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Introducing Bujumbura

Bujumbura…the name is so exotic it just rumbas off the tongue. ‘Buj’, as many foreign residents refer to it, has a striking location on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and many of its suburbs sprawl up the looming mountains that ring the city to the north and east.

Comatose during the long civil war, the Burundian capital is a mixture of grandiose colonial town planning, with wide boulevards and imposing public buildings, and the dusty, crowded streets that characterise the capitals in much of Africa. It is also one of the most important ports on Lake Tanganyika.

Bujumbura has a freewheelin’ reputation and the dining, drinking and dancing scene can compete with the best in the region. That said, it’s not the safest city by night, so it is important to take taxis after dark. Security has improved with the influx of UN peacekeepers, but robberies are still common.

A short way out of the city are some of Africa’s best inland beaches. White sand, turquoise waters and beachside bars. Pinch yourself. This is Burundi, not the Caribbean.