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The Republic of Burundi is one of the smallest and most densely-populated countries in Africa. The original Twa pygmies of the forests were joined by the Hutu agriculturalists after the 11th century, and then by the more war-like Tutsis and their long-horned cattle after the 14th century. The vast majority of the population is Hutu, with only 10% Tutsi and 1% Twa. Yet these statistics do not reveal the large numbers of people who have intermarried, or the regional loyalties that overshadow ethnic categorization. French and Kirundi, the standard tongue spoken throughout the country, are the official languages. Kiswahili is the language of trade and is widely spoken in the capital, Bujumbura. Most of the best-studied Burundian culture was tied to the royal court and centered on music and dance that extolled the virtues of kingship. However, the landmarks most typical of Burundian culture are the family compounds, called rugos, spread throughout the countryside. Inspite of the high population densities, people do not live near each other in villages, but rather in their own compounds composed of bee-hive style huts surrounded by a high hedge or reed wall.
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 overnight stay.
Day 2 Visit the Museums in Bujumbura, interact with the locals. Stay at Club du Lac Tanganyika Hotel/Novotel Bujumbura/Source du Nil Hotel
The rich culture of Burundi is deeply rooted in its own tradition though the influence of the neighboring countries cannot be denied. People mainly live in the rural areas and music, dance, poetry, etc are an inseparable part of their life. Museums in Burundi have a wide collection of musical instruments, weapons, and statues.
Musee Vivant de Bujumbura, as it is known in French, is an old museum quite preferred by the local people as well as the tourists because of its rich collections. The Living Museum is composed of the accommodation settlements of the Burundians and also displays basketwork, pottery, drums, and photographs.
Day 3 Transfer to Gitega – Gishora. Stay at Tamotel Hotel
After breakfast, we drive to Gitega in the central Burundi. 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. Musee National de Gitega also known as Gitega National Museum was founded in 1955. The museum has a variety of collections. The major collection of Gitega National Museum is composed of the musical instruments of Burundi.
Stop over at Gishora, the village of the sacred royal drums, where in a special theatre you will be entertained by the Burundian dancers and musicians. Dinner and overnight in hotel budget, Tamotel Hotel (E). FB
Day 4-5 Transfer to Ruvubu national park for nature walks and site seeing
After breakfast, we head to Ruvubu National Park. Parc national de la Ruvubu covers a significant amount of about 125,000 acres on both sides of the Ruvubu River on the eastern coast of Burundi, and is limited by high rise mountains. It was set up in 1980 and covers about 500 sq km hence it has the largest ecosystem in Burundi. The scenery within the park is incredibly varied with rocky hills, savannahs, and woodlands, and all types of footpaths that will take you deep into the rainforest. The track and length of the path network is approximately 100km and includes many observation lookouts. The lower valley of Ruvubu river (the River is home to a large number of hippos and crocodiles) is an open savannah, with swamps and forests. The fauna in this park is amazing with hippopotamus (from which the park got its name), antelopes, crocodiles, leopards, monkeys, lions, and rarer species like the Bohor Reedbuck, and many baboons, buffaloes and wildebeest. There are also more than 425 species of birds hence bird lovers will have a marvelous time in the park. Ruvubu national park aims to preserve the endangered species of animals and birds hence human habitation has been evacuated from the park and returned to complete wildlife.
Day 6 Transfer to Nyanza and Kigwena Forest. Stay at Saganianza Hotel
After breakfast, we drive southwards to the region of Nyanza, characterized by the large palm trees plantations and the production of oil. We visit the sites of the local palm oil production and interact with the people living in the area. We also have a stopover in Kigwena Forest reserve for a nature walk. Here you have chances of seeing monkeys including the owl faced monkey, and baboons, many birds’ species and butterflies.
Day 7 Visit the Burton-Speke Monument; interact with the locals in the area.
On this day we drive to Makambe to visit the Monument of Burton-Speke. The design of the monument reveals the tradition of Burundi.
Day 8-9 Transfer to Gombe Stream national park. Stay at Gombe Forest Luxury Lodge or Gombe Stream Tanapa Bandas
After breakfast, we drive to the border of Tanzania from where we board the boat to Gombe Stream National Park, crossing the border into Tanzania. Later in the afternoon, after lunch, you may have your first encounter with the chimpanzees. Gombe Stream is one of the most interesting projects for the conservation of the chimpanzees and there are no roads connecting to these mountains on Lake Tanganyika. Gombe Stream national park is the smallest of Tanzania’s national parks; a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tangayika. Its chimpanzees – which have been habituated – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research programme that now stands as the longest running study of its kind in the whole world. There are about 100 chimpanzees in the park and you will visit the chimp feeding station and walk along the trails in order to find them. Gombe also has about 3000 Olive baboons, plus red colobus, red tailed and blue monkeys, and many bird species. We may also trek through the forest and visit the Jane Goodall mountain.
Day 10 Transfer to Bujumbura. Stay at Club du Lac Tanganyika
After breakfast, we head back to the border between Burundi and Tanzania by boat. Then we proceed to Bujumbura for dinner and overnight.
Day 11 Departure