Places worth visiting
GITEGA NATIONAL MUSEUM
The Gitega National Museum, located at the entry into Gitega city is one of the best places you could go to for archival information about the history of the country. Like the old woman of the clan who knows all the old stories but neglects her appearance, the general aesthetics of the structure leave a lot to be desired, but once you engage with her, the information you gain is well worth the effort.
On display are photographs explaining Burundi’s rich cultural past, ancient monarchies and architecture. There is also information about the country’s more recent turbulent history, including tragic tales of ethnic conflict and genocide.
GISHORA DRUM SANCTUARY
A Gishora is one of the Burundi’s most famous drum sites. It is about 5km from Gitega town and 200m off the Gitega-Ngozi route. It was founded by King Mwezi Gisabo and placed under the care of a local community called ‘Abatimbo’, descendants of the ancient lineage of ‘Abanyigisaka’. The site of Gishora also houses two ritual drums that were never beaten: Ruciteme and Murimirwa. A guide stationed at the site will share their fascinating story. The site also recreates an architectural complex of a Royal palace, rarely found elsewhere in the country.
A visit to these fascinating falls is generally considered a rite of passage for all visitors to Burundi. Karera waterfalls are situated about 45 km East of Gitega town, within an intimate enclave of towering trees. You can take different routes around the falls to see the six branches of the falls in all their glory. In total, the falls are spreads over three levels of dramatic beauty.
The area around Karera falls is also a great place to do some birding as there are a number of rare birds in the area.
THE GERMANS’ FAULT (RIFT)
The Germans’ Rift is also known as the Nyakazu Rift. This site is located 50km due East of Gitega on Nkoma Mountain in Kayove District. Legend goes that the first King of Burundi appeared on this mountain in the 15th century, before progressing to the heights of Muramvya. Nyakazu was a German military Station (BOMA) built for controlling the eastern part of the country up to Tanzania in 1914, the beginning of the First World War. A few stones from this historic building remain visible from the south of the Rift. The name “Germans’ Rift” is inspired by a tale that the plateau of Nkoma on which BOMA was built, “was split by the boots of German soldiers fleeing the Belgian forces”.
- Other places you may want to visit include: Gishuha hot water springs (about 10 km north of Gitega city centre) and (for Catholics especially) Mugera pilgrimage site (20 km from the center of Gitega) where the first missionaries are said to have arrived in Gitega in the late 19th century.