Living in Burundi

Burundi Bujumbura

Currency: Burundi Franc (BIF)

Exchange rate: 2296.07 Burundi Franc = 1 Euro (11/15/2020)

Time zone: UTC + 2

Country code (phone): +257

Climate (for Gitega): Tropical equatorial climate, reduced altitude


Most of the temporary residents from Europe, the USA or Canada live in Bujumbura. The climate is relatively hot and often humid due to its location on Lake Tanganyika. Houses for foreigners are rented out relatively expensive. The cost of living in Bujumbura has long been relatively low compared to Kigali / Rwanda, but has been rising for some time and reached the same level in 2014. As a new citizen of Burundi in Bujumbura it is worthwhile to visit different sides of expat communities to use. Financially well-resourced Burundian families concentrate on the city center, but also on the neighboring, cooler slopes around the capital. Up to 2014 Bujumbura was divided into 13 so-called municipalities, which in turn housed quarters. Since 2014, three megazones have been created in the course of decentralization – North Bujumbura, South Bujumbura and Bujumbura Center. The Rohero and Kinindo districts in particular are inhabited by whites and expats, as they are also relatively close to the center. In the Gihosha district – built towards the slopes, and also in Musaga(in the south of Bujumbura) robberies have been reported recently. The district of Cibitoke has been rated as very dangerous since 2015 as part of the protests against President Nkurunziza. The former purely ethnically separated neighborhoods such as Kamenge (Hutu district) or Ngagara (Tutsi district) are no longer dangerous, as they harbor a past full of conflict (1993 – 2003) and are therefore avoided by wealthy residents or richer Burundians if possible. It is usually possible to cover the distances from the individual districts to the center within 5-20 minutes by car or a taxi motorcycle. Taxi motorbikes are allowed in the outskirts of Bujumbura, but not in the center of the city. Driving is not a problem for the experienced driver. However, traffic jams on the way to the center have been increasing recently. The construction of new traffic axes should remedy this. The number of hotels and restaurants in Bujumbura and the surrounding area is large and confusing. The French travel guide “petit futé” Burundi is recommended for reference.

Burundi Bujumbura


With general health facilities in poor condition, maternal and child mortality rates are high. When life expectancy different information is provided; officially it was 60.5 years in 2016. Complicated illnesses can hardly be treated. The hygienic conditions in hospitals and health stations are also often a reason why harmless diseases lead to complications being able to lead. A lack of finances significantly limits the equipment of hospitals and the procurement of medical equipment. In most cases, the staff in hospitals also changes frequently or strikes occur. The few doctors are only able to use some of the skills they have acquired because of a lack of materials or staff. Adequate health insurance and reliable repatriation insurance are highly recommended.

Vaccinations and precautionary measures

According to philosophynearby, since Burundi is classified as a yellow fever area, a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry. In the past, this was only checked at the airport when travelers came from an infected area, but since 2011 there have been more controls over the existing yellow fever vaccination. In addition, all the usual standard vaccinations should be carried out: diphtheria, polio, tetanus, but also against pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps and rubella. Diseases that are almost under control in Germany and Europe, such as polio, occur occasionally in Burundi! In addition, a vaccination against typhoid and hepatitis A is recommended for travelers. Anyone who has to or wants to live or work in Burundi for a longer period of time should also protect themselves against meningococci, Rabies and hepatitis B vaccinated, if in doubt also against cholera. Today there are many combination products in Europe that make vaccinations easier.

Burundi is a malaria area. The disease is transmitted through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito, which is mainly nocturnal. The disease often only breaks out weeks, sometimes even months, after the infection. Therefore, if you have a fever or symptoms similar to malaria, such as pain in the limbs and headaches, you should always consult a doctor or a health station, where you can detect the plasmodia responsible for malaria in the blood in a drop of blood (the “goutte epaisse”). The risk of infection is particularly high in the lower parts of the country, but there is also an occasional increase in malaria infections in Northern Burundi, most recently in May 2019. Therefore, in addition to conceivable chemical precautionary measures, the following behavioral instructions are given: always wear light-colored clothing that covers the entire body, sleep under mosquito nets at night and, above all, use insect repellent at night and in the evening.

HIV / AIDS is still a problem in Burundi. An infection rate of approx. 1.1% is currently assumed, in Bujumbura this number is likely to be higher, although the infectious disease also occurs more frequently in some regions. Several governmental (e.g. the National AIDS Control Committee or the Ministry of Health) and non-governmental organizations as well as the WHO are trying to support the fight against AIDS.

There is also a risk of meningitis, sleeping sickness and rabies. In 2014 more cases of leprosy were reported again.

Even if no or only a few Corona-Covid 19 infections have officially been reported in Burundi, these numbers should not be relied on. Test capacities are low and, above all, the treatment of severe disease processes in Burundi can hardly be guaranteed.

General health tips should be consulted prior to entry.