Bujumbura is the capital and largest city of Burundi, a small state in Central Africa, located on the northeast shores of Lake Tanganyika. The city, like most of Africa in the 1800’s, was a German colony. Before the colonial period it was a small village from which it grew in 1889 after being used as a German East Africa military post.
After World War I the city was included in the colonial territory of Belgium. As the country gained its independence in 1962, the city gained its freedom. Bujumbura is Burundi’s most developed city in terms of industry, trade, and communications. Bujumbura is the only port in the landlocked country. Located on Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second deepest lake after Lake Baikal, the port is used in the export of tin, leather, coffee, and cotton. Textiles, soap, shoe, and metal goods workshops are also common in the city. The city has preserved the colonial architecture and among sites to see are the central market, the Bujumbura Living Museum (Musée Vivant), Burundi Geological Museum, Karera Beach and Saga Beach, and the Rusizi National Park. The city has a tropical savanna climate with heavy rainfall from October to April with a dry climate the rest of the year. The Bujumbura International Airport is located 10.3 km from the city center.
Bujumbura International Airport, located in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, is also the only international airport in the country. Local language and French are often spoken in the city. The number of English speakers is very low. For this reason, if you plan to stay in the city for a long time, you are recommended to learn some words in French or in local language that would help you in the daily life. After landing to Bujumbura International Airport, you can travel to the center by taking one of the taxis located just outside the terminal. Taxis are usually easily found in front of the terminal. If there are no taxis, you can ask for support from the information desk at the airport, rent a car from the terminal, or use a shuttle to get to the center.
It is generally not difficult to find a taxi in Bujumbura International Airport. After landing to the airport, you can get out of the terminal and take one of the Bujumbura taxis waiting in front of the terminal. Traveling to the center by taxi takes only a few minutes and the amount you need to pay would be equal to around 20 American dollars in local currency. If you need to travel to farther destinations within and around the city, the fare would be more than this based on the distance. If you are going to a destination far away from the airport and want to know in advance how much you would pay, you can talk to the taxi driver and try to negotiate at a certain price.
There are also alternatives in and around Bujumbura International Airport for those passengers who would like to rent a car. The complicated traffic in the city is a fact that you need to consider if you opt for renting a car. Driving in the city is usually very difficult and complicated as people usually do not follow the traffic rules. However, if you still go for renting a car, you can increase your chance to find a car as soon as you land at the airport by booking online in advance. You can follow the signs showing the Bujumbura city center after exiting the airport and be in the city center just in a few minutes. The difficulty of finding a car park in the city center is also another negative side of renting a car. You need to make sure to find a safe place to park your car in the crowded and complex environment of the city.
Small vehicles that have space only for the driver and one or two passengers are known as tuk-tuk and are frequently used in the city. You can find a tuk-tuk near the airport and come to the city center with these means of transportation. Tuk-tuk fares may be a bit more affordable compared to the taxis, but they do not offer a wide space or baggage to carry your suitcases. Tuk-tuk stands out as an alternative which you can use especially when you need to get to a place in the city from another quickly.
Another fast and practical means of transportation to get to the center from Bujumbura international airport is the private shuttles which are usually used by foreign tourists visiting the city. While you can find offices of private shuttle companies at the airport, it is also possible to book online in advance. With the private shuttles you can reach wherever you want in the city after leaving the airport. The fares of the private shuttles that carry passengers to the center from the airport vary according to factors like the season of the journey, number of the passengers and the distance travelled.Last Updated: July 30, 2017