial period. A national brewery produces Primus and Amstel beers.

Burundi has the University of Burundi. There are several museums in the cities, such as the Burundi Geological Museum in Bujumbura and the Burundi National Museum and the Burundi Museum of Life in Gitega. Adult literacy is at about half among men and about a quarter among women.

There are several wildlife and nature preserves, and the southern town of Rutana contains a monument to the source of the Nile River.

BUJUMBURA (The capital of Burundi)

The city center is a westernized colonial town. Jeans and T-shirts are everywhere. Part of the attraction are the national stadium, a large mosque, and the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Bujumbura. Other nearby attractions include the Rusizi National Park, the Livingstone-Stanley Monument at Mugere (where David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley visited 14 days after their first historic meeting at Ujiji in Tanzania), the presidential palace and the source of the southernmost tributary of the Nile, described locally as the source of the Nile.

Ferries sail from Bujumbura to Kigoma in Tanzania. The city is home to the Bujumbura International Airport and the University of Burundi.

Bujumbura grew from a small village after it became a military post in German East Africa in 1889. After World War I it was made the administrative center of the Belgian League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi. The name was changed from Usumbura to Bujumbura when Burundi became independent in 1962. Since independence, Bujumbura has been the scene of frequent fighting between the country's two main ethnic groups, with Hutu militias opposing the Tutsi-dominated Burundi army. Bujumbura today stands as an undeveloped city but remains to develop with its country.

Bujumbura features a tropical savanna climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Its wet season is from October through April, while the dry season covers the remaining five months. Despite being located close to the equator, Bujumbura is not nearly as warm as one might expect, due to its altitude. Average temperatures are constant throughout the course of the year with the high temperature at around 29 °C (84 °F) and the low temperature at around 19 °C (66 °F).

Established in 1964, the University of Burundi is currently the main public university with over 13,000 students in 8 faculties and three institutes. It provides excellent training based on quality education and wants to be a reference university in the Sub-region or even throughout Africa. The University of Burundi has already entered the BMD system (3-2-3) since the academic year 2011-2O12. It is part of the Great Lakes Inter-University Network of Country EAC (East African Community).

Other institutions in the University of Burundi

  • FABI (Faculty of Agronomy and Bio-Engineering) of the University of Burundi and houses research institutes among others
  • CERDA : Centre d’Etude et de Recherche pour le Développement Agronomique,
  • CERTA : Centre d’Etude en Technologie Agro-alimentaire,
  • CURPEL : Centre Universitaire de Recherche en Petit Elevage,
  • CRISA : Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture
  • IRRI ESA offices are located within the University campus
  • Source of the Nile river

    Vying with another small spring in Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda for title of the source of the Nile (the truth of the matter is that there's no one source), this insignificant-looking little spring at Kasumo, 115km southeast of Bujumbura, might be the southernmost source du Nil. In a nice touch, a stone pyramid marks the site, but unless you have your own transport it is almost impossible to reach.

    If you fancy a swim there are some hot springs a further 10km south.

  • Rusizi National Park

    This is the most accessible, and popular, national park, as Bujumbura is just 15km away. It's a wetland environment, and provides a habitat for hippos, sitatungas (aquatic antelopes) and a wide variety of birds. Tour companies and some top-end hotels in Bujumbura can organize half or full day safari. These generally include a 1½-hour boat ride along the park's river channels.

  • Kibira National Park

    The largest rainforest in Burundi is contiguous with Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda, and is believed to still be home to hundreds of colobus monkeys. There are also a number of chimpanzees present (although they're very hard to see). Accsess to the park is via the northern town of Kayanza (which had several places to stay of reasonable standard), but the park itself is fairly uncharted and you would do well to organize a visit through a tour agency.

  • Ruvubu National Park

    In the east of the country, Ruvubu National Park is the largest and the least visited national park in Burundi, although the recent creation of some camping areas in the park might lead to higher visitor numbers. It certainly has potential as a great park with its grasslands and riverine forests providing a home to waterbuck, buffalo, leopard and lots of hippos as well as over 400 bird species.

  • Saga beach

    Bujumbura’s Lake Tanganyika beaches are some of the best urban beaches of any landlocked country in Africa. The sand, though not exactly pristine white and clean, is still an inviting place to drop a towel, the swimming is safe and the water warm. The stretch of beach that lies about 5km northwest of the capital is the most beautiful and used to be known as Plage des Cocotiers (Coconut Beach). However, a number of resorts are located along the road and most locals now call it Saga Plage (pronounced Sagga), in honour of what was once the most popular restaurant and bar here. It's at its liveliest best at the weekend.

  • Institut Français Burundi

    As is pretty much standard with French cultural institutes the world over, this one hosts a diverse and exciting array of cultural events which take in everything from art-house films to exhibitions and food related events (it's French, after all). The website lists upcoming events, or you can pick up a brochure from the more upmarket hotels and restaurants. You don't need to be French to attend.

  • Musée vivant

    This small zoo won't win the approval of animal rights activists. In fact, it probably won't win approval from many people at all. Currently it houses a chimp, a leopard, several crocodiles, various snakes and some antelopes in cramped, dirty and exposed cages. The guinea pigs for sale at the reception are food for the carnivores, and if you buy one, you’ll get a graphic demonstration of the food chain in action. There's also a 'cultural exhibit' which consists of a mildly interesting reconstructed traditional Burundian hut and living compound.

  • Livingston & Stanley Stone

    This large rock allegedly marks the spot where the infamous 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?' encounter between Livingstone and Stanley took place on 25 November 1871 (Ujiji in Tanzania has a much better claim to being the location of this event, though). Wherever it was, this is as good a place as any to do your own re-enactment, though it'll probably be a solo performance as it's not too likely that you'll meet another tourist here. A taxi from the city costs a rather excitable 40,000 BIF one-way.

  • Bora Bora beach

    This place, with its whitewashed weatherboards, palm-studded beach, blue-and-white nautical-inspired decor and a huge terrace-fronted villa, is where Burundi tries (quite successfully) to be Ibiza. The big draw is the free pool and the chilled Caribbean vibe. On Saturday and Sunday nights the laid-back reggae and Cuban jazz give way to a mix of African and Western house and pop Location: Bujumbura , Burundi Address: Saga Plage Prices: meals BIF 10,000-18,000 Opening hours: 11am-11pm Mon-Fri, 9am-11pm Sat & Sun

Saga Resha (on Lake Tanganyika)

It is the best beach and the most beautiful of Burundi. He was well known during the Belgian colonial period and after independence, Burundians have also discovered its tourist value. This is a great beach with beautiful white houses of respectable size. The water is always pure and tourists, citizens of the city and people from other parts of Burundi go on weekends to enjoy the fresh air on Lake Tanganyika. They go there to swim, to enjoy the sun, or listen to music.


Apart from the Bank of the Republic of Burundi (Central Bank) there are 10 commercial banks in Burundi:

  • FinBank Burundi
  • Banque Commerciale du Burundi (Burundi Commercial Bank) (BANCOBU)
  • Banque de Gestion et de Financement (BGF)
  • Banque Burundaise pour le Commerce et l'Investissement (Burundi Bank of Commerce and Investment) (BBCI)
  • Banque de Credit de Bujumbura (Bujumbura Credit Bank) (BCB) - A member of the Bank of Africa Group
  • CRDB Bank Burundi
  • Diamond Trust Bank Burundi
  • Ecobank Burundi
  • Interbank Burundi (IBB)
  • KCB Burundi

Currency, Foreign exchange and money changers, ATMs and Credit cards

Burundi Franc (BIF) is the currency of Burundi. It is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes, although coins have never been issued in centimes since Burundi began issuing The unit of currency is the Burundi franc (BIF). Many mid and top end hotels quote prices in US Dollars but payment in local currency is always accepted. A few ATMs in Bujumbura accept foreign Visa cards (and occasionally Mastercard) but when travelling outside of the city it is advised to take all the cash you might need with you. In the capital a few mid and top end hotels accept payment by credit card but don't rely on this. There are plenty of currency exchange bureau (forex bureau) around the Central Market and along Chaussée Prince Rwagasore. Travellers’ cheques are next to useless.

Bank of the Republic of Burundi http://www.brb.bi is the only one which does the exchange from BIF to foreign money.

The time zone is GMT plus 2 hours.


There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms. Operating in a turbulent political climate, Burundi's media are subject to occasional government censorship and may practice self-censorship.

The law prohibits the media from spreading "hate" messages or from using abusive or defamatory language against public servants acting in their official role that could damage the dignity of or respect for the public office. It is a crime for anyone knowingly to disseminate or publicize false rumors likely to alarm or excite the public against the government or to promote civil war. It is illegal for anyone to display drawings, posters, photographs, or other items that may disturb the public peace. Penalties range from two months' to three years' imprisonment and fines. Some journalists, lawyers, and political party, civil society, and NGO leaders allege the government uses these laws to intimidate and harass them.

The constitution and law provide for the right to privacy, but the government does not always respect this right in practice. Authorities do not always respect the law requiring search warrants.

IRRI ESA office is equipped with an optic fiber connection 5Mbps/5Mbps.

Post box

University of Burundi, Faculty of Agronomy and Bio-Engineering
81, Boulevard du 28 Novembre
BP 5132
Tel: +257 22 27 84 94

DHL, BOLLORE, TNT, FEDEX and BRUCARGO are various courier offices in Bujumbura for sending urgent letters and packages.

Onatel (public provider) is the only local provider of fixed line telephone. Econet Leo, Smart, Onamob (public provider) and Lumitel are the local cell phone company. Offices are located in center town Bujumbura where Cell phones (or mobile phones) and local SIM cards are available in many places.

SMS and phone calls are inexpensive and many people use their cell phone over and above the landline for local and overseas calls. With a local SIM, you can purchase prepaid credit (ask for 'load') or open a service account with a network provider.

Education in Burundi is compulsory for six years, between the ages of 7 and 13. In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 62 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 37 percent. Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Burundi. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children’s participation in school. The government attempts to provide for most of the costs of education through grade six. An inequitable distribution of educational resources favors children in the south and central regions of the nation. Discrimination against females has resulted in differential access of girls to education. More than a quarter of the country’s primary schools were destroyed in the war, and many teachers have been killed. Teacher training has been interrupted and it is difficult to recruit teachers to provincial areas affected by fighting.

In 2009, the adult literacy rate in Burundi was estimated to be 67% (73% male and 61% female), with a literacy rate of 77% and 76%, respectively, for men and women between the ages of 15 to 24 Literacy among adult women has increased by 17% since 2002 Burundi's literacy rate is low due to low school attendance and because literacy in Kirundi only provides access to materials printed in that language. Ten percent of Burundian boys are allowed a secondary education.

  • babysitters and cookers for expats are paid 100.000 - 300.000 BIF (equivalent to 50 - 150 USD)
  • The gardeners and watchmen are paid 50 000 - 100 000 BIF (equivalent to 25 - 50 USD)

It is quite easy to find a place to rent in Bujumbura. IRRI has some contact with real estate agents that can facilitate the process.

Rent vary from some USD to 10.000 USD, based on the neighborhood and house facilities.

IRRI-Burundi Kitchen

The kitchen, located in IRRI-Burundi Office serves tea and coffee to IRRI staff only every day. from 9:30 am to 10:00 am.

IRR-Burundi library

The IRRI-Burundi Library contains a large collection of rice literature. It also has non-rice literature, reference materials, books, and magazines. It is located in the IRRI-ESA Office. Library hours are 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., from Monday to Friday. Everyone may use this library.

The best hospitals located in Bujumbura are

  • KIRA hospital

The other hospitals located here at Bujumbura are:

  • SOS dispensary, contact number: 22 25 95 00
  • BUJUMBURA MEDICAL CENTER Medical Office, contact number: 22 27 78 64
  • CLINIQUE DE L'OEUIL, contact number: 22 25 65 55
  • Polyclinique St. Marc
  • Polyclinique Centrale De Bujumbura
  • Maternité La Misericorde
  • Clinique Medico-Chirurg.Chretienne Jabe
  • Clinique Cesare
  • Centre Medico Chirurgical De Kinindo
  • Centre De Sante Nyota
  • MILITARY hospital, contact number: 22 23 20 22
  • ROI KHALED hospital, contact number: 22 23 60 60
  • PRINCE LOUIS RWAGASORE clinic, contact number: 22 22 38 82
  • PRINCE REGENT CHARLES clinic, contact number: 22 22 51 00

The pharmacies are:

  • SALAMA pharmacy, opened 24h/24h contact number: 22 22 21 46
  • SOCOPHAR pharmacy, contact number: 22 22 60 56
  • HORIZON pharmacy, contact number:22 21 39 06
  • LA DIFFERENCE pharmacy, contact number:22 22 23 32
  • PHARMACIE DE LA CHAUSSEE, contact number: 22 21 23 13
  • PHARMACIE DE LA MISSION, contact number: 22 24 39 48
  • PHARMACIE NILPHARMA, contact number: 22 27 65 09

When to go and weather

The best time in Bujumbura is between May-Sep, during the dry season.


Bujumbura International Airport is located about 12km north of the city center. International airlines still serve Burundi. Air Burundi , the national airline, has suspended its operations and now functions only as a travel agency.

There are other Air Companies and many other travel agencies

  • Kenya Airways (Hub in Nairobi).
  • RwandAir (Hub in Kigali)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (Hub in Addis Abbeba)
  • Satguru which offers tickets to IRRI Burundi as it is competitive
  • Manaf
  • Lucky Tours and Travels
  • All in one

Visa policy of Burundi

All visitors to Burundi, unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries, must obtain a visa from one of the Burundian diplomatic missions before entering the country. Until 30 April 2015 citizens of all countries entering Burundi through Bujumbura International Airport were able to apply for a visa upon arrival. However, they were then required to obtain a visa in advance. In October 2015 it was announced that the visa on arrival for 3 months at Bujumbura airport would again be available to foreign visitors. An Entry Authorization letter issued by the authorities of Burundi is now required to obtain a visa on arrival.


  • Comprehensive travel insurance to cover theft, loss and medical problems is highly recommended.
  • Some policies specifically exclude dangerous activities such as scuba diving, motorcycling, and even trekking: read the fine print.
  • Check that the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home.
  • Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
  • If you have to claim later, make sure you keep all documentation.
  • Paying for your airline ticket with a credit card often provides limited travel accident insurance – ask your credit card company what it is prepared to cover.
  • Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.

On April 26 police clashed with demonstrators protesting Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would seek a third term in office. People who protested were killed but from January 2016 there is relative calm in Burundi even though sometimes there are attacks from armed groups. You should however always check the latest safety warnings on your governments travel advice website before venturing here.

In and around Bujumbura

Sources estimate the Christian population at 80–90%, with Roman Catholics representing the largest group at 60–65%. Protestant and Anglican practitioners constitute the remaining 15–25%. An estimated 5% of the population adheres to traditional indigenous religious beliefs. Muslims constitute 2–5%, the majority of who are Sunnis and live in urban areas.

Furniture stores

  • Alcometal
  • Alpha CD Technology
  • GTS
  • La Belle Maison
  • Ludecor
  • Palais des Meubles
  • T 2000
  • Carrefour Buja


For your grocery shopping, we recommend:

  • Au Bon Prix
  • Belladone
  • Escale du Bien
  • Fée du Logis
  • Fido Dido
  • International Shop
  • Chez Dimiti
  • La Legumiere

If you are looking for souvenirs you could try this small object art shops, which stock masks, spears, woven baskets and wooden carvings. You can find them at "Musee Vivant" or close to "Hotel source du Nil"

Le Jardin Gourmand

Location Bujumbura , Burundi
Address Place de l'Independence Galerie Alexander
Telephone +257 79671257
Prices mains BIF 8500-16,000
Opening hours 7am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10.30am-5pm sat

This tucked away courtyard restaurant is a mainstay of the French expat scene. The menu ranges far from Burundi (and France) and takes in curries, brochettes, pasta, steaks, salads and what some say are the nation's best burgers. It's French-run and at times feels like a little France (all be it a hot, sticky one with banana plants).

The open plan kitchen is a nice touch and the owner likes to busy herself checking her customers are all contented.


Location Bujumbura , Burundi
Address Blvd de l’Uprona
Telephone +257 22226792
Prices mains BIF 16, 000
Opening hours 7am-10pm
Located in the Hotel Botanika, this excellent restaurant offers delightful dining under the bougainvillea-coloured courtyard trestles. The food is a fusion of modern French and Moroccan with African accents and includes delights such as rabbit glazed in honey, and lamb tajines. Understandably popular with the french expat community.

Kibiko Grill

Location Bujumbura , Burundi
Address Ave de la Plage
Prices mains BIF 18, 000-21,000, pizzas BIF 15,000-17,000
Opening hours 7am-10pm

Slap on some insect repellent and head here for tasty brochettes (kebabs), excellent pizza (half price on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and fresh fish straight from the lake. Kibiko Grill is inside the Hôtel Ubuntu Residence.

Chez André information

Location Bujumbura , Burundi
Address Chaussée Prince Rwagasore
Prices mains BFr14,000-17,000
Opening hours 7am-11pm Mon-Sat

Housed in a huge villa on the eastern extreme of Chaussée Prince Rwagasore, this French-inspired institution is one of the best restaurants in the city, with a white-tablecloth atmosphere and old-fashioned French cuisine.

Havana Club

Location: Bujumbura , Burundi
Address: Blvd de l’Uprona
Prices meals BIF 9000-15,000

Out the front is the trendy Balneo Lounge Bar with comfy leather chairs, mood lighting and private nooks. The Havana Club itself is out back and is one of the city’s most popular nightspots, drawing a mixed crowd of locals and internationals. The party starts late (at around 11pm) and goes until sunrise.

Tropicana Net Cafe

Location Bujumbura , Burundi
Address Chaussée Prince Rwagasore
Prices mains BIF 5000-9000
Opening hours 6.30am-11pm

This trendy internet cafe does decent light meals (toasted sandwiches, burgers and steaks), salads and soups in air-conditioned, classic Starbucks-esque comfort.

Café Gourmand information

Location Bujumbura , Burundi
Address Ave de France
Prices Cakes around BIF 3500
Opening hours 7am-9pm Mon-Fri & Sun, 10.30am-9pm Sat

This might well be the most authentically French patisserie we've ever encountered in eastern Africa. The delicate little strawberry and lemon tarts are miniature works of art and the croissants have just the right amount of flaky crispness to them. They also serve great coffee as well as salads and crêpes (after 10.30am only).

If you like sports, you have many choices:

  • Cercle Hippique for horse riding, Badminton, Pétanque and Darts;
  • Cercle Nautique of Bujumbura for aquatic sports and squash;
  • Entente Sportive of Bujumbura for tennis, swimming and judo, ...
  • Golf Club of Bujumbura for golf
  • Gymnase Club has a training room and swimming pool

Football is a popular hobby throughout the country. Many Burundians celebrate Christian holidays and Burundian Independence Day, though the largest celebration occurs on New Year’s Day with feasting and traditional drumming and dancing.

Burundi's transportation network is limited and underdeveloped. According to a 2012 DHL Global Connectedness Index, Burundi is the least globalized of 140 surveyed countries. Bujumbura International Airport is the only airport with a paved runway. The country has a road network but as of 2005 less than 10% of the country's roads were paved and as of 2013 private bus companies were the main operators of buses on the international route to Kigali; however, there were no bus connections to the other neighbouring countries (Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are a number of systems of transport in Burundi, including road and water-based infrastructure, the latter of which makes use of Lake Tanganyika. Furthermore, there are also some airports in Burundi.


Roads total 12,322 kilometres (7,657 mi) as of 2004, and only about 7 percent of them are paved and remain open in all weather; the rest are classed as local (dust) roads or tracks. In 2003, there were 24,000 passenger cars and 23,500 commercial vehicles. On paper there are 90 public buses in the country but few of these are operational. Transport is extremely limited and private bus companies operate buses on the route to Kigali but not to Tanzania or the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Lake Tanganyika is used for transport, with the major port on the lake being Bujumbura. Most freight is transported down waterways. As of May 2015, MV Mwongozo, a passenger and cargo ferry, connects Bujumbura with Kigoma in Tanzania.

Airports and air services

Burundi possesses eight airports, of which one has paved runways, whose length exceeds 3,047m. Bujumbura International Airport is the country’s primary airport any the country's only airport with a paved runway. There are also a number of helicopter landing strips.

As of May 2016 the airlines serving Burundi are: Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and RwandAir. Kigali in Rwanda is the city with the most daily departures.


Burundi does not possess any railway infrastructure, although there are proposals to connect Burundi to its neighbours via railway.

At a meeting in August 2006 with members of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, Wu Guanzheng, of the Communist Party of China, confirmed the intention of the People's Republic of China to fund a study into the feasibility of constructing a railway connecting at Isaka with the existing Tanzanian railway network, and running via Kigali in Rwanda through to Burundi.

Another project was launched in the same year, which aims to link Burundi and Rwanda (which also has no railways) to the DRC and Zambia, and therefore to the rest of Southern Africa. At a meeting to inaugurate the Northern Corridor Transit Coordination Authority (NCTCA), the governments of Uganda and Burundi backed the proposed new railway from the Ugandan western railhead at Kasese into the DRC.

Additionally, Burundi has been added to a planned railway project to connect Tanzania and Rwanda.

Minibus & Shared Taxi

Travelling around the countryside is not as dangerous as it once was, though things change quickly (for better or for worse) in this part of the world.

As in Rwanda, most major roads in Burundi are asphalted ones. Public transport mostly consists of modern Japanese minibuses, which are cheaper than shared taxis and not overcrowded. Destinations are displayed in the front window, and minibuses depart when full. You can usually find a minibus or shared taxi heading in your direction any day between early morning and early afternoon at the "gare routière" (bus station) in any town.

Car dealers

To buy a new car, contact:

  • Toyota Burundi on +257 22 22 47 49
  • Bonauto on +257 22 22 31 77
  • GTS on +257 22 24 47 46 / +257 22 24 47 47/ +257 22 21 39 21
  • Old East on +257 22 22 60 92

IRRI Burundi Emergency Contact

General contacts in Burundi
IRRI Bujumbura Landline +257 22 27 84 94
The IRRI-ESA Corporate Services Manager +257 79 853 339
The IRRI-ESA Regional Coordinator +257 79 676 915
IRRI HQ Office in Los Banos:
HQ emergency hotline +63 2 580-5600 2222
The Incident commander +63 9175009196
Specific Contacts:
Kira Hospital (24/7) +257 22 25 50 00/ +257 22 25 50 01
Clinique de l’oeil +257 22 25 65 55/ +257 71 212 221
The IRRI-ESA Regional Coordinator +257 79 676 915
SOS International +27 11 541 1047
Police secours 117
Pompiers/fire brigade 118
Municipal Police Bujumbura +257 22 22 16 57

In case of emergency, to call the IRRI-ESA CSM, if no answer the IRRI-ESA CR, if no answer IRRI Los Banos. In the latter case, give your phone number (including +257) and ask your interlocutor to quickly call back.

Provide the following information:

  • Your name, telephone number, location, what happened
  • How many patients, their name, age, sex
  • Patients’ description (answers, breathes, bleeds, heartbeat?)
  • Treatment already given
  • Nearest point of hospitalization
  • Nearest point of air evacuation