The Royal Drummers of Burundi, based in Muramvya province, east of Bujumbura, were the inspiration for the first WOMAD festival, in 1982. Outstanding on their own, their thunderous, unforgettable rhythms have also backed artists from Joni Mitchell to The Clash. If they’re in the country, make every effort to see them perform. . .

The manageable little capital of Bujumbura –  “Buj” as everyone knows it –  is tucked between the green walls of the western branch of the Great Rift Valley. There’s a good market, excellent views from the hillside university and a scattering of Art Deco Belgian colonial buildings. Head down to the old Cercle Nautique water sports club on the shore of Lake Tanganyika for a drink at sunset. . .

(continued on p. 242)

Like its similarly small and mountainous neighbour Rwanda, Burundi has a complex history of kings, landlords and serfs. Much of the country is probably safe, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the warnings about rebels and banditry on various government travel advisories. Before visiting, do your research carefully, as the situation changes fast here, and the infrastructure is limited.

Links we like

Burundi Bwacu French-language news and analysis.

Rugamba Netpress Campaigning French-language news site.

This page last edited 9 June 2011 © Richard Trillo and Emma Gregg


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