The Best 7 Interesting Facts About Burundi & Travelers Guide

Location of Burundi

Burundi is located in the Great Lakes region in east-central Africa. Neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda Democratic Republic, Burundi has a coast with Lake Tanganyika. She is also called the heart of Africa because of her appearance on the world map. Bujumbura was the capital city of Burundi until 2019. On January 16th 2029, Gitega was declared the new capital city of Burundi. There are different claims about capital change, but it’s mostly related to the political condition in the country. The former Burundi capital, Bujumbura, had always been at the center of years of civil war in the country. The Burundi government believes that changing the capital to Gitega will help stabilize the situation in the country.

The Things You Should Know About Burundi

Burundi is a thin nation with an astonishing diversity of scenery, from soaring elevations to lakeshore beaches. Nevertheless, considering that the civil war broke out in 1993, only the most fearless voyagers have seen the nation first-hand. Aiming at learning and acquiring more information about this landlocked East African country from jogging bans to banana beer. Below we have a few more interesting facts about Burundi to get you started.

Facts About Burundi

Facts About Burundi

If you are planning a trip to Burundi, here are the interesting facts about Burundi that you should know.

  1. Burundi has two capital cities

Burundi officially has two capital cities. Bujumbura is the biggest city and main port of Burundi. Bujumbura ships most of the nation’s exports, such as coffee, cotton, and tin. Bujumbura is and has continued to be the city’s profit-making capital.

In 2019, the political capital was transferred from Bujumbura to Gitega by the Burundi government making it the latest capital city in the world. The city enjoys a more central location, unlike Bujumbura, located in the west on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It was also formerly the capital of the Burundian monarchy.

2. Burundi is home to the world second longest freshwater lake

Lake Tanganyika is the world’s second oldest freshwater lake, the second deepest, and the second largest by volume. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the only lake greater than Lake Tanganyika. The one record Lake Tanganyika holds is being the longest freshwater lake in the world.

The lake spreads across four countries, with most of it (46%) in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo getting a share of 40%. The other two countries that possess the lake are Burundi and Zambia. Lake Tanganyika’s waters flow into the Congo River system, ultimately ending up in the Atlantic Ocean.

This great lake was brought to the world’s attention by two English explorers, Richard Burton and John Speke. Their exploration journey was aimed at finding the source of the River Nile, arriving at the shores of Lake Tanganyika in February 1858. The lake was named Tanganyika in 1858 by Richard Burton and John Speke. In the end, they uncovered that the river Ruzizi in the north which they thought at the time to be the Nile, flowed into and not out of the lake. Their captivating journey has been documented in the movie “Mountains of the Moon”.

Much as Burundi might be a landlocked country, the lake offers an eye-catching and breathtaking coastline. Saga Beach is a great spot to beat the heat, with clean sands and warm waters enhancing visualness up to 20 meters. The lake is just a few kilometers from the capital too.

3. Burundi has wildlife-rich national parks

Burundi has three national parks.

Ruvubu national park

Ruvubu National Park is the largest national park in the country covering 508 kilometers. The park’s borders fall within the provinces of Karuzi, Muyinga, Cankuzo and Ruyigi. The park neighbors Tanzania in the south, the valley of Rubuvu River whose landscape dominates the area.

The Ruvubu National Park was named after the Rubuvu River which runs through the length of the park. The national park is the rearmost remnant of the natural grassland flora and fauna which once covered the limitless greater part of the northeast part of Burundi. It is home to several wildlife species, most notably hippopotamus, Nile crocodile, cape buffalo, Waterbuck, duiker, and numerous primate species. Roughly more than 200 species of birds were recorded in the park making it a haven for twitchers.

Kibira national park

Kibira is the country’s second-largest national park. Kibira National Park serves as a source for various rivers and streams which provide water around the country.  This area receives the highest rainfall in the country.  Kibira National Park has very sturdy forest vegetation and tourists have gone an extra mile to discover more about the mysteries that lie within the park.

The Vegetation cover of Kibira National Park consists of a Montane rain forest that looks across two vast tea plantations of Teza and Rwegura. The forest harbors over 200 bird species and it is ranked as the best birding destination in Burundi.  The forest is also home to the 98 mammal species that can be seen inside the forest and these have made the park a very extraordinary tourist destination.

Kibira National Park is famously known for chimpanzee trekking and the best time to trek these chimpanzees is during the short rainy season in September to November and the short dry season in December to January.

Rusizi national park

Rusizi National Park is the most famous of all the national parks in Burundi and at the same time, it is the most visited of all because it is enriched with wildlife & Crocodiles on River Rusizi. Rusizi National Park is also known as Parc National de la Rusizi

Rusizi National Park is located 15km northwest of Bujumbura, a few kilometers from the border with DR Congo. The Bujumbura- Uvira highway crosses the park and this divides the park into two sections. Rusizi National

Tourists will be entertained by a lot in this park as they can explore various unique species of flora and fauna and the environment also favors the existence of these unique species. Wildlife species in Rusizi National Park include hippopotamus, antelopes, and monkeys along with numerous bird species.

  1. Burundi is home to a notorious man-eating crocodile

Gustave the crocodile is an enormous male Nile crocodile in Burundi. He’s a notorious man-eater and it is rumored that he killed as many as 300 people on the Ruzizi River banks and northern shores of Lake Tanganyika, although this is very difficult to verify.

Local herpetologist Patrice Faye recognized and named the crocodile in the late 1990s after spending years studying him. There’s even a documentary film about the disputable living things called “Capturing the Killer Crocodile” which was aired on PBC.

    5. The government banned jogging in Burundi

In 2004, the Burundian politician Pierre Nkurunziza banned jogging. This is because, during the ethnic conflicts that occurred so many years ago, Burundi residents started the tradition of Saturday early morning jogging. This was done to persuade fearfulness and bitterness with the re-enforcing of government control, they would go out in a group and jog. Being fearful that it was a cover for sabotage, the president banned it altogether.

Residents who can’t live without exercising are therefore advised to either join a jogging club or register with the government. There is also an option of choosing from one of nine approved venues. Even then, you’ll likely need to endure some light questioning from the police.

  1. Local currency and local languages

The most common question asked by tourists is “What is the local currency and local language” of a particular destination. Well, in this case, the franc is the currency of Burundi. It is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes, although coins have never been issued in centuries since Burundi began issuing its currency. Only during the period when Burundi used the Belgian Congo franc were centime coins issued. Although Burundian francs are the local currency, hotel staff and owners prefer receiving payments in dollars ($).

Burundi’s official language is Rundi (Kirundi). This Bantu language is the standard medium of communication throughout the nation. Although Kirundi is the official medium of communication, people in Burundi also speak French and Swahili. Swahili is the language of trade and is widely spoken in Bujumbura as French is. Please note that Rundi is spoken by both the Hutu and Tutsi people

  1. Other tourist attractions in Burundi

In the third paragraph, we talked about the three national parks in Burundi namely: Kibira National Park, Rusizi National Park, and Ruvubu National Park. Besides the above-mentioned national parks, Burundi has a variety of tourist attractions as listed below.

Mount Heha, Gishora Drum Sanctuary, Livingstone Stanley Monument, Karera Falls, National Museum of Gitega, Geological Museum of Burundi, Reptile Park, Lake Tanganyika, Batwa Community, German Gorge Falls, Rusizi national reserve, Kigwena national reserve, source of the Nile among others.