Dangers & Annoyances
The security situation in Burundi is very unstable and low-level violence continues throughout much of the country. Most Western governments advise against all but essential travel to most of the country, including Bujumbura, and all travel to certain parts of the northwest and northeast.
If you do visit the country, the following precautions should apply:
- Do not walk around Bujumbura at night.
- The road north of Bujumbura towards Cibitoke should be avoided.
- Do not attempt to visit the Parc National de la Kibira or Parc National de la Ruvubu.
- Do not travel anywhere by road at night.
- Avoid the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border areas.
- Carry your passport at all times.
Government Travel Advice
The following government websites offer travel advisories and information on current hot spots.
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (www.smartraveller.gov.au)
- British Foreign Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice)
- Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs (http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories)
- French Department of Foreign Affairs (www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays)
- US State Department (http://travel.state.gov)
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Burundi's country code||257|
Entry & Exit Formalities
Getting in and out of Burundi is generally fairly easy so long as your papers are in order.
Visas are needed by most nationalities. They aren't available upon arrival, but can be acquired in neighbouring countries (letters to prove accommodation bookings may be required).
The unit of currency is the Burundi franc (BFr). Many mid and top end hotels quote prices in US Dollars but payment in local currency is always accepted. A few ATMs in Bujumbura accept foreign Visa cards (and occasionally Mastercard) but when travelling outside of the city take all the cash you might need with you. In the capital a few mid and top end hotels accept payment by credit card but don't rely on this. There are plenty of currency exchange bureaus (forex bureaus) around the Central Market and along Chaussée Prince Rwagasore. Travellers cheques are next to useless.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com
Businesses tend to close for a couple of hours at lunch, from approximately midday to 2pm. Most eateries are open from 7am to about 9pm.
Unity Day 5 February
Labour Day 1 May
Independence Day 1 July
Assumption 15 August
Victory of Uprona Day 18 September
Anniversary of Rwagasore’s Assassination 13 October
Anniversary of Ndadaye’s Assassination 21 October
All Saints’ Day 1 November
There are no telephone area codes within the country. The country code for Burundi is 257.