Burundi - The Heart of Africa
Burundi - The Heart of Africa
Often passed over in favour of larger neighbours like Tanzania and Uganda, Burundi has been in the shadows for a long time but is now emerging to offer intrepid group travellers a taste of a long forgotten part of Africa. Explore the vibrant capital Bujumbura, search for wildlife in Rusizi National Park and cruise on Lake Tanganyika as well as enjoying spectacular scenery, the incredible royal drummers and a culture as lively as you'll find anywhere.
Fitness ●●●○○ | Adventure ●●●○○ | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●○○○ | Wildlife ●●●○○
- Explore the vibrant capital Bujumbura
- Search for wildlife in Rusizi National Park
- Cruise on Lake Tanganyika
- Witness a performance from the world famous Burundian drummers
Accommodation: Comfortable hotels, private facilities
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary.
Group Size: 12
Start Point: Bujumbura
End Point: Bujumbura
Transport: 4WD and private buses
Tour Itinerary Notes
While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.
Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour. In the event of a small group of less than 3 people, you will be allocated a local guide at each location, and will not have the same guide with you throughout the tour.
Day 1 – Bujumbura
Arrive in Bujumbura and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax after your flight. Overnight at Club du Lac Tanganyika or similar.
Burundi’s capital lies at the north-eastern corner of Lake Tanganyika and, with an estimated population of 800,000, is Burundi's largest city and its administrative, communications, and economic centre. It is also Burundi's main port and ships most of the country's chief export, coffee, as well as cotton, skins, and tin ore. 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 centre of the Belgian League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi. The city's name was changed from Usumbura to Bujumbura when Burundi became independent in 1962. The city centre is a colonial town with a large market, the national stadium, a large mosque, and the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Bujumbura.
Day 2 – Bujumbura
Spend today exploring this intriguing African capital, learning about its history both before and after colonialism, and some of the problems that the country has faced. Later we take a tour through the suburb of Kinama, to gain an insight into day to day life. Overnight at Club du Lac Tanganyika or similar. (BL)
Day 3 – Rusizi National Park – Ijenda
Drive to Rusizi National Park, an area of wetlands that is home to Hippos, Sitatungas and a wide variety of birds. We take a boat trip on the Rusizi River and Lake Tanganyika as well as visiting a nearby fishing village. Later we head to the tea plantations of Ijenda to see how tea is grown in Burundi. Overnight at Club du Lac Tanganyika or similar. (BL)
Rusizi National Park
Not far from Bujumubura itself, Rusizi National Park is centred on the Rusizi River and as such is home to a number of wetland species including Hippos and Sitatunga. An area of the park consists of the channels and islands of the Rusizi delta as it flows into Lake Tanganyika. Set aside as a protected area of 9000 hectares in 1980, today the park consists of less than 6000 hectares, due to population pressures in adjacent areas.
Day 4 – Rumonge – Resha
We head to Resha, stopping first at ‘La Pierre de Stanley et Livingstone’, reputedly the site where the famous Dr David Livingstone and explorer Henry Stanley first met. At Rumonge we see how palm oil is made before continuing on to Resha for the night. Overnight at Tanganyika Blue Bay or similar. (BL)
Day 5 – Lake Tanganyika – Rutana
Explore Lake Tanganyika by boat and then continue on to visit the southernmost source of the Nile near Rutana, only discovered in 1937. Overnight at Rutana Peace Lodge. (BL)
Part of the Rift Valley lake system, Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world (420 miles) and extends into Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Numerous rivers flow into the lake, including the Rusizi, and in turn it flows outwards into the Lukuga which forms part of the Congo Basin. It is home to around 400 different species of fish including many cichlid species which are found only here. It was first ‘discovered’ by the explorers Burton and Speke in 1858 during their search for the source of the Nile, and saw action during World War I, when British and German forces engaged in gunboat battles on the lake.
Day 6 – Nyakuza – Kalera – Gitega
Visit the ‘Gorge of the Germans’ at Nyakuza before heading to the ‘Chutes de la Kalera’, an impressive series of waterfalls said locally to have healing powers. Afterwards drive to the town of Gitega. Overnight at Hotel Tamotel or similar. (BL)
Day 7 – Gitega - Kirundo
Visit the National Museum with its collection of artefacts, and witness a performance from the world famous Burundian drummers on the royal hill of Gishora – a sight not to be missed. We then transfer to Kirundo for the night. Overnight at Rama Hotel or similar. (BL)
Day 8 – Kirundo – Bujumbura
Take a sunrise trip by dugout canoe on the Lacs des Oiseaux in Lake Rwihinda National Reserve. After a picnic lunch we drive back to Bujumbura for your onward flight. (BL)
Arrival and departure transfers
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Any airport taxes