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Burundi is geographically at the heart of Africa and is a country of breathtaking landscapes, from mountain tops to savannah forests, huge lakes to tropical plateau. Most Burundians live in rural areas. Since the hilly landscape has hindered the development of villages, small clans live as extended families in hilltop compounds called rugos. Traditional drumming is an important part of Burundian cultural heritage, as indicated by the Royal Drummers of Burundi. Traditional dancing often accompanies the drumming, which is frequently seen in family gatherings and celebrations.
Day 1 Arrive in Bujumbura. Stay at Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel/Novotel Bujumbura/Source du Nil Hotel
Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for refreshment and overnight stay.
Day 2 Bujumbura City Tour. Stay at Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel/Novotel Bujumbura/Source du Nil Hotel
After breakfast, we set out to explore the beautiful capital city, a bustling town with a population of some 200,000 inhabitants. Bujumbura is the capital and main port of Burundi and ships most of the country’s chief export, coffee as well as cotton, skins, and tin ore. This area was colonised by Germany at the end of the 19th century, and there is still architecture dating from that period, including the Postmaster’s House. It is the largest urban center in this country and has industries like textiles, leather, paper, chemicals and agricultural products, Other attractions we will explore include a large market, the national stadium, a large mosque, three museums (including the museé vivant (Living Museum), a reconstructed open-air village displaying Burundian culture), and the Islamic Cultural Centre.
Day 3 Visit La Pierre de Livingstone et Stanley - historic meeting-place of Stanley and Livingstone in 1871, transfer to Lake Tanganyika. Stay at Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel/Novotel Bujumbura/Source du Nil Hotel
After breakfast, we drive to the Livingstone-Stanley Monument. La Pierre de Livingstone et Stanley is located at Mugere in Burundi, 12km south of Bujumbura overlooking Lake Tanganyika. It marks a location where explorer and missionary Dr. David Livingstone and journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley visited and spent two nights on 25th-27th November 1871. This is the spot where Stanley was reputed to have uttered those timeless words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” From their writings, Dr. Livingstone and Stanley’s visit to Mugere was described as being one of the most hospitable they enjoyed. The date 25th November can now be seen scratched on the stone monument. They had rested in Ujiji Tanzania for 6 days, and then set off by canoe up the north east shore of Lake Tanganyika to explore rivers which might flow out of it. At the Mugere River, they found the village of Chief Mukamba who welcomed them and gave them a hut in which to rest. They stayed 2 nights, and Stanley records that Livingstone’s servant Susi got very drunk on the Chief’s hospitality. As the first Europeans to visit the area, their arrival was memorable. This large rock provides awesome views of Bujumbura. Later, after lunch, we proceed to Lake Tanganyika.
Day 4 Explore Lake Tanganyika including Saga Beach. Stay at Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel
The beauty of Lake Tanganyika could make everyone fall in love with it. Here you will be seduced by the scenic and fun pleasures of Lake Tanganyika, where cafes and restaurants line the lake. Here, there are some opportunities for water sports, including sailing, waterskiing and fishing. You have an opportunity to visit Saga Beach for a refreshing experience. The serene and tranquil atmosphere on the Saga beach is extremely relaxing and refreshing and is ideal after a long, tiresome day. Saga Beach is one of the most attractive beaches in Burundi and also very popular with tourists. Saga beach is the most developed stretch of sand stretching along the coast of Lake Tanganyika, which is the second largest and deepest lake in Africa. Situated 5km northwest of Bujumbura, Saga beach has beautiful white and powdery sand and clean sparkling waters. It was previously known as Plage des cocotiers but later was named after the largest local hotel resort; the Saga Beach Resort. This popular complex has several large restaurants, and a brilliant beachfront bar that turns out cold Primus beers at bargain prices. It draws in huge crowds on the weekends, and the whole complex rocks on as a club by night.
Day 5 Transfer to Burundi natural reserve. Stay at Park Lodge
On this day, we drive to Bururi natural reserve. En route, admire Burundi’s diverse flora and fauna, from savannah to steppers, mountain forests to blooming fields. Gaze upon the monumentnear Rutovu, in Bururi Province, which marks Burundi’s claim to the source of the Nile.
Day 6 Explore Bururi natural reserve. Stay at Park Lodge
Bururi Forest Natural Reserve is a tiny patch of forest land and lies on the western portion of Bururi town. The reserve stretches to about 3,300ha of land and the rest of the area is covered in evergreen forests. Bururi Natural Reserve has at least 93 species of unique trees like Myrianthus, Strombosia, Newtonia and many others. There are also about 117 different species of birds and 25 different species of mammals have been identified in a forest land surrounding of multifarious vegetation. The Reserve has dry savannah areas and lowland evergreen forests of Congo on the east. Nearly about 1,200mmm-2,400mm of rainfall occurs here. Thus the Bururi Natural Reserve is one of the finest locales in Burundi and is genuinely meant for the wildlife and nature lovers. We will have guided walks along the botanical lanes and trails of this forest, where you will be treated to the cool breeze from the mountains densely with trees of various species. Evening entertainment by the Burundi Royal Drummers.
Day 7 Transfer to Gitega – Chutes de la Kagera, National Museum. Stay at Tamotel Hotel
Gitega is the second biggest town of Burundi. The city of Gitega is a peaceful place with peculiar beauty and exquisite charm. The route Bujumbura-Gitega goes via Muramvya (50km from Bujumbura) through wonderful green landscape. Stare at a beautiful vista of central plains and the expanse of the former royal city, Gitega, from the mountaintops of the Congo Nile range. Gitega has an exquisite charm of its own, from the Chutes de la Kagera waterfall to its National Museum which is small but very educational.
The Chutes de la kagera (Kagera Falls) are a spectacular series of water falls in southeastern Burundi, to the south of Rutana. They occupy over 142 ha being made up of six branches divided on three landings. On the first level is the main fall subdivided into two parallel branches of a length estimated at 80m which pours on a basin. This falls consists of several waterfalls of different sizes intersected with two platforms. Another smaller waterfall is located roughly 50m to the west of this main waterfall. Waters of these two falls converge on a second landing to form the third waterfall which pours onto the valley. Marvel at the misty waters crashing below! These falls were submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
At 1km from Gitega, the road reaches Giheta, an artistic center for different works. At Giheta, you will have chances of studying the arts and crafts of the Burundians: leather, ceramics, ivory and wood-carvings in the Craftwares Village, plus sculptures, wicker ware and paintings in the town's Art School. There may also be chances to compete in the ancient game of urubugu (also known as mancala). It is played with pebbles or seashells on hollows scooped out on the ground, or with seeds on expensive, elaborately carved wooden boards.
Day 8 Transfer to Bujumbura, departure.
After breakfast, we drive back to Bujumbura for departure