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Travel Insurance Burundi


Burundi Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Republic of Burundi
Capital City: Bujumbura
Language Spoken: Kirundi (official), French (official), Swahili (along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area)

Burundi Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

3 30 S, 30 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Lake Tanganyika 772 m highest point: Heha 2,670 m

Land boundaries

total: 974 km border countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo 233 km, Rwanda 290 km, Tanzania 451 km

Natural hazards

flooding, landslides, drought

Natural resources

nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, arable land, hydropower, niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten, kaolin, limestone

Land use

arable land: 35.57% permanent crops: 13.12% other: 51.31% (2005)

Environmental current issues

soil erosion as a result of overgrazing and the expansion of agriculture into marginal lands; deforestation (little forested land remains because of uncontrolled cutting of trees for fuel); habitat loss threatens wildlife populations


A hot equatorial climate is found near Lake Tanganyika and in the Ruzizi River plain. It is often windy on the lake. The rest of the country is mild and pleasant. Burundi has two rainy seasons ? the major one from February to May, with a minor rainy season between September and November, and two dry seasons: the long dry season from June to August and the shorter dry season between December and January.\nRequired clothing\nLightweight cottons and linens with waterproofs for the rainy season. Warm clothes are recommended for the evening.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+2


8,090,068 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 46.3% (male 1,884,825/female 1,863,200) 15-64 years: 51.1% (male 2,051,451/female 2,082,017) 65 years and over: 2.6% (male 83,432/female 125,143) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 16.6 years male: 16.4 years female: 16.9 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

3.7% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

42.22 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

13.46 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

8.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 50.81 years male: 50.07 years female: 51.58 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

6.55 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business meetings are generally somewhat formal with lightweight suits advisable due to the heat and lack of air-conditioned offices. Office hours are 0730-1200 and 1400-1730 Monday to Friday.


Street crime in Burundi poses a high risk for visitors. Crime involves muggings, purse snatching, pick pocketing, burglary, and auto break-ins. Criminals operate individually or in small groups. There have been reports of muggings of persons jogging or walking alone in all sections of Bujumbura, and especially on public roads bordering Lake Tanganyika.


Almost all the hotels in the country are situated in the capital, Bujumbura, although there are a few in Gitega, Ngozi, Muyinga and Kirundo. Elsewhere in the country there is virtually no accommodation for visitors.


Telephone IDD service is available. The country code is 257 and the outgoing international code is 90. . Outgoing international calls must be made through the operator.


is at 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types


Food And Dining

The choice is limited. Most food is boiled, stewed or roasted over wood fire. Meals in Bujumbura's hotels are reasonable, but expensive and of fairly average quality. The French, Greek and Asian restaurants in the town are good. There are few restaurants outside the capital and Gitega.

National specialties:
? All beans are in plentiful supply, and particularly red kidney beans.
? Rice is served with nearly everything.
? Other staple ingredients include plantains, sweet potatoes, cassava, peas and maize.
? Fish is more common than meats.
? People snack on fruit, cane sugar and groundnuts.
? Spicy carrots are a side dish of carrots mixed with mustard seeds and chilli peppers. National drinks:
? Urwarwa is a homemade banana wine drunk during celebrations.
? Primus beer is produced in Burundi, as is impeke, a home-brewed beer made from sorghum, and often drunk through straws.

As a rule, no service charge is levied automatically; 10 per cent is the recommended tip for good service.

There are several nightclubs, restaurants and bars in Bujumbura.

Entry departure requirements

Visa immigration information


Valid passport for at least six months required by all.


Required by all except nationals of Rwanda and Uganda. Passengers arriving at Bujumbura airport from countries where Burundi does not have diplomatic representation can obtain visas on arrival, providing they have previously informed their travel agency of their passport number, identity and flight details. Those who are continuing onto a third country within 72 hours may also obtain a visa upon arrival. It is better to obtain a visa in advance from the nearest Burundi embassy.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist or Business (valid for up to 30 days): US$80 or US$40 (non-US citizens); single- or multiple-entry. Visas cost US$160 for stays exceeding 30 days. The validity of the visa is at the discretion of the Immigration Department. A transit visa is not required for passengers continuing their journey to a third country if staying up to 24 hours, provided holding valid onward documentation and not leaving the airport. If staying up to 72 hours, a fee of US$10 is required. A Re-entry Permit is required for all alien residents.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport. (b) Three application forms (requests for application forms should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope). (c) Three passport-size photos. (d) Return ticket or copy of flight itinerary, plus proof of accommodation. (e) Fee, payable in cash, postal order or company cheque. (f) Stamped, self-addressed envelope for recorded delivery. (g) Yellow fever vaccination certificate. Business: (a)-(g) and, (h) Letter from the applicant's employer and the sponsoring company in Burundi. Letter must state the nature of business, name and address of referee to be visited, guarantee of return transport, sufficient funds for duration of stay and must be signed by the officer of company. Visitor: (a)-(g) and, (h) Invitation letter from family members or friends.

Working days required

Two. Applications should be made as far as possible in advance of the intended date of departure. A rush fee of US$25 is available.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax



Embassy of the Republic of Burundi
Embassy of the Republic of Burundi in the USA


46 square Marie-Louise, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: (2) 230 4535.

Embassy of the Republic of Burundi in the USA

Suite 212, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
Tel: (202) 342 2574.

All but essential travel to Bujumbura is advised against due to the high threat from indiscriminate attacks by rebel groups, and all travel to other parts of Burundi, unless with an organized UN Mission, particularly in the Bujumbura Rural Province. In Bujumbura, there is a high risk of street crime and muggings at gun point. You are advised not to walk in the streets after dark, especially since there is a curfew throughout the country (from 2300-0600), nor to carry large amounts of money. Attacks on public transport in the Provinces are reported on most days, and the risk of being a victim of indiscriminate violence is high, with foreigners being occasional targets. Public transport outside Bujumbura is reported to be dangerous.
In addition, you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.


British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.

US Department of State



Burundi Franc (BIF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of BIF5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of BIF10, 5 and 1.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to Bufr2000. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri, mornings only.

Currency exchange

All exchange transactions must be conducted through one of the main banks in Bujumbura or Gitega.

Credit cards

Major credit cards are not generally accepted; there is limited use in some major hotels.

Travellers cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Euros. Commission rates are usually high.


  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment in Burundi as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Reliable supplies of medication are not easily available in Burundi

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe in Burundi

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are limited in Burundi.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Dust during the dry season may create problems for those with asthma or allergies.


Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Yellow fever: Vaccination is recommended for travelers over 9 months of age going outside of urban areas. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: are major causes of illness. Many diseases, including yellow fever, are endemic, with only scattered cases being reported and, from time to time, more extensive outbreaks Dengue fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Leishmaniasis - occurs (both cutaneous and visceral types may be found, particularly in the drier areas) Malaria - prevalent Onchocerciasis (river blindness) - prevalent Relapsing fever - occurs Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) - occurs (human type - mainly in small, isolated areas - is reported) Typhus - occurs (louse-, flea-, and tick-borne types occur) Food-borne and water-borne illness: highly endemic. The dysenteries and diarrheal diseases, giardiasis, the typhoid fevers and viral hepatitis are widespread. Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is widespread in animal-breeding areas. Cholera - occurs Dracunculiasis - occurs Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - prevalent Schistosomiasis - common

Entry requirements

Cholera: None. (Contrary to its reported requirements, however, a certificate of vaccination or a letter of medical contraindication is required in order to receive a visa for travel to Burundi, according to the Burundi Embassy in the United States. A reliable third party has confirmed that either the certificate or the letter of contraindication is required upon arrival in Burundi as well. This practice reportedly applies equally to persons arriving in Burundi directly from Europe or other non-African areas and to those who arrive in Burundi after visiting other African countries. This policy, however, may not be consistently enforced.) Meningitis: The Department of State reports that travelers are required to show proof of vaccination against meningococcal meningitis; however, this policy may not be consistently enforced. Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas. (Contrary to Burundi's reported requirements, the U.S. Department of State reports that proof of vaccination is required, and Burundi's embassy in the United States reports that a certificate of vaccination is required in order to receive a visa. However, this policy may not be consistently enforced.) Reportable Disease Status

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

Hopital Prince Regent CharlesAvenue de l'Hopital Bujumbura


Burundi's media are self-censored and also receive occasional Government censorship. Nevertheless, a range of political views are sometimes aired. There is a high turnover rate for newspapers. The sale of newspapers is quite low due to small print runs and low levels of literacy. The main source of information for many Burundians is therefore the Radio, in which the only radio station with national coverage is Government-owned, as is Burundi's only TV station.
Press: No English-language newspapers are published. Most publications are in French (such as Le Renouveau du Burundi) or local languages (such as Ubumwe in Kirundi). The two main newspapers are Government-controlled.
TV: RTNB is Government-controlled and broadcasts in English, French, Kirundi and Swahili.
Radio: Radio Burundi is Government-controlled (by RTNB), and also operates an educational network. Radio Isanganiro and Radio Publique Africaine are private (although the latter receives some UN and overseas funding). Radio CCIB+ is operated by the Burundi Chamber of Commerce. Other radio broadcasters in operation with the aid of funding include Bonesha FM (funded by international organizations with the intention of promoting reconciliation) and Radio Culture (partly funded by the health ministry).