The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- all areas within 1 km of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Cibitoke and Bubanza provinces
- Ruvubu National Park
- the road north of Bujumbura airport towards Cibitoke
- the main road running west from Kayanza through the Kibira National Park
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Burundi.
The FCO’s advice against all but essential travel to Bujumbura does not include airside transit through Bujumbura International Airport.
If you don’t have an essential reason to stay in Burundi, you should leave if the opportunity arises to do so safely by commercial means.
On 2 November President Nkurunziza issued a public warning to Burundian citizens who had weapons illegally to surrender them within 5 days or they would be ‘punished in accordance with the anti terrorist law and fought like enemies of the nations.’ Security forces have authorisation from 9 November to use all means at their disposal to find weapons and re-establish security. The ruling party has also issued statements recently expressing anti-western views, and particularly anti-Belgian views.
This is likely to involve extensive police operations and house-to-house searches. There’s a possibility of unrest from 8 November onwards. You should take extra care, avoid any large public gatherings and leave the area if there’s any unrest.
Burundi has experienced political instability since President Nkrunziza was inaugurated for a controversial third term in August 2015. There have been violent incidents in some parts of Bujumbura city, including shootings. You should limit your movements, avoid large gatherings and remain vigilant at all times.
In Bujumbura you should avoid areas which have experienced violence. In particular Kanyosha, Musaga, Kamenge Cibitoke, Ngagara, Nyakabiga and Bujumbura-rural.
Avoid travelling by road outside Bujumbura after dark. This is due to the security situation and road safety concerns. See Local travel
If you travel outside Bujumbura, you should get up-to-date local advice before setting off. There are limited facilities up country with little French spoken, and limited infrastructure. Make sure you’re as well prepared and self-sufficient as possible. See Road travel
There’s a high risk of street crime, particularly while withdrawing money. There have been incidents of armed burglary, sometimes targeting foreign exchange offices and banks. See Crime
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Al Shabaab has made public threats against Burundi because of its support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
A number of grenade attacks have been reported since May 2015. They have taken place mostly in Bujumbura but also in Ngozi and Kayanza. The attacks appear to be random and do not appear to explicitly target foreigners. You should remain vigilant and avoid crowded areas (e.g. markets). See Safety and security.
A long running cholera epidemic in Burundi (including Bujumbura) caused several fatalities during 2013 and 2014. You should take necessary precautions and seek urgent medical attention if you become unwell. See Health
There’s no British Embassy in Burundi, but there is a Liaison Office in Bujumbura, which can provide limited consular advice and assistance. The Belgian Embassy is able to provide consular assistance to British nationals. All visitors or long term residents should register with the Belgian Embassy: Boulevard de la Liberté, 9, Bujumbura; telephone: + 257 22 22 32 66 or + 257 22 22 61 76; email: Bujumbura@diplobel.org. See Consular assistance
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.