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Bujumbura Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Bujumbura

travel guide

Burundi’s capital, biggest city, and primary port is Bujumbura. It transports coffee, cotton, and tin ore, as well as the majority of the country’s main export.

It is located on the northeastern side of Lake Tanganyika, which is the world’s second deepest lake after Lake Baikal.

The climate of Bujumbura is tropical savanna, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The rainy season lasts from October to April, while the dry season lasts for the remaining five months.

Bujumbura, although being proximity to the equator, is not nearly as warm as one would assume owing to its height. The average annual temperature is approximately 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), with a high of around 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) and a low of around 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit).

It is located on the northeastern side of Lake Tanganyika, which is the world’s second deepest lake after Lake Baikal.

Bujumbura’s principal market is situated on Rwagasore Avenue in the city center. Markets in adjacent areas lost business to the central market in Bujumbura during the city’s major times of violence in 1972 and 1993, as inhabitants were less willing to go far from the City Center.

As a result, merchants relocated their operations to the central market, with many settling outside owing to a shortage of space. The central market, on the other hand, has the most diverse selection of items in the city, with merchants selling everything from food and sweets to new and used clothes, shoes, and consumer goods including soap, detergent, school supplies, and home accessories.

The best place to go online is an expat restaurant with WiFi, such as Café Aroma on Boul. de l’Uprona. Surf Internet Café (behind of Rusca Plaza, Ave. de l’Amitié) provides typically fast Internet on decent quality PCs throughout the day for people without their own device. Face@Face at the Waterfront Hotel is your best choice in the city center in the evening. Econet has been selling 3G wireless sticks since mid-2011, and other carriers are expected to follow suit shortly.

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Bujumbura | Introduction

Bujumbura – Info Card

POPULATION :  City: 497,166 /  Metro: 800,000
FOUNDED :   1871
TIME ZONE :  CAT (UTC+2)   Summer:   (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :  Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili
RELIGION :  Christian 67% (Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 5%), indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%
AREA :  86.52 km2 (33.41 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  774 m (2,539 ft)
COORDINATES :  3°23′S 29°22′E
SEX RATIO :  Male: 49.40%
 Female: 50.60%
ETHNIC :  Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%, Europeans 3,000, South Asians 2,000
AREA CODE :  2
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE :  +257 2
WEBSITE :  www.villedebujumbura.org

How To Travel To Bujumbura

You may arrive through the airport, which is located near the city. Visa regulations and fees are subject to change on a regular basis. As of November 2014, two types of visas are available upon arrival: a one-month multiple-entry visa costs US $90, while a three-day (two-night) transit visa costs $40. Visas may be requested in advance of arrival through embassies.

How To Get Around In Bujumbura

Taxis circulate around the city; you must negotiate the fare with them. As of early 2010, trips inside the city center cost between 1500 and 2500 Burundian francs; journeys to and from the airport may be prohibitively costly (20,000 francs), but there is nothing you can do about it. In town, a cheaper alternative during the day is a moto-taxi, which costs between 500 and 1000 francs each ride, however these were recently prohibited from the city center for safety concerns. Burundians mainly depend on the many mini-buses, which cost 300 francs to anyplace in the city center and 600 francs to the outskirts in mid-2011. Today’s pricing is possibly little higher. Minibuses servicing the city’s north end come and leave from the front of the central market (Marché Central), while those traveling south park in the market’s rear parking lot near the Interbank headquarters. As of 2011, the final mini-buses depart at 10 p.m. After that, it is not recommended to stroll at night; if you need to go anywhere, use a cab.

To hail a ride from the side of the road in any sort of vehicle, extend your hand with your palm facing upward. This is applicable to taxis, buses, motorbikes, and a wide variety of other private and commercial vehicles. Conductors of minibuses will honk and wave their hands to indicate the number of available seats. They will wave their hand with their palm facing downward if the bus is packed. Private automobiles are often used to pick up foreigners needing rides throughout the day. They vary in price from luxury SUVs used by white-collar employees to flat bed pickup trucks that need standing. While payment is not required for short distance hitchhiking, working-class Burundians often exchange money for little favors, so there is no harm in giving.

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Bujumbura

Bujumbura is controlled by a community council and an administrator appointed by the community council. Additionally, it is split into 13 communes:

  • Commune of Bujumbura Mairie
  • Commune of Buterere
  • Commune of Buyenzi
  • Commune of Bwiza
  • Commune of Gihosha
  • Commune of Ngagara
  • Commune of Kinindo
  • Commune of Nyakabiga
  • Commune of Musaga
  • Commune of Kanyosha
  • Commune of Kamenge
  • Commune of Kinama
  • Commune of Rohero

Prices In Bujumbura

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk 1 liter $ 2.90
Tomatoes 1 kg $ 1.30
Cheese 0.5 kg $ 5.20
Apples 1 kg $
Oranges 1 kg $
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $ 0.95
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $ 13.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $ 0.75
Bread 1 piece $ 0.65
Water 1.5 l $

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $ 18.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $
Water 0.33 l $
Cappuccino 1 cup $
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $
Coctail drink 1 drink $

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema 2 tickets $
Gym 1 month $ 30.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $
Theatar 2 tickets $
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline 1 liter $ 1.35
Taxi Start $
Taxi 1 km $
Local Transport 1 ticket $

Sights & Landmarks In Bujumbura

  • Musée Vivant, 11 Avenue du 13 Octobre(heading west, just before Lake Tanganyika — visitors must come via Ave du Large or Ave de la Plage, as 13 October is closed),   +257 22 22 60 82. 08:00-17:30. A small “zoo” and natural history museum are located here. Fish from Lake Tanganyika, birds, seven types of snakes, two chimps named “Kita” and “Joy,” a golden monkey, a leopard named “Jango,” three antelope, two slender-snouted crocodiles, and six Nile crocodiles are on display. On the grounds, there is also a genuine Burundian village. A guide will tour you around for around 5,000 Fbu per person. The guide may even be able to coax certain snakes from their cages and allow you to handle them or feed them guinea pigs. Additionally, you may give chimps rice and carnivores guinea pigs or bunnies. Hold a chimp’s hand, injure a snake, and enter the cage of a “Lacoste” Nile crocodile, all of which are included in the attraction. On occasion, the grounds host local cultural activities, such as performances by Burundian drummers.
  • Rusizi National Park, RN4, Chaussée d’Uvira (a few miles past Club du Lac, nearly at the Congo border). On the banks of the Rusizi River, see hippos and crocodiles sunning themselves. Gustave, the world’s biggest Nile crocodile, has also been observed in this region. Additionally, there are some wonderful birds to observe. A guide and a guard will accompany you in the automobile and give you a tour of the park for around 3,000 Fbu per person (plus tip). You will make many stops along the water’s edge to see hippos, crocodiles, and birds.
  • Livingstone–Stanley Monument (La Pierre de Livingstone et Stanley), village of Mugere, about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Bujumbura on RN3 (hundred meters south the bridge crossing the Mugere River). Although this is not the location where Stanley remarked “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” it does provide a stunning view of the lake. Stanley and Livingstone walked through the region and etched their names onto a big rock. Without fee.
  • Take scenic drives (within reason!) for beautiful views from the hills of Bujumbura Rurale to the east of town or along the shores of Lake Tanganyika to the south. Locate a bar serving banana beer or even a Fanta and strike up a conversation with merchants.
  • Cathédrale Regina Mundi de Bujumbura, Boulevard Patrick Lumumba, Rohero.
  • Monument de l’Unité National, Chaussée Prince Louis Rwagasore (Kiriri, up Ave Belvédère, entrance by the top of Monument). 10,000 Fbu for entrance + guide may request 2,000 Fbu tips “to drink”.
  • Mausolée du Prince Louis Rwagasore (Prince Louis Rwagasore Mausoleum), Chaussée Prince Louis Rwagasore (Kiriri, up Ave Belvédère, entrance by stairs on Ave Rurenda). Mausoleum dedicated to the national and independence hero of Burundi. The location of Burundi’s annual Independence Day celebrations on 1 July. Without fee.
  • Bugarama, Road to Gitega & Ngozi, where RN1 meet RN2. A pleasant sight overlooking Bujumbura, located 32 kilometers (20 miles) east of the city. The road ascends about 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) above Bujumbura (2,200 metres (7,200 ft)). Consume many “je m’en fout” brochettes.

Things To Do In Bujumbura

Beach

Uvira Roadway, Karera Beach (on Lake Tanganyika about 20 min from the city). A lovely beach resort.

Saga Beach, Uvira Highway (on Lake Tanganyika about 20 min of town). The beach is equipped with a restaurant, an entertainment complex, and a hotel. A pleasant area to spend some time.

Bora Bora Plage is located just across from Saga.

Nature

Burundi Association for Wildlife Protection (ABO). A local conservation organization that leads birding trips in Rusizi Park and surrounding regions. Several of their guides are fluent in English.

Culture

Consult local fliers for information about Burundian drummer performances, or just keep an eye out for a wedding event. Additionally, with the assistance of locals, you may arrange to visit a drum troop, take a lesson, and then see a private performance.

The Centre Culturel Francais (CCF), Chaussee Prince Louis Rwagasore, +257 222351, organizes several events (City Centre). Their offices provide a comprehensive monthly film, theatre, and music schedule. Additionally, CCF provides classes in French and Kiswahili (individual and group).

The Asiatic quarter’s Ciné Caméo (19 Avenue des Paysans) plays all the current films for around 2000FBu. The country’s lone cinema and a place to cool down on scorching dry season evenings.

Food & Restaurants In Bujumbura

Bujumbura residents like their meals and enjoy dining out with friends and family. All restaurants provide a beef or fish brochette, fries or fried plantain, and a fresh salad. However, take your time. All cuisine is cooked fresh and the chefs take their time. Waiting an hour for dinner is absolutely not unusual.

There are restaurants spread throughout town, but the finest are in Rohero and Kiriri.

Some restaurants worth visiting include the following:

Centre

  • Botanika, 11 Blvd de l’Uprona,  +257 22 22 67 92, +257 22 22 87 73.Small, European-style eating with an edge. Expensive. Excellent outside dining area, inner patio, excellent for weekend brunch, provides wifi. Popular with business, government, and expats, the restaurant is often crowded. Bring a bottle with you. 16,000-18,000 Fbu for the main course, 12,000 Fbu for the appetizer.
  • Le Bouteille d’Or (near centre of town, ask a taxi driver or a local). A simple beer garden serving a regional delicacy, meat “michopo,” tender steamed beef eaten with little bread chunks.
  • Le Cayor, Chaussee Prince Louis Rwagasore (Opposite Centre Culturel Français). Lunchtime is hectic. Burundian cuisine in general, but also Cameroonian cuisine.
  • Le Plaisir, Avenue de l’Amitié (beside Radio Isanganiro). A well-known restaurant providing Burundian cuisine. Lunchtime is busy, particularly if you want a table upstairs. Because menu items are not always accessible, it is recommended to inquire with the waitress. The Sangala fish with onions is outstanding, as is the stewed beef (lunch only).
  • Oasis, 14 Blvd de l’Uprona, Rohero I, BP35 (next to Havana), +257 22 22 31 16, +257 75 75 31 16 (mobile), e-mail: [email protected]. M–F 12:00–14:30 18:30–22:00, Sa 13:00–15:30 18:30–22:00, Su closed. On the town’s main street, there is a Greek restaurant and pizza parlor. Exquisite Greek mezze. 15 Greek specialties and 17 different types of pizza. 16,000–20,000 Fbu for meat, 16,000 Fbu for meze, and 11,000–21,000 Fbu for pizza.
  • Pont Muha (continue Bld de la Liberte till you reach the river Muha). The city’s best Burundian brochettes. If you’re famished, get the Hôtelière brochette.
  • Tropicana, Chaussée Prince Louis Rwagasore (Head 200 m East from Palace De L’Indépendance, 250 m north-west form central market). New and stylish restaurant and internet café. Burgers, omelettes, fruit drinks, and coffee are all excellent. Main courses are around 10,000 Fbu, while beverages are approximately 3,000 Fbu.
  • La Baguette Magique, Boulevard Lumumba Patrice. This is neither a café or restaurant, but rather an excellent bakery. It’s worth dropping by to replenish your supply of cakes/croissants.
  • Chez Michel. Adjacent to Hotel Tanganika. A fantastic Belgian bistro serving Belgian beers.
  • Fleur de Sel, Blvd 1er Novembre, Peace Corner Bldg, +257 79 92 87 41, +257 75 52 13 53, e-mail: [email protected]. 12:00–21:00. Excellent food. Each week, a new menu of three appetizers, three main courses, and three desserts is presented. The proprietor is a lovely Belgian lady. Additionally, they provide breakfast. After the closure of the original Safran, the proprietor created this eatery. 11,000 Fbu each dish, two 12,5000 Fbu per dish, three 17,500 Fbu per dish, plus 2,000 Fbu every dish in the evening.

Rohero

  • BBQ, Avenue Muyinga. The food is intriguing, and the setting is cozy..
  • Chez Andre, Chaussée Prince Louis Rwagasore. Super posh restaurant housed in a big, decked-out home. Service might be sluggish and unsatisfactory.
  • Shanghai, Avenue Muyinga (coming from the central market, take the Chaussée Prince Louis Rwagasore and turn left just before the Alimentation Escale du Bien – It’s around 600 metres (2,000 feet) up Avenue Muyinga, just across from a kindergarten. The finest Chinese cuisine in town. Service is lightning quick (in and out in less than an hour), and the restaurant is also open for lunch.
  • Tandoor, 22 Avenue de la Culture (quartier INSS, between Blvd Uprona and Blvd 28 Novembre),  +257 79 12 30 00, +257 75 77 70 00. Good Indian food. Quiet garden. Main dish: 10,000–13,000 Fbu + rice 4,500 Fbu.

Kiriri

  • Le Belvédère, Avenue Belvédère (Kiriri, up Avenue Belvédère, near the Monument de l’Unité), +257 76 66 00 89, +257 79 92 20 89, +257 71 43 70 19, e-mail: [email protected]. daily lunch and 18:00–23:00.Dining with a breathtaking view of the city. Additionally, lunch is served. The beef is tender, and they specialize in Asian cuisine (Japan, Thai, Vietnam). Expensive. 25,000–30,000 Fbu main course
  • “Chez Vaya”, e-mail: [email protected]. +257 22 22 82 31, +257 79 92 11 91. In 1989, a traditional Greek kitchen with a panoramic outlook debuted.
  • Kiriri Garden, Ave Belvédère (Kiriri, up Ave Belvédère, near the mausoleum of Prince Louis Rwagasore). According to Burundians, this is one of the most renowned locations.

Lake Tanganyika

  • Cercle de la Paix de Bujumbura (Cercle Nautique), Avenue de la Plage (at the crossing with Avenue du 13 Octobre),  +257 79 40 28 85, +257 79 40 14 89, +257 75 38 60 93. Perhaps the most tranquil area in Bujumbura. The cuisine is average, but the views (on a clear day) of Lake Tanganyika and the Congo (DRC) highlands are outstanding. As of late 2011, new proprietors have maintained the rates but brought a limited menu choices and bad service with them. Meats include 12,000 Fbu, whereas fish have 17,000 Fbu.
  • Kiboko Grill, Ubuntu residence, 3 Avenue de la Plage,  +257 22 24 40 64, +257 22 24 40 65, +257 22 24 40 66. A lovely garden setting at a nice hotel with somewhat pricey meals and a pool. Additionally, the garden is home to many turtles, peacocks, and resident Uganda Cranes. Specialty meats (“Jambonneau moutarde,” “Texas spare ribs”) and 14 pizzas are included on the menu. 23,000 Fbu for meats/fish; 15,000 Fbu for pizza.
  • Eden, Ave de la Plage (along lake, past Ubuntu). Excellent views of the lake. The best pizza in Bujumbura, owned and managed by a renowned Belgian chef who imports mozzarella directly from Italy.
  • Restaurant Tanganyika, 1 Avenue de la Plage, BP 109,  +257 22 22 44 33, e-mail: [email protected]. Mo-Sa 12:00–14:30 18:00–22:30. Restaurant Tanganyika is located in a magnificent 1930s art deco structure and is handled by a skilled Belgian chef. It provides some of the city’s greatest cuisine. Mains range between 18,000 and 25,000 Fbu, whereas Gambas may reach up to 45,000 Fbu.
  • Restaurant Hotel La Palmeraie. A charming new hotel with a garden/poolside restaurant providing outstanding French and international cuisine. Excellent wine selection, however dinners may be rather pricey (30-$40).

Kinindo

La Cervoise du Gaulois, Rue Mutaho. (Ave du Large direction Kinindo, cross Pont Muha, left after the green fence of Quartier OUA, first right. The Heineken sign on the left.). Closed Mondays.. A Quebecer-Burundian couple owns the property. The prices are comparable to those at Havana Club and Botanika. Gourmet hamburgers, steaks, and ribs, to name a few. Poured beer in frosted glasses. WiFi. Inquire about film screenings and National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey game evenings.

Shopping In Bujumbura

Interbank, Ecobank, Kenya Commercial Bank, and a few more financial institutions provide ATMs in Bujumbura that take foreign Master cards and Visa cards. nonetheless, Interbank charges 5000 FBu every transaction. Bear in mind that the Gar du Nord bus station has just one ATM, which is sometimes unavailable, so plan accordingly.

Groceries

The majority of necessities may be obtained at one of the Central Market’s booths. Strenuous haggling is required to get it at the best possible price.

Small supermarkets are scattered across town. They often stock luxury goods at a premium price.

Dimitri is the town’s main supermarket, located at the little roundabout of Chaussee Prince Louis Rwagazore and Avenue du Congo. Expect nothing too extravagant, although Dimitri does have shopping carts!

On Avenue du Congo, the Greek-owned ‘Boucherie Nouvelle’ is worth a visit. Always bustling, yet with a diverse selection of meat, cheese, and charcuterie. Opposite the butcher are merchants selling exceptional and unusual veggies, as well as wild mushrooms of all varieties during the wet season. Prepare for considerable inconvenience and ‘persuasive’ sales practices.

Souvenirs

The modest curio store on Avenue de Stade is the finest spot to purchase mementos.

Another tiny oddity market is located on Chaussee Prince Louis Rwagazore, just across from the St. Paul Library.

Nightlife In Bujumbura

Avenue de l’Universite (between Boulevard de l’Independence and Boulevard Mao Tse Tung) is lined with bars.

L’Archipel and Havana are the most well-known locations for a transnight dance. L’Archipel is located on Blv de la Liberté, whereas Havana is located on Blv de Uprona (around the corner of the Novotel).

Coeur d’Afrique (Quartier Asiatique, near Ciné Caméo.). On Saturday evenings, the outdoor ‘cabaret’ showcases live singing, which is popular with the college-aged population. Probably not prudent during the rainy season due to the lack of a roof. They often run out of cold beer in the late afternoon, although many Burundians like their drink warm. Food is provided across the street at the more tranquil establishment.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Bujumbura

Bujumbura is a relatively secure city, however caution is advised. While walking is OK during the day, after 18:00, the streets get quite dark, and you are better off using a cab, save for very short treks. At any time of day or night, there are extremely few police officers present. The area around the harbor seems quite sketchy at all hours of the day or night.

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