Capital | Bujumbura
Population | 9,863,117
Area | 27,830 SQ KM
Official Language | Kirundi, French
Holidays | Independence Day, 1 July (1962)
Currency | Burundi francs (BIF)
Time Zone | UTC +2
Best Time to Visit | Avoid the extremes of the wet season (May to September) and dry season (June to August and December to January)
Connecting with the Culture | Taking a safari to spot monkeys and chimpanzees in Parc National de la Kibira, the largest rainforest in Burundi. Investigating Source du Nil, the country’s claim to the origin of Africa’s celebrated river. Getting historical at La Pierre de Livingston et Stanley – the alleged site of the legendary ‘Dr. Livingston, I presume?’ encounter.
Read | Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah’s Burundi on the Brink 1993-95, a heart-rendering account by the former UN ambassador about his efforts to bring peace.
Listen | to Drummers of Burundi: Live at Real World
Watch | Gito the Ungrateful, the story of a young Burundian’s return to his homeland
Eat | busoma, a cereal made from corn, soybeans and sorghum
Drink | impeke, a beer brewed from sorghum
In a Word | Bwa (hello in Kirundi)
Characteristics | Safaris through dense jungle; Lake Tanganyika dwarfed by surrounding mountains; colonial explorers in pith helmets; the ‘Heart of Africa’ nickname; many many chimps and gorillas
Surprises | Secluded in the mountains and forests, the Twa tribal group still live in uninterrupted hunter-gatherer lifestyle just as their ancestors have for thousands of years.