Replies: 18 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 7:39 AM Last Post By: bigal1
Nov 4, 2012 5:35 AM
In light of the recent security update by the FCO is it still safe/possible to travel overland from Kigali to Bujumbura and then on to Kigoma? I understand you can't travel at night and some routes are not safe but is travel still possible in day light hours? If so what is the route and how do you get buses?
Nov 4, 2012 6:16 AM
1Unfortunately nobody can guarantee that it is safe since the situation in the region is not stable but me and others have taken those buses lately with good success. In my opinion the biggest risk at the moment is traffic accident when it rains.
go to Belvedere office in Nyabugogo bus station, by the ticket. there are two routes they use, I don't know how they determine which way they take but all of them land at Bujumbura. I would take the bus which leaves at 7am (the other one leaves at 10am iirc) then you would arrive at Bujumbura during daylight.
From Bujumbura to Kigoma I just posted instructions about them somebody else has given, see the thread about Bujumbura (OP there wrote Bumumbura) to Kigoma.
Nov 5, 2012 5:30 AM
2Thanks Fulana. What route have you taken recently? Was it before or after the FCo update? Is it just as easy to get from Lake Kivu to Buj as it is Kigali or do you need to come back to Kigali.
Nov 5, 2012 9:03 PM
3There are three routes:
one from Kamembe via Cibitoke along the DRC border. The terrain is flat, and the road rather good, it has been under rehabilitation however it is also the most risky one;
another one from Kigali via Butare and Kayanza and
the third one from Kigali via Kirundo.
The last two ones I have taken in October and July correspondingly, and they are the ones used by Belvedere (the only company I would take). They are also rather mountainous on Burundi side. The first one I did by car last year.
Unfortunately I don't have any relationship to the FCOs.
Nov 5, 2012 9:52 PM
Nov 5, 2012 11:14 PM
5Well, actually I am in Bujumbura, what do you want to know about Bujumbura?
I would not let the general security situation deter from travelling in/to Burundi. Most of the issues here are political, government killing supposed opposition supporters. Last year there were few attacks to minibuses on Cibitoke road, and the issues in Cibitoke this year to my understanding are related to Burundi rebel/opposition residing on the DRC side.
Nov 7, 2012 5:50 AM
Nov 8, 2012 4:53 AM
7#5 hi Fulana
i too am very interested to hear anything about Burundi from a travelling perspective and would like to hear any feedback from daikon as my trip to Burundi is planned for next summer and travel around the country (wish there were trains!) Any tips on places to visit around the country or stay welcome
Have read Le Petite Fute guidebook so have some ideas and hoping that a new editon comes out with decent maps of the towns
Nov 8, 2012 5:30 AM
8Hi Daikon, I hear from Jacobson Guesthouse (Kigoma) that the Kigoma airport is set to re-open mid-December,and that flights in and out of Kigoma are expected to be more frequent and affordable after that. They also advise against the Dar-Kigoma train except for sadomasochists, thats probably why there is no info on it, apparently it's been like that for some years now.
Nov 8, 2012 7:30 AM
9Thanks everyone. I will definitely feedback, although I am only getting the 3 day transit visa, so not exploring the country. Great news about the train, although, being a cynic I'm not going to hold out for the flight from Kigoma (sorry). I think I might just look for a flight out of Buj. Fingers crossed that it does happen for you guys. I did really want to get the train though :(
Nov 14, 2012 1:24 PM
10Ok, this is my take on Bujumbura.
First of all, Bujumbura is like a dusty overgrown village, I personally feel it is rather safe and easy to walk around (daytime) but of course it Is a good idea to be vigilant and in particular not to look like a stupid tourist :)
Then, there is not much to do or see as such. Just to walk around the place, look at buildings, people etc. There is some nice art deco architecture, but you have to discover it. I also do like some old pharmacies, shops, a bit like the gone times.
There is a very good blog writing What to do in Bujumbura. It was done some years ago. Though and some things (in particular the restaurant section) have changed but still not too drastically. I would suggest reading that one.
In addition, there are useful google maps of Bujumbura
Restaurants: Bujumbura Restaurants - Google Maps
Fun: Bujumbura Fun & Entertainment - Google Maps
Shops: Bujumbura Shopping & Services - Google Maps
You also try to ask questions on FB Bujumbura Professionals page.
I will not repeat here what has been written above but just to point out what I personally (would) like to do.
Central market: it looks intimidating and overwhelming, there are warnings about about pickpocketing but I have never experienced that ((well, I also guard my things well). If you know some French/Swahili it is really nice to go around there what they are selling (everything!), to haggle and chat with the vendors. A very interesting experience.
(Ex) cercle nautique: in the afternoon, around 3-5pm hippoes come there. You can sit there, have some drinks and watch/listen to them as well as enjoy kingfishers fishing.
Jardin publique in Rohero: a fresh, green oasis in town, loads of people early morning 6am onwards and before dark running, walking, doing exercises. There has been hot yoga Friday afternoon at 3pm, not sure if it is still on. There is gym in the middle, nothing to write home about but a bit African (typically run down).
Walking up to the university (past Kiriri): in the morning or in the afternoon. A good hike and fantastic views. The stretch between the last houses and university makes me feel a bit uncomfortable (though I have never heard about anything happening there), so I don’t pass there very late.
Bujumbura is the place for sports, people belong to social clubs through which they go for hiking/jogging mostly weekend mornings, you can see big groups gathering Sunday/Saturday mornings. Quite intriguing.
Beach side: nice to go there in the afternoon, several places where you can have lunch and stroll on the beach. Pinnacle 19, Club du lac, bora bora, Royal palm, saga plage at least
It is also possible to make trips to the Ruzizi river (hippos at least), it is nature reserve or similar.
In the evenings:
Local drinking places called Cabaret, plenty of them, difficult to single any one. Karaoke means that there is usually a miserable singer and Hammond player or some dance performances.
Night clubs: the hot spot area: Havana, Toxic, Aosta, Get up. Then also other places recently reopened l’Archipel, Insomnia (former Chez Ruhara), Monocle. Congolese places in Bwiza.
There are still scheduled and non-scheduled power cuts. Torch solar chargers could be useful.
Nov 14, 2012 9:38 PM
Nov 14, 2012 10:42 PM
Nov 15, 2012 3:24 AM
13I found this info very useful as well thanks Fulana. It is not easy getting information on Burundi and this is fantastic. I am hoping that the next edition of Le petite Fute guide is much better than the exiting one and that it includes town maps with locations of bus /taxi station and hotels
Nov 15, 2012 4:11 AM
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