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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
It’s clear not many tourists visit Burundi. There is very little info online about what to see and do, and I don’t think guidebooks cover the country. I set out to explore back roads and find what I find.
Over the course of a day I wind through the stunning mountains in the North East of the country, passing through Ruvubu National Park along the way. A gather the park has a few animals like buffalo, but they are very hard to spot. It’s a beautiful and well protected area, and I keep rolling through.
Burundi is obviously a country of fertile soil and farmers, and literally every mountain valley has crops planted down in the low lands with small streams and rivers running right through. Looking at the mountain landscape, fertile valleys being farmed and the locals doing it all by hand, I have to wonder for how many tens of thousands of years has this view been identical.
Everywhere I go I am greeted with shouts of “Muzungu” – people are very shocked to see a white person. Even when I’m out of the Jeep at street level people are very shocked, though they are all very quick to welcome me to their country. I strike up a conversation with a local in the town of Ruyigi. My friend explains the situation in Burundi. For anyone involved in Politics, it can still be a dangerous place, and plenty of people have had to flee the country. For a tourist like me, there is nothing to worry about and I will be very safe anywhere I choose to go in the entire country.
My friend works for the UN, and is helping the 20,000 Congolese refuges currently temporarily living in Burundi. He explains it’s enormously rewarding to help people, and in typical African fashion nobody complains about their lot in life, they just get on with it and find excuses every day to smile, laugh, sing and dance.
Wow, tiny Burundi is turning into an extremely interesting place!