Bujumbura, the commercial capital of Burundi, can also be the shisha capital of the region.
There is a pot on almost every table in the Arena, one of the city’s most popular nightclubs along DR Congo Avenue Shisha gushes over while young women laugh and blow feathers into the cool night air.
Meanwhile, Tanzanian superstar Diamond sang from the giant speakers of “African Beauty”.
This is a melting pot of East African culture.
In Bujumbura, men and women are always ready for a good time. You like to pedal hard for serenity. In this city the night owls drink, smoke, dance and hop all night with unrestrained devotion from one club to the next.
Arena, Toxic and Cristal are the dominant nightclubs right in the heart of the city their musical variety of Rhumba , Bongo to Afrofusion as a crowd puller from Thursday to Sunday.
Especially party-goers from all age groups. Men and women in their 40s go to the dance floor with as much energy as night owls in their twenties. This differs from other cities in the region, where certain nightclubs are associated with specific demographics.
However, having a casual conversation at a club in Bujumbura can be difficult, especially for non-French speakers . Kirundi and French are the main languages spoken. If you’re lucky, some locals in Swahili can tackle a few lines. With a little French, however, you can get around worry-free.
Unlike the men from Nairobi who wear practically everything that is portable, the men from Bujumbura wear tuxedos – which are perfectly tailored. And while they hit the dance floor hard, they act both lustfully and politely – a combination that is rare in Kenya’s nightlife.
Wear jeans and a sleeveless one Jacket in a sea of tuxedos made me feel embarrassingly out of place at night in the city.
Women wear everything from long dresses to jeans, shorts, and miniskirts.
After several beers In the arena, I was invited to join a group of women for a cocktail in the Toxic Night Club.
Oddly enough, there are no chairs in the club on Avenue Source du Nil. Night owls are expected to be on their feet and dance for as long as their legs can carry them.
The fact that life in this capital in Central Africa is cheaper than elsewhere in the region is an added incentive to go out. A beer costs BIF3,000 ($ 1.5). Getting around by taxi is affordable, with most charging around 5,000 BIF ($ 2.5) to most destinations.
Hotel Kangaroo, Hotel Safari Gate, Roca Gold Hotel, and Hotel Club Du Lac Tanganyika some of the best hotels, with an average rating of 7.5 out of 10 from about 100 reviews. Their prices are also relatively lower than elsewhere in the region. An overnight stay costs around $ 110 for comfort, good service, and safety.
Visitor safety is perhaps Bujumbura’s strongest selling point. The city is safe, with policemen patrolling the streets and traffic posts on all busy roads: robberies are rare.
If hiking is your thing, Bujumbura is a great place to be . On weekends and most evenings, crowds of residents jog through the scenic Kiriri Hills, which overlook the city on the east side.
Of the Hills, home to the University of Burundi and a number of leafy suburbs, is the unobstructed views of half the city and a section of Lake Tanganyika to the villages in Uvira in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Understanding the payment system is advisable if you are visiting Bujumbura for the first time. Most regular shops, restaurants, and service companies accept both US dollars and Burundian currency.
However, the dollar is preferred because of its higher value, especially among taxi drivers. However, street shops that sell artifacts and jewelry insist on Burundian francs.
It is therefore advisable to bring both currencies with you. Changing money from one currency to another is easy, with a vibrant forex ecosystem, both in the banks and on the black market.
While banks like KCB, BGF and Bancobu offer foreign exchange services, the locals prefer the Black market. For example, one dollar at KCB brings you around 2,100 BIF, while you can exchange up to 3,300 BIF on the road.
To travel to Burundi during the pandemic, you must have a negative Covid- 19 test.
Even so, there is a mandatory test for $ 100 upon arrival at Melchior Ndadaye International Airport. To leave the country, you must take another test for $ 20. Only the National Referral Laboratory of Burundi does a PCR test, which you need to book in advance. You may need to take the test three days before your travel date to avoid the usual delay in results here.
Although Burundi has had restrictions to limit the spread of the pandemic, nothing stands in the way of the happiness. < / p>
Watching the sundowner on the shores of Lake Tanganyika is the ultimate pleasure.
The golden ball dances as it blows down the hills in Uvira, while a warm breeze from the lake gives you more time to enjoy the breathtaking views.
On the lakefront
A number of beach hotels line the shore on the Burundian side of Lake Tanganyika along Bujumbura-Gatumba Road, with Congolese villages visible from afar South Kivu Province.
At 6:00 p.m., the night owls begin to arrive and take a seat at the outdoor bar on Zion Beach. They will talk and laugh for hours to the clink of toasts. Everyone is in a good mood here.
In the main restaurant of the beach hotel, a large Christmas tree has just been lit to cheer the children who are here with their families. The boys happily feed the fish and run up and down the facility.
Dolly Parton serenades the guests with her “Islands in the Stream” from the overhead speakers while the guests sing along.
A lone police speedboat patrols one kilometer into the lake.
Lake Tanganyika serves as a natural border between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is between Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Zambia shared.
On the Burundian side of the water there is little activity and hardly any boats in sight.
Don’t be afraid of Covid
In contrast to other East African countries, the thousands have registered of Covid-19 cases, Burundi has announced fewer infections. While its neighbors have weathered periods of strict measures, including lockdowns and night curfews, Burundians have interacted almost as freely with one another during the pandemic as they did before. Some measures may be taken to keep the people safe here, but few enforcement measures are in place.
Face masks are not common on the streets of Bujumbura when people go about their daily activities. They are worn in public offices, banks and at the airport.
A night in Bujumbura is very different from anything you would experience in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam or Kampala. But it’s worth every penny and time spent.