REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI
Republika y'u Burundi
République du Burundi
Location: East Central Africa
Language: French, Kirundi, Swahili
Total Area: 27,834 sq km
Currency: Burundi franc
Curious Alcohol Fact: There is a local beer called the urwarwa, and unlike other African nations where grains are used to make alcohol, urwarwa is made from bananas!
Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 9.47 liters
Most Popular Drink: Sorghum beer and urwarwa (banana beer)
Bounded by Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and the legendary Lake Tanganyika, the Republic of Burundi is one of the smallest countries in Africa. Burundi has a long history of colonial rule, and at various times, it was occupied by Germany, France and Belgium until it gained independence in 1962. There are 17 states or provinces in the country and these are further divided into communes. The climate of Burundi is greatly influenced by its location around the Equator. Much of the land is used by farmers who grow food crops and cash crops like sugarcane and coffee.
Like in the neighboring Rwanda, there are two dominant ethnic groups in the country, and these are the Hutus and the Tutsis. For centuries, these two tribes have lived together and fought against themselves but under the government of President Pierre Nkurunziza, old wounds are healing and the different tribes are now cohabiting in harmony and peace. The Twa Pygmies form the most important ethnic group after these two. A vast majority of Burundians are Christians while almost a fifth of the population are adherents of traditional African religion. Like most other Africans, Burundians are very warm and nice people, and are always eager to receive visitors.
Food-Tasty and Delicious:
If there is something I will never forget about this tiny African nation, it will be the cuisine. Burundian foods are one-of-a-kind, and can be described as fit for a king. By the way, Burundi was once a kingdom ruled by Tutsi emperors. A typical Burundian dish will contain bananas, beans and corn, talk of a balanced diet. There is a distinct taste of these meals as they are prepared using hand and no modern utensils.
What to Drink?
Although this is a landlocked nation, you will always have a cool drink for your parched throat. The traditional drink is the urwarwa, a kind of beer made from banana, and another is the sorghum beer. These drinks are cheap and you can easily purchase them at local bars. In the capital city of Bujumbura, citizens enjoy other alcohol brands such as Amstel and Primus.
Places to Go:
Even though Burundi is a small nation, you will be pleasantly surprised with the number of sites of attraction. From the southwestern city of Bururi, I was able to take a cruise down the enchantingly beautiful Lake Tanganyika. At a length over 660 kilometers, this is the longest freshwater lake in the world and the second deepest lake in the world after Lake Baikal in Russia. There are also various national parks in Ruvubu and Kibira. Here you can see some of the most exotic animals in Africa. Back at the capital city of Bujumbura, I took time to see the National Geological Museum and the National Museum of Life. I wanted to see the famed Mount Hela, the highest in the country but I ran out of time. My next expedition to Burundi will surely start from this majestic mountain.
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)
Daniel Krasnopolsky (Woodmere, NY, USA)
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