Burundi Travel Information
Local time is GMT +2.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two pin attachment plugs and round pin plugs with receptacle or male grounding pin are standard.
French, English and Kirundi are the official languages and Swahili is widely spoken along Lake Tanganyika and in the Bujumbura area.
There have been cases of cholera confirmed in Burundi. Chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistant malaria is a major concern in Burundi and travellers should take the necessary prophylactics containing lariam, malarone, or doxycycline.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if coming from an infected area or visiting any area outside of the main cities. Travellers should be wary of kiosk foods and drink only bottled or boiled water. Burundi's medical facilities are very basic. Travellers should ensure they have travel insurance covering evacuation by air ambulance.
A 10 percent tip at a restaurant is customary. Porters should also be tipped a few dollars.
Travellers should consult the nearest Burundi embassy regarding the security situation before embarking on travel to Burundi. Since democratic elections and a ceasefire agreement in 2005, Burundi has mostly returned to a regular state of affairs and is enjoying an increasing influx of tourists.
Travel to the rural border areas with the Democratic Republic of Congo should be avoided as cross border fighting by armed guerrillas occurs sporadically. Most travellers to Burundi tend to gravitate toward Bujumbura and therefore should be more concerned with threats such as pick pocketing, purse snatching, armed robbery, and petty crime.
Locals should be consulted about the presence of crocodiles and hippopotamuses along the border of the lake. Travellers should also exercise caution after dark, avoid walking alone, and be aware of any curfew laws.
Respect for elders is practiced with conviction in Burundi and travellers should adopt a similar philosophy when interacting with locals.
Lightweight suits should be worn to formal meetings in the business world, which are usually conducted in French. An interpreter should be organised beforehand. Handshakes are important in Burundi and formal meetings often include food and drink, which is considered rude to turn down. Office hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 5.30pm. During the hotter months, a longer lunch break is taken.
The international dialling code for Burundi is +257. There is good mobile phone coverage in the western area of the county and there are a handful of internet cafés and hotels that offer free be found in Bujumbura. There is internet coverage across the country but it leaves a lot to be desired.
Travellers are allowed to import 1,000 cigarettes or 1,000 grams of tobacco, and one litre of alcohol. Cameras should be declared on arrival.
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