Description of Burundi holiday
The tiny nation of Burundi is the focus of your trip, and you’ll spend eight days getting to know its history, culture and wildlife; including dense forests, lively cities and flora and fauna rich national parks. Even better, you’ll do so without meeting many other visitors, as Burundi is far from the main tourist trail.
Kicking off your trip, you’ll get to grips with local culture and customs with a tour of the suburbs of capital Bujumbura, run by local women. You’ll also learn about the country’s pre- and post-colonial history. Other cultural highlights include a visit to the National Museum of Gitega, which has an impressive collection of artefacts, and watching a performance of renowned Burundian drummers on the royal hill of Gishora.
You’ll also have the chance to explore some of the country’s rich nature reserves and areas of natural beauty, including the wetlands of Rusizi National Park, where you’ll find hippos, sitatungas and many species of bird; the ‘Chutes de la Kalera’, a collection of waterfalls rumoured to have healing powers; and Lake Rwihinda National Reserve, where you’ll take a sunrise tour in a dugout canoe.
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PlanetThis tour travels through some of the world’s most remote and unspoilt regions, far away from the well beaten tourist trail. Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental. We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, an important effort in a country where the environment is often taken for granted and green thinking is only just emerging.
In the national parks that we visit on this trip we follow strict guidelines regarding behaviour towards wildlife, ensuring that our presence here does not upset the delicate balance of nature. The fees that we pay to enter the parks contribute towards conservation efforts and our presence here goes some way towards demonstrating to local people that the natural environment can be of benefit to them simply left as it is, rather than being viewed as a source of resources such as firewood, land for agriculture etc. Local people are employed by the parks and reserves we visit meaning thaty nearbyu communities have a stake in preserving these regions for generations to come.
PeopleThis tour involves local people as much as possible, ensuring that they see direct benefits from tourism. One example of this is the city tour on Day 2, which is conducted by local women from the suburb of Kinama who are able to give a very personal introduction to Bujumbura and the challenges of life here. We ensure that we use guides, boat captains and other service providers from the communities that we travel through meaning that some of the more remote communities gain advantage from our visit rather than economic benefits being confined largely to the capital.
Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.
We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.
We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.