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 code257
Ambulance112
Fire118
Police117

Entry & Exit Formalities

Getting in and out of Burundi is generally fairly easy so long as your papers are in order.

Visas

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).

Money

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.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1Bfr1365
CanadaC$1Bfr1377
Euro Zone€1Bfr1943
Japan¥100Bfr1381
New ZealandNZ$1Bfr1209
UKUK£1Bfr2482
USUS$1Bfr1552

For current exchange rates see www.xe.com

Opening Hours

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.

Public Holidays

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

Telephone

There are no telephone area codes within the country. The country code for Burundi is 257.