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Most Interesting Facts about Burundi

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facts about burundi

Burundi is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The terrain here is mostly hilly and mountainous, dropping to plateau in the east. Burundi was first colonized by Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, and the Belgians after the First World War.

The country gained independence in 1962, but has experienced civil wars and genocides since then. The country is struggling a lot and will take time to settle down. The country’s motto, “Ubumwe, Ibikorwa, Iterambere” translates to “Unity, Work, Progress” but ironically, unity and progress have been elusive since independence. We hope that Burundi sees peace in the years to come.

12 Interesting Facts about Burundi

1. Burundi participated for the first time in the 1996 Olympic Games and won a gold medal. Vénuste Niyongabo came first in the 5000m race. In doing so, Burundi became the poorest country ever to win an Olympic gold medal.

Niyongabo was participating in 1500 m race but he gave his spot to fellow Burundian Dieudonne Kwizera. Kwizera had been unable to compete in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics since Burundi did not have a National Olympic Committee at the time. In 1996, Kwizera finally became an Olympian while Niyongabo bagged the gold medal J

Unfortunately the country hasn’t won any medals since.

2. Burundi is the third most densely populated country in Africa after Mauritius and Rwanda. And due to farming and overgrazing, deforestation and soil erosion are becoming concerns for the population of Burundi.

3. Burundi is largely poor and underdeveloped. It ranked 185 out of 189 countries as per 2019 U.N. Human Development Index. Majority of the population of Burundi lives in villages that are scattered throughout the highlands and ninety percent of the population is employed in agriculture.

4. Due to poverty, the country suffers from severe malnutrition.

Protein and fat intake in the population of Burundi is very limited. As a result of it, a disease known as kwashiorkor is common.

5. The country is also one of the unhappiest in the world. In 2019, Burundi ranked 145th in the World Happiness Report released by the UN.

6. It’s a little depressing to know about the poverty and diseases. Let’s talk about beer. The traditional beer is drunk from one central pot by almost a dozen people using long straws. The practice has evolved with time and you can find people using straws in bars.

beer in burndi
Source: https://dianabuja.wordpress.com/

7. Cattle are a symbol of health, happiness, and prosperity for the Burundians. A typical Kirundi greeting, “Amashyo,” translates as “May you have herds of cattle.”

Traditionally, the more cows one owns the wealthier the person is considered to be. The horns of a cow are considered sacred. Upon the death of a cow, its meat is eaten and horns are planted in the soil near the house. People in Burundi believe that this brings them good luck.

8. Due to overpopulation, unemployment and extreme poverty, the country is heavily affected by sex trafficking and forced child labor. Thousands of Burundian girls are trafficked into prostitution in other East African countries. The children too are forced into slave labor. It is a sad situation.

9. Have you heard about Gustave, the man-eating crocodile from Burundi? He is believed to be the biggest crocodile in the world (over 18 feet and 2,000 pounds). He lives in the Ruzizi River and the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika and is believed to have killed more than 300 people. Records of his attacks on villagers living on the northeastern shores of Lake Tanganyika date back to 1987.

10. You cannot go on a morning run with your friends and family in Burundi. In 2014, the country’s president banned group jogging as it was seen as an opportunity to plan anti-government activities.

11. Burundi is one of the oldest countries in Africa. It is also one of the few whose modern boundaries remained similar to those of the ancient Kingdoms. The country is home to the Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples. In 1993, an all-out civil war broke out between rival Hutu and Tutsi lasting more than ten years and killing some 200,000 Burundians. The country is still recovering from the damage caused during th war. More than a quarter of a million people have fled their homeland in terror.

12. Media is severely restricted in Burundi and is dominated by state-run outlets. Journalists operate under strict laws and regularly face harassment. Many radio stations were shut after a 2015 coup attempt.

Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Burundi:

And even though the country remains in shambles, it has a lot to offer in terms of beauty and nature. The small space covers such scenic beauty in it that it can leave you thrilled and amazed. Grasslands, forests and lakes are what make up Burundi. Here are our top recommendations:

Saga Beach: The country does not have a coastline but that doesn’t stop it from having a beach. The beach, which is part of the shore of Lake Tanganyika is a great place to take a dip and enjoy the warm waters of the lake. Saga beach is easily accessible and is located only a few kilometers away from the capital.

People who are adventurous should give a visit to Mount Heha as it is the highest mountain range located in Burundi and provides an ideal place for trekking and mountain climbing. The views all around the place are beautiful and amazing.

Saga Beach
Source: https://tiplr.com/

Ruvubu National Park: This is the largest national park in the country with an area of over 500 square kilometers. The park is home to some of the most majestic wildlife in the country such as hippos, buffalo and crocodiles. The park is also known for the migratory birds and a variety of rare plants.

Chutes de la Karera: The place is known for the four beautiful waterfalls. The falls are best during the monsoons. You can walk through the waterfalls and enjoy the waters.

Chutes de la Karera
Source: https://in.pinterest.com/

Visa Procedure:

Burundi Visa Requirements for Indians

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