Travelers who have stayed in EU countries, China, South Korea, Iran and Japan will be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Burundi. New measures and restrictions may be implemented in the coming weeks. For more information about coronavirus, see the section Health.
The security situation in the country is unstable and unpredictable. There have been a number of violent episodes since April 2015 with around 1,000 killed and an attempted military coup was turned down on May 15, 2015.
Norway has no embassy or consulate in Burundi. Responsible Norwegian Embassy for Burundi is the Embassy in Kampala, Uganda. The Norwegian authorities’ ability to provide consular assistance to Norwegian nationals is limited.
Burundi turmoil started after the ruling party CNDD-FDD in April 2015 decided that incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza would be the party’s candidate in the presidential elections held after postponements in July 2015. Opposition and civil society believe it contravenes the constitution to allow Nkurunziza to stand for a third period and the international community do not consider the election as free and fair. There have then been a number of episodes of violence in the country. In May 2018, the Constitution was amended so that it will be possible for the incumbent president to be re-elected in 2020. This has further polarized the political conflict and contributed to the violence continuing. For more detailed information on the security situation in Burundi, please refer to the US and UK Foreign Ministry respective internet sites.
- Countryaah: Gitega is the capital of Burundi. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.
There is a risk that terrorist attacks may also affect Western interests in Burundi. Burundi, with over 5,000 soldiers, is the second largest contributor of troops to the African Union peacekeeping operation in Somalia. The Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabab has made unspecified threats against Burundi. No terrorist attack has hit Burundi so far.
There is a significant risk of crime, including armed robbery. One should avoid traveling out after dark, even in the center of Bujumbura, and do not carry large amounts of money or valuables. You should avoid withdrawing money from ATMs at night. Hotel safes should be used where they exist. Keep copies of important documents, including passports and visas, separately.
The standard of both roads and driving is often poor and serious accidents occur frequently. Roads can be blocked by landslides, especially after heavy rain. Keep car doors locked and windows closed when driving. Take special care when traveling by public and public transport, as well as motorcycle taxis.
Floods and droughts are recurring problems in Burundi. Because of. population density is most of the forest cut down. The topography is dominated by a large number of hills, which are mainly cultivated. This causes erosion and flooding during the rainy season. Both floods and droughts that destroy crops and agricultural land can create acute food crises for the majority of the population.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.
Norwegians need a visa to stay in Burundi. Passport must be valid for at least six months after scheduled departure date.
A visa must be applied for in advance at the Burundi Embassy in Berlin.
Foreign citizens who intend to settle or reside in Burundi for more than one year are requested to contact the Police de l’Air, the Frontieres et des Etrangers (Pafe) in Bujumbura for possible registration.
It is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that travel documents, or any visa, are valid.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Burundi authorities have announced that travelers who have stayed in EU countries, China, South Korea, Iran and Japan will be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Burundi. New measures and restrictions may be implemented in the coming weeks.
Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Follow local authorities’ advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. For general updates, refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
The health service is poorly developed, especially outside the capital, and it is recommended to bring a well-equipped travel pharmacy. Malaria occurs across the country. Vaccination against hepatitis, polio, diphtheria and tetanus, as well as jaundice, is recommended. There have been cases of cholera in the country in recent years. Burundian authorities may require vaccination cards upon entry.
Questions and advice regarding vaccines and anti-malarial medicines should be addressed with a health office or doctor before leaving Norway. Locally purchased drugs may be counterfeit and may have a different content from the listed active substances. Medical equipment may be insufficiently sterilized. Ambulance services and emergency care are virtually non-existent.
Hospital treatment in Burundi should be considered only in critical situations and when no alternatives are available. For official health professional travel advice and health professional guidance, see the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
There is no time difference to Norway when it is daylight saving time. When it is winter time, it is one hour more in Burundi. The power supply in Burundi is 220 volts. The same type of plug is used as in Norway. The power supply can be unreliable.
There are direct flights to Bujumbura from Nairobi (Kenya Airways), Kigali (Rwandair, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines) and Brussels (Brussels Airlines). There are no domestic flights. There are border crossings to/from Rwanda, DR Congo and Tanzania. There are only few paved roads outside Bujumbura and these can be in poor condition. Infrastructure for tourism is little developed.
According to allcitycodes, the area code for calls from Norway to Burundi is +257. The telephone network may be unstable. Non-Burundian sim cards may have limited coverage for both incoming and outgoing calls. Procurement of a local sim card should be considered.
Coin value: 1000 Burundian francs (BIF) = £ 4.46 (July 8, 2018). The economy is cash-based. Payment by Visa/Mastercard/American Express is not common. Some Bujumbura hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. There are ATMs in Bujumbura where you can withdraw local currency with Norwegian bank cards, but these can sometimes be out of order. Burundian banks do not accept US dollar bills until 2006.
National holidays are January 1st, February 5th, April 6th, May 1st, July 1st, August 15th, October 13th, October 21st, November 1st and December 25th.
The national language of Burundi is Kirundi, a bantu language closely related to Kinyarwanda, the main language of Rwanda. Kirundi and Kinyarwanda are mutually understandable. French is the first foreign language, and is widely used in the administration and the judiciary, but it is far less prevalent in rural areas where the level of education is low. However, in some neighborhoods in Bujumbura, the everyday language is Kiswahili. With Burundi’s entry into the East African Community (EAC) where the common language is English, there is an increased need to do this. It is decided that all four languages should be taught in primary school.
Burundi is a conservative country in terms of laws, customs and regulations. As in many African countries, women have no right to inheritance or to own land. The proportion of girls who receive education is lower than for boys and women are socially and culturally discriminated against. According to the Constitution, there should be 30 percent women in government and parliament, but this has little significance for women’s position elsewhere in society. Parliament decided in 2009 to criminalize homosexuality. However, the law should hardly have been applied.
Religion stands strong. In Bujumbura, however, the use is more liberal. The majority are Catholics, but evangelical/charismatic movements continue to increase their popularity. It is a small Muslim minority. Religious conflicts hardly occur. There is a big difference between city and country. In urban areas, especially in Bujumbura, many are educated and influenced by Belgian culture and not least by the Catholic Church, while rural poor people are more influenced by ancient African traditions, although they are often Christian.