Burundi officially the Republic of Burundi is a land-locked country in the Great Lakes Region. Burundi is one of the countries in the East African Community (EAC). It is located at the border of central Africa with Congo in the  west, Rwanda in the North, Tanzania in the East and the south. Thou in East Africa, it has most of the things in common with central Africa.

With its capital city Bujumbura, Burundi is about 28,000 km² equal in size to Maryland with an estimated population of almost 8,700,000.

Burundi is divided into 17 provinces. 117 communes, and 2,638 collines (hills). Provincial governments are structured upon these boundaries. The provinces are Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rutana and Ruyigi

Like most parts of Rwanda, Burundi is also very mountainous, with a western range of mountains running north and south . The only land below 3,000 ft is a narrow strip of plain along the Ruzizi River which forms the western border north of Lake Tanganyika. From the mountains eastwards, the land declines gradually, dropping to about 4,500 ft toward the southeastern and southern border.

People and Culture:
Most of the people in Burundi are the  Twa, Tutsi, and Hutu that have lived in the area since its formation formation about five centuries ago. Burundi was ruled as a kingdom by the Tutsi for over two hundred years. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany and Belgium occupied the region, and Burundi and Rwanda became a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi.

The country however had a lot of upheavals  and political unrest that was a result of social differences between the Tutsi and Hutu that provoked a civil war throughout the middle twentieth century. Presently, Burundi is governed as a presidential representative democratic republic.

It is estimated that 62% of Burundians are Roman Catholic, 10% Muslims and the rest are a mixture of people who still follow their traditional beliefs and other Christian denominations.

Due to issues of civil wars and high rates of corruption in the country, Burundi is one of the 5 poorest countries in the world according to United Nation’s 2011 Human Development Report with the lowest per capita GDP of any nation in the world. The country largely depends on agriculture with he nation’s largest source of revenue being coffee that contributes about 93% of Burundi’s exports. Other agriculture products include cotton, tea, maize, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); beef, milk, and hides. Some of Burundi’s natural resources include uranium, nickel, cobalt, copper, and platinum. Besides agriculture, other industries include: assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing, and light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, and soap. Burundi’s currency is the Burundian franc (BIF).

Education in Burundi is compulsory for the primary six years for the age 7 – 13 and the government attempts to provide for most of the costs of education through grade six. However, due to the civil war that ended in 2005, many schools were destroyed.  The country suffered extreme teacher shortages and a lack of access to educational resources.

Though with the similar model with that in France, the language taught in schools is mainly Kirundi and French. After the the manadatory six years of primary education, one joins secondary school for the seven year. The only institution is the University of Burundi in Bujumbura which was founded in 1960, and is illustrated here in better days.

Getting there and around:
By Air:
Burundi’s is served by Bujumbura International Airport that is the main get way into the country by air. Air Burundi that was the national carrier of Burundi ceased operation in 2009. The Bujumbura flights include Kenya Airways, Rwandair Express, Brussels Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and China Postal Airlines.
By Road: There are buses available in Bujumbura town to different parts of the country and to the neighboring countries. In the city, you can easilt fine only international buses to Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. Companies include Amahoro, Belveder, Otraco and Yahoo
By Water: Burundi can also be accessed through Lake Tanganyika

A valid passport and visa are required for entry. Visitors from certain countries: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania are exempt from requiring visas. Check with the Burundi embassy in your country before you travel. Visas are issued at Burundi embassies abroad and at entry/exit points as well. The cost is Transit Visa 40$ (72 hours), Single Entry Visa 70$ per month and Multiple Entry Visa 90$ per month.

The government and the rebel group Forces for National Liberation, which was the last rebel group to engage in negotiations, signed a cease-fire in May 2008, signalling finality in the 15-year civil war and the start of a new era of tourism.

There are different places to visit in Burundi. Bujumbura offers great relaxation opportunity with Lake Tanganyika. You can have a chance of visiting the

Out site the city, the country has different rivers, historical sites and monuments, people and cultural experiences and national parks. The parks  include;

Bururi National Reserve

Kibira National Park

Kigwena National Reserve

Lake Rwihinda National Reserve

Lake Tanganyika

Rumonge National Reserve

Rusizi National Park

Ruvubu National Park

Bubanza Bujumbura Mairie | Rural Bururi Cankuzo
Cibitoke Gitega Karuzi Kayanza
Kirundo Makamba Muramvya Muyinga
Mwaro Ngozi Rutana Ruyigi

Useful Info:
National Tourism Office of Burundi
P.O. Box 902 Bujumbura, Burundi
Tel: +257 22 22 20 23
Fax: +257 22 22 93
Email: info@burundi-tourism.com
Website: www.burundi-tourism.com