After the long but rewarding ride from Kigali to Bujumbura, I settled in the little beautiful New Cayor hotel. It was affordable compared to the service it was offering. I was later informed that 2 years ago such a hotel cost about triple its current price but due to the political issues the number of visitors have reduced. The hotel pricing in a bid to attract the very few courageous tourists and business travelers lowered their costs.
The day was spent exploring the different sites in and near Bujumbura town. I got a taxi to take me around town for the entire day armed with my list of to see places I sent out. After we set off from the hotel, our first stop was the forex bureau for some Burundian francs to be able to buy some souvenirs. It is very important to me to contribute to the economy beyond hotels by buying souvenirs. This I believe is one of the ways the general population benefits from tourism.
My main reason for visiting Burundi and Bujumbura in particular was to learn about the country and the possibility of including it as a destination for Kagera Safaris. O how I love my work, I am forever thankful for what this work allows me to do. Travel and more travel which by far one of my favorite hobbies. On my list was visits to the hotels and other main tourism sites around this beautiful town. I was pleasantly surprised by this small town, there are quite a number of tour attractions in and around the city. There are also a number of beautiful hotels in Bujumbura and business was ongoing amidst the tense atmosphere because of the political issues but generally slow at the moment.
My highlights of my visit was to Muse Vivant which unfortunately is a dilapidated Zoo in Bujumbura. The building could use a new coat of paint and some warmth from the staff. The animals in the cages too did not look the best. It seems like this place was once glorious but had certainly lost this glory. However amidst all this I was thankful for a rare opportunity of touching and sitting on a crocodile. I mastered all the courage I could gather and decided to risk and experience this.
The other highlights was a visit to the monument where Livingstone met with Stanley. This is just a rock, it goes a long way to show how anything can be a tourist attraction. I also visited Louis Rwagasore Monument in the suburbs of Bujumbura. Louis was the first president of Burundi who was unfortunately assassinated within days of being announced president according to my guide. He was also a prince to the then Kingdom of Burundi. I was able to buy some unique Burundian crafts from the craft village. Lastly I visited the large local market which has anything and everything, with parking for cars to other parts of the country and those across the border.
I highly recommend you visit Bujumbura, they have beautiful beach along Lake Tanganyika with affordable hotel rates, you will be surprised by the rates of Club Du Lac Tanganyika rates. Link up with a local to take you through this beautiful capital. Remember to ask permission before you take photographs of anything and everything. I lost over 30 minutes of my time because I took photos of a catholic cathedral. According to the guard, for all they know I could have ill intentions. Even after deleting the photos he was adamant to let me go, instead he insisted I talk to the Priest who would come in later. I thought this was unnecessary but well I obliged. Otherwise explore Burundi even beyond Bujumbura, that will be on my next adventure, for now Bujumbura is all I could bite and chew.