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Burundi Driving Guide

Burundi is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-26 · 9 mins.

Adventure awaits in Burundi for the intrepid traveler. As one of Africa’s famous countries, Burundi contains everything from busy streets and cities, tranquil fishing ports, never-ending deserts, and majestic mountains. The variation in Burundi’s terrain makes it a perfect place for adventure seekers, and its many areas that have remained unexplored adds to the thrill and mystery of this African nation.

Burundi is known for its street framework and lower levels of associations to traffic-related accidents. The country’s emphasis on tourism entices travelers from all around the world. Before going to this country, try to learn some tips about driving in Burundi today. For one, check if the country requires the International Driver’s Permit (IDP). The purpose of this guide is to supervise you on the acquisition of the permit and keep your driving in Burundi on track.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Try to organize your travel ahead of time in the event that you decide to travel here. This guide will provide all the information that will surely make your Burundian excursion an unforgettable experience. Such knowledge will include how to get a great look at the country by using a car, the best driving in Burundi itinerary, driving in Burundi borders, and opportunities such as driving jobs in the nation. Before driving in Burundi, quarantine yourself first for at least two weeks.

To make your knowledge about Burundian driving rules robust, this comprehensive guide will also include some useful tips about driving in Burundi regions. It will particularly focus on details involving driving in Burundi locations, consequences of driving without a license, and guidelines of driving in Burundi with the help of the International Driver’s Association (IDA). Therefore, if you want to have hassle-free driving in Burundi, now is the time to read all the information below.

General Information

Tutsi and Hutu are the widespread ethnic groups of Burundi, with the former comprising the vast majority of the Burundian populace and the latter forming a significant minority. Other communities present in the country include the Swahili-speaking people from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania and the Twa Pygmies. Physical variations in the appearance of people of these different groups is mainly a result of intermarriage activities happening in the country for over centuries.

Geographic Location

The country of Tanzania is what borders Burundi to the east; Lake Tanganyika to the southwest; Rwanda to the North; and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Burundi is covered by a chain of high plateaus and mountains that arose from the Precambrian rocks of Mount Heha, which is the country’s highest peak. The Rusizi River is what separates the country from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Languages Spoken

Bantu and Rundi are the official languages in Burundi, and the majority of the nation’s locals use them as the standard medium of communication. The major ethnic groups of Tutsi and Hutu can speak both the Rundi and Bantu languages. Another language that is spoken by a minority of the Burundi populace is French. The language of trade called Swahili is another language that is spoken by the nation’s capital, Bujumbura.

As Burundian locals cannot speak the English language at a conversational level, communication with the residents is proven to be quite difficult for English-speaking travelers. Nevertheless, learning about their other dialects is an excellent way to resolve this and immerse in the culture of the country. Before your trip, you can easily learn words from the internet that will certainly help you during your vacation.

Land Area

The country’s total land area is reported to be 27,834 km2. Natural forest vegetation is not conspicuous anymore on the Burundi landscape but can still be observed covering higher mountain slopes. Open savannas are prominent on the lower slopes of high plateaus and woodland savannas on the terrains of higher plateau elevations. The country’s diverse wildlife has taken a toll due to the poaching activities present in the country.


From 1885 until 1916, Burundi was considered a German colony. Afterwards, the Germans left the country and the League of Nations sent the Belgians to come in as the country’s new colonizers. In the 1930s, the Belgians started to divide the ethnic communities of the country by creating tribal associations to reign more comfortably. It is during this period that social status became prominent and there was a clear distinction between the landlords and the farmers.

The landlords of the country were called the Tutsis, while those who are often engaged in farming activities were called the Hutus. Not only is the distinction between the Hutus and Tutsis prominent in terms of the social construct, but the country’s government also favored the Tutsis over the Hutus. The Tutsis were given more privileges such as school scholarships and better job opportunities than the Hutus

It was in the 1950s that rebellious movements against the Belgians were instigated by the educated Africans. These intellectuals together with people from other nations, started combating against the oppression brought about by the Belgian colonization movement. With this rebellion of the Africans, the Belgian colonization system began to falter and the apparent hierarchy in the country was eradicated.


The country of Burundi has a Republic type of government. Its constitutions advocates topics such as international agreements and treaties; political parties; duties of the citizen and the individual; sovereignty and state of the people; basic human rights; and the independent judiciary. The three branches of its government include executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The executive branch is headed by the President and is given a five- year tem. One of the most important responsibilities of the President is the appointment of a judge and executive tasks of the government. The highest court of the land is the supreme court under the judicial branch, and the appointed judges have no term limit. The senate is the authority of the legislative branch and is responsible for the country’s policy-making tasks.


Burundi is one of the few African nations whose land and sea borders were colonized by invaders. For this reason, the culture in this country is often considered pure from a cultural standpoint, and many alluded to it as a historical kingdom. Compared to other African nations, Burundi has a small size, thus, making the activity of driving ideal for visiting different attractions and experiencing the things that the country has to offer.

Burundian customs, language, history, and Islamic heritage make the nation an integral part of the larger Christian community where the majority of the population are identified as Roman Catholic. Most of the people that reside in this country are very friendly and there are a lot of wonderful attractions for you to visit. The nation is most famous for its happy locals that are well-known around the world for their drum performances to celebrate life in general.

Burundian climate is mainly influenced by the factor of elevation, which dictates the country’s tropical climate. The government’s high elevation creates a relatively cool atmosphere, averaging about seventy degrees throughout the year. These principal elements that constitute the country’s climate influence Algerian agriculture and many other seasonal activities. The country’s gentle climate is one of the factors that attract people to visit Burundi.

Special Visas

Visitors who are planning to enter Africa are supposed to possess a passport that is valid for half a year past your proposed take-off date, along with pertinent travel documents, adequate funds for the term of your stay, and accommodation proof. If it's not too much trouble, you should likewise make sure that you have several available visa pages in your passport. The country requires at least three blank pages if you will visit more than one nation.

Aside from the valid passport, an unabridged birth certificate is a document required for travelers under 18 years old when entering, transiting, or departing Botswana and South Africa. An authenticated sworn translation in the English language should go together with all travel documents that are in languages other than English. Border crossing fees are present in Burundi, and that fees are continuously increasing.


Traveling around a foreign nation at the comfort of your own schedule will make your travel more fun, rather than being an inconvenience. Renting a vehicle is one way for you to achieve this comfort. In such a manner, a significant inquiry that you should pose to yourself before driving in an unfamiliar country is if its administration expects you to acquire the IDP. In the case of this nation, driving in Burundi today as a tourist won’t be possible without this crucial permit. Experience the world's best travel destinations with the help of the International Driving Permit.

Having the IDP with you will ensure a safe and smooth excursion to a foreign country. The presence of the valid international driving permit allows driving in Burundi cities and rural areas a pleasurable encounter. Getting this permit is simple and bother-free as it should effortlessly be possible online with the International Drivers Association’s (IDA) assistance. To know more about the permit’s application process, keep reading forward to guarantee a simple and smooth driving in Burundi as a vacationer.

Who Needs an IDP?

If you travel overseas all the time, it shouldn’t be a secret to you that the IDP is one of the crucial documents to carry, especially if you plan on driving in the country. When driving in Burundi, a map is not only the important driving material that you should be carrying but the IDP as well. It is an interpretation of your ordinary driver's permit, and it licenses neighborhood specialists from the country to assess whether you are skilled to drive on their streets or not.

If you plan to grab opportunities for driving in Burundi, now is the time that you should learn about the IDP. It can be carried together with your regular license so that you can still drive while you apply for the native driver’s permit in the country. The permit allows you to drive comfortably as opposed to the hassle brought upon by using public transportation. The equivalent can be said to those who are intending to reside in the nation for a longer duration or permanently.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Burundi?

Driving in a Burundi region with your native driving licence is not sufficient should you have plans of operating a vehicle. If you are a tourist, for example, if you are driving in Burundi as a Korean, you must acquire an International Driver’s License or IDP as a supporting document. The said license allows you to access different driving routes in Burundi even if you don’t have the country’s native license.

In the case of driving in Burundi as a UK tourist, your native license will allow you to drive in the country for six months. After the said duration, when driving in Burundi with the UK license, the regular permit should be accompanied by the IDP. The IDP will still allow you to drive while you are applying for the native license. To ensure manageable driving in Burundi, a map can be a helpful tool to navigate its confusing roads. In addition, driving in Burundi with the zip code of the location you want to visit can be helpful.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Burundi?

For most foreigners of the country, the answer is yes. Whether you are a tourist who is in the country for business purposes or for a holiday, the IDP is an essential document for you to carry. Burundi is one of the countries that follow the Geneva Convention of Road Traffic, so it's best to have a 1949 IDP. Possession of this permit will enable you to drive on Burundian roads. Remember that this permit isn't a substitute for your local driver’s license. Accordingly, when driving via a vehicle as a tourist in Burundi, make sure that you carry both the IDP and your native license.

The IDP is also essential for those who plan to live in Burundi and plan on grabbing an opportunity to be a driver in the country. Lets’ say, if you are a foreigner driving in Burundi from Japan, the IDP, together with your regular license, will still allow you to drive. Afterward, you are required to apply for a local Burundian license for you to keep on driving in Burundi cities. You should apply for the local license, which requires a theoretical and a practical exam.

When Will I Use My IDP?

The IDP is generally used by tourists who plan to drive on the roads of a foreign country. If you are driving in Burundi with your local license, you are required to be in possession of this permit as it is not a replacement for the country’s driver’s license. The two documents must be carried together all the time as one is deemed pointless without the other. To not spoil your driving in Burundi itinerary, the IDP should always be with you.

The IDP is used as an interpretation of your local driver's permit. If you decide to stay in the country for a long period of time, the IDP and your regular license will still allow you to drive while you apply for the Burundian native license. The permit will also prevent you from being called out by the country’s local authorities if ever you find yourself driving in Burundi borders for interstate or intercity travels.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

All drivers carrying a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. When driving in Burundi locations, the permit is crucial if you want to drive on the roads of this country. Therefore, you need to secure a local license from your native country before requesting an IDP. In the case of a person carrying a student license, you cannot be issued with an IDP. Keep in mind that this permit is just a translation of your native license.

Because of the IDP, non-English speaking enforcers in the country that you will visit can quickly assess whether you’re competent to drive or not. In case you're prepared to apply for an IDP to savor your driving times in Burundi, visit the International Drivers Association's application page and pick an IDP bundle that will relate to the legitimacy of your IDP. Here are the prerequisites for your application:

‚óŹ Passport Copy (if needed)

‚óŹ Valid Government Issued Driver‚Äôs License

‚óŹ Passport Size Photo of Yourself

When Can I Apply for an IDP?

Knowing whether the nation you will visit requires an IDP is a primary thing you should do prior to applying for the license. If you plan on driving in Burundi, quarantine yourself first and should always carry the IDP and your regular license while driving. Applying for this grant has no particular time.

The International Drivers Association gives a quick preparation of this license. In a range of two hours, they would already be able to grant it, which you can download and print to drive a vehicle. So, start visiting the driving in Burundi website of IDA now to apply.

How Long Is an IDP Valid?

The validity of an IDP can affect your application cost. The most limited validity if you get yours from the International Drivers Association is one year. There are two-year and three-year bundles, too. Do remember that when using the IDP, your regular driving license should also be legitimate for at least one year. The IDP is pointless if your customary permit has a legitimacy period under one year.

When choosing your IDP’s validity, your motivation for travel should be your application’s focal point. A one-year IDP is enough if you just have a short driving itinerary in Burundi for an excursion and won't travel to another country for the following three years. Should you wish to go abroad twice every year for the following three years, a three-year IDP is the best bundle to acquire. An IDP with a more extended validity is proposed for longer excursions.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

No. It is imperative to remember that the IDP is not a substitute for your local license. As mentioned above, when you are driving in Burundi as a Korean tourist, your regular license should always be accompanied by your IDP. The IDP will serve as a document to enable the country’s local authorities to see if you are a competent driver. The permit’s validity is for one to three years and should be accompanied by your regular license that should also be valid.

When you get your IDP from the International Drivers’ Association, you're presently permitted to travel to 200 other nations in a vehicle aside from Burundi. The IDP translates your local permit into 12 languages. So, when traffic police who don't talk in your language ask you to display your standard driver’s permit, the IDP essentially works by translating everything that's written on your standard license.

What Do I Do If I Lost My IDP?

If you lose your IDP in a foreign country, you are required to get a new one in order for you to continue driving. Luckily, the International Driver’s Association (IDA) can easily resolve this problem by quickly providing a replacement of your lost IDP. Shipping of the new IDP into your exact location is also possible in IDA. . Just call the company’s customer service to have them deliver your replacement IDP into your house.

Renting a Car in Burundi

Comfortably exploring a beautiful country is something that many travelers are trying to achieve. This can easily be attained by renting and driving your own car. This won't just make your excursion a walk in the park, yet it will likewise save you energy and the time that is usually associated with following a tight timetable.

Anyway, how are you supposed to rent a car in Burundi as a tourist? Stress no more as this guide will provide you with valuable information about vehicle rentals so that you can religiously adhere to your driving itinerary in Burundi.

Car Rental Companies

The process of car rental in Burundi can be done in several ways. One is through online car rental services that can be accessed on your computer, which is where you can book your desired vehicle before your trip. Another alternative is by searching for a car rental company that is present in the area you’re going to visit. Between the two, booking a car online is a more convenient and popular choice for tourists

Among the online services available on the internet, Kayak has made its mark as one of the best providers for leasing vehicles. This reputable car hiring company has been around for many years and is often considered an innovator in the foreign vehicle rental market, offering their customers the lowest prices in the business. This company has a cordial staff which you can contact and convey your questions concerning your visits to this lovely nation.

Documents Required

While rental organizations don't generally check if renting tourists have an IDP, it will negatively represent an issue if you get captured by the neighborhood enforcers or if you get involved in a car accident or any traffic-related mishaps. Thus, it is imperative to check the prerequisites and standards of the rental specialist co-op before traveling. There are explicit driving permit prerequisites for vehicle rentals in the nation.

By and large, a regular driver's permit and an IDP are the standard forms being needed by these local traffic enforcers. In addition, remember that not every person is permitted to rent vehicles in Burundi. Your records must be complete, and you should be at a specific age as the country requires an age limit. You will regularly be requested the following before you're qualified for vehicle rental:

  • A valid passport
  • Payment of rental fees with a valid credit card
  • A valid driver‚Äôs (driving) license and a native driver‚Äôs license are supposed to accompany an International Driving Permit if you‚Äôre a tourist
  • A minimum age limit where the drivers should at least be 21 years old and above. Many agencies set an age limit for car rentals at ages 70 to 75 years old.

Vehicle Types

A vehicle that is comfortable, fuel-efficient, and reliable can be provided to you when by the right car hiring company. Burundi rental companies have a large number of options to choose from. A conservative car is ideal for you if you will drive alone in Burundi, and an SUV would probably be best if a large group of people accompanies you. Then again, in case you're accustomed to driving an automatic car, you'd be lucky to be not picking a vehicle with a manual transmission.

As there are plenty of car choices for you, planning ahead will be prudent. You can discover many vehicles from various classes like Economic, Mini, Luxury, Compact, Full-Size SUV, or Full-Size Automat. The most mainstream rental vehicle is Dacia Logan. However, expensive vehicles enlist administrations are not bizarre to Burundian nearby rental organizations.

Age Requirements

Driving in Burundi is an activity that can be performed by those that are at ages 18 years old and above. However, many car rental companies require an age of at least 21 years old before clients can actually lease one of their vehicles. Other rental organizations require a base age of 23 years of age. Other rental organizations may expect you to be 27 or 28 years old if you are inclined to lease costly vehicle models.

In addition, the highest age requirement for people who want to rent a car shifts for many rental organizations. Yet, more often than not, they permit people who are 70 to 75 years old to rent a car from them. Another prerequisite by most vehicle rental suppliers is the possession of car insurance, which is advantageous should you be subjected to any mishaps while driving. Most vehicle rental organizations can also provide their driver’s service.

Car Rental Cost

For some travelers, the cost is an enormous factor to consider when renting a vehicle in Burundi. Make sure to obtain the ideal arrangement without trading off your driving experience. Car rental in this country is very cheap, and you can avail of a service that is low as six USD for an acceptable vehicle. Other rental organizations in Burundi even offer a service of eight USD, and that is already including a driver of your own.

With a rented vehicle in Burundi, you can tour its well-known tourist locations. To set aside cash from doing this, attempt to reduce your fuel expense altogether by renting a vehicle that demands Euro diesel. Euro diesel has a higher eco-friendliness, which will allow you to head out to significant distances at a lesser fuel utilization. Another tip when driving in Burundi, airport car rental providers even provide a lower price than those that were mentioned above.

Car Insurance Policy

If you decide on driving a car in Burundi, keep in mind that travel insurance does not cover potential damage or theft on your leased car. As such, the procurement of comprehensive insurance is advised when renting a vehicle. Unlike European car rental providers, African states usually do not require their clients to avail themselves of rented car insurance, but it is still ideal to have one, just in case.

Some travel insurance already safeguards harm to the vehicle, which is not covered by the vehicle protection of the rental organization. Most cars leased in Burundi are not covered by insurance. Renters are liable for damage or accidents that they might cause to their leased car. For this reason, African car rental organizations usually require a higher age range from their clients and someone who is in possession of their driver’s license for at least two years.

Road Rules in Burundi

As a foreign visitor of an African country, you should be mindful of Burundi’s essential driving guidelines and regulations. This will prevent the possibility of being called out by police officers that can impose punishments on the off chance that you break one of the traffic rules. Taking the time to know or read about these rules is the best way to prevent such occurrences from happening.

Driving in Burundi has a history that is recognized by other African nations as not being a pleasant experience due to the poor standards of driving in the country.

Important Regulations

Taking into account the driving rules of a nation is important for a driving foreigner. Your license, for instance, can direct whether you have the consent to drive in Burundi. In this regard, you are not allowed to drive on Burundian roads as a foreigner if you do not carry the IDP together with your native license. In addition, your age is another factor that could determine if you are qualified to drive. Further, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is strictly prohibited.

In regard to the driving age limit, if you are under 18 years of age, you will automatically be confined from driving. Moreover, the nation implements 70 to 75 years of age to its drivers as the highest possible range for driving. Laws about driving in Burundi are very strict as this can pose potential accidents when operating a car on the country’s roads. You have to respect and follow all of Burundi’s driving rules to ensure that you won’t get into possible mishaps.


This nation implements no disciplinary measures for guilty traffic parties and alcoholic drivers. Unfortunately, there are no restrictions about drunk driving in Burundi, and locals seem to take advantage of this tolerant disposition toward drunk driving. Although this is the case in Burundi, you as a foreigner should still be disciplined as a driver and practice defensive driving in Burundi to reduce the risk of experiencing traffic-related accidents while driving.

As mentioned above, driving in Burundi has a history that is considered unpleasant by other nations, and one factor that contributes to this bad driving reputation of the country is the leniency towards drinking and driving. If you are a disciplined driver, it should be common sense to you that a body that is influenced by alcohol will only introduce you to many dangers. As such, never give in to the practice of reckless driving to prevent such hazards from happening.

Before Driving

Before you start getting a map and driving in Burundi, you should try to demonstrate the best driving standards that are acceptable in the country. What is allowed and prohibited differs from one nation to the other, and it's essential to understand the activities that you are allowed to perform before getting in the driver's seat. It is necessary to know the driving principles in the country to guarantee safe driving in Burundi.

Turning Signals at an Intersection

You will experience numerous traffic circles at multiple cities and parkway convergences, which are now and then constrained by traffic signals and, some of the time, not. Drivers who are entering traffic circles have the option to proceed. You should be in the left or maybe center path before you turn if you plan to turn left.

If you continue a straight way or plan to turn right, it is ideal for driving on the right-hand side of the road. Right of way is given to walkers and cyclists who are crossing cycle tracks or asphalts in Burundi.


Upon arrival, leave your vehicle in a safe territory that has traffic enforcers or people. Park your car in bright areas if the territory is dim. Sometimes, parking rates are inevitable, so always bring your money for possible expenses. Remember to always lock all the doors of your vehicle and never leave your assets inside your car.

Ensure You and Your Vehicle are in Good Condition Before Driving

As a cautious driver, you are expected to be free of any form of alcoholic libation prior to driving. Individuals with eye issues are restricted from driving, except if they have eyewear that will make their vision fit for driving. Moreover, ensure that your vehicle is in acceptable condition by checking its battery, brakes, tires, and motor. Moreover, have an adequate gas volume for your whole outing to keep away from the need for searching for a fuel station.

General Standards of Driving

When driving, be careful, and always be mindful of the street and the driving signs in Burundi. Never lose your focus while driving by ignoring sounds from your cell phone. If this is unavoidable, park your car in a safe and allowable spot before checking your phone. Also, remember to always follow the speed limit enforced on the street. Ultimately, be mindful of fees that you might be paying along the way, such as tolls when driving in Burundi.

Speed Limits

Burundi’s speed limits are normally estimated in kilometers every hour, and you should always be cautious enough not to go beyond these caps while driving. Doing so will ensure that you won’t break any traffic rules in the country Speed limits vary around different territories in Burundi. A speed cap of 60 km/hr is evident in built-up areas such as towns and cities; 90 km/hr in open gravel roads; and a 120 km/hr restriction is implemented on motorways.

In addition to avoiding possible punishments of breaking Burundian speed limits, it is also important to drive slowly and carefully to have a better view of your surroundings where warning and traffic signs are scattered. This is particularly ideal when driving in metropolitan territories where streets are tighter due to the higher number of individuals, which will reduce the potential of getting into any car-related accidents. Likewise, slower driving is a better practice for a tourist.

Seatbelt Laws

Safe driving is an important activity that should always be in your mind if you are a new traveler. Wearing safety belts is required when driving in Burundi. It is also obligatory that all vehicle seats have their safety belt. Should a condition prevent you from wearing a seatbelt, make sure to carry a medical certificate. In the event of crises, it is necessary that you keep a fire extinguisher, two warning triangles, and a medical aid pack in the vehicle consistently.

Stricter standards are implemented if you have a child in your vehicle. Appropriate child seats should be used for kids that are somewhere between the ages of 3 and 11 and measure under 1.35 meters. Moreover, a child should be positioned on the front passenger seat if he/she is below 13 years old. According to the nation's laws, a year-old child or lower weighing up to 9 kg should be situated in the security seat at the rear of the vehicle.

Driving Directions

When driving in Burundi from the airport, a map can definitely keep you on track with your itinerary. To save enough time on your Burundian adventure, you have to realize how to enter the best roads while driving in this nation. This can simply be attained by asking local residents of the country, especially transport drivers, as they are the most solid individuals to request such details. Another method is by investigating online a map of the area that you will explore.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs are actually not common on the streets of Burundi. The presence of these signs ensures that traffic will flow smoothly and be regulated. As a consequence, the standard of driving in this African leaves nothing to be desired. Traffic signs are only numerous in major cities, and many of them are similar to that of European countries. There are signs on their roads that are exclusive to them, and drivers will likely encounter them during their travel.

To strategically distance yourself from trouble and overwhelming your mind with what they mean, you should, in any event, have essential information about them to ensure a smooth excursion. The list below are the general road sign categories that you should know before driving in Burundi:

  • Mandatory road signs- are not suggestions but are mainly used when required to carry out a specific task. They are sometimes called information or advisory signs, and they must be strictly followed and, as such, are possibly the most important road signs in Burundi that you should know
  • Prohibitory road signs- are generally used on all road types of the country. They are designed to restrict certain types of vehicles and certain maneuvers, such as setting speed limits or prohibiting U-turns
  • Warning signs- are often red or yellow to advise drivers of possible danger. They are mainly designed to alert drivers of potential hazards ahead
  • Information signs- are the most frequently used road signs in Burundi and generally provide general information about the road a traveler is driving on
  • Priority Road Signs- are designed to clarify who has priority on the road or junction ahead

Right of Way

When driving in Burundi, the correct side of the road is a very important detail that travelers should know about. In most African nations, you have the right of way when you are driving on the left-hand side of African streets. The same can be said for the country of Burundi. Moreover, the right of way is given to individuals who are crossing a pedestrian lane, and always slow down when you are near one. In the event that traffic signals are absent, priority is also given to pedestrians.

The lowest allowable driving age in Burundi and other African countries is 18 years old. However, the case is different when driving a leased car from a rental organization. Most companies require an age of at least 21 years old before they will lease their cars to a client. In addition, a higher age requirement is sought by these organizations should you want to rent a luxury car.

You should have a hold of your driver's license for at least two years before you are considered qualified for driving by these companies. To meet all requirements for a Burundian driver's permit, the nation’s residents have to pass the theoretical and practical driving test in the country. Local residents must be at least 18 years old for them to take the test.

In the case of a tourist who wants to stay in the country for a longer duration, he/she must also pass the examination in the country. While doing this, it is imperative for you to have your IDP so that you can still drive on their roads while processing the Burundian native license.

Laws on Overtaking

Besides the recently mentioned driving in Burundi laws, overtaking on the nation’s roads has rules to be adhered to by local and foreign drivers. To find out about them, read the information about overtaking in the country:

  • It is disallowed to overtake at street humps, on twists, bottlenecks, at intersections, and passerby intersections
  • When driving in Burundi, the left or right of the roadsides should be checked upon by the driver prior to overtaking
  • Overtaking in dreary zones where there is deficient visibility on the road is highly discouraged
  • Moving to another lane and overtaking at a bus stop is additionally restricted in the nation
  • It is critical to be alert when overtaking in interurban and metropolitan territories. Possibly do so when turnpikes are available

Driving Side

Unlike most countries around the world, you are required to drive on the left roadside when in Burundi. As such, their driving seats are expected to be situated on the vehicle's right side. If you’re trained in right-hand traffic like in the case of Romanian drivers, you will surely find it difficult to drive Burundian vehicles. It is, therefore, necessary that before you drive a Burundian car, you must practice driving a car that is designed along these lines.

Driving Etiquette in Burundi

Following the driving principles of a foreign nation is imperative if you want to visit the country for business or personal reasons. You should also consistently show your best behavior when operating a car on its roads by respecting the traffic rules. This is a sure way to experience smooth driving and prevent the possibility of being confronted by local authorities. If a situation inevitably introduces you to traffic enforcers, be prudent enough to follow their instructions.

Car Breakdown

Encountering vehicle breakdowns is an unavoidable situation that you might experience in a foreign nation, and it is unsurprising not to panic. Vehicle breakdowns are an enormous problem, and they can ruin your whole outing if you don't have the faintest inkling of what to do when presented in this circumstance. Next is an informative list of the things you should do when in quite an unpleasant condition:

1. Make your vehicle as noticeable as possible.

To do this, you can turn on your emergency lights to tell individuals that you are encountering a driving issue. When left in a protected and suitable spot, use obvious warning signals, such as notice lights, flares, or a caution triangle to alarm anybody of your vehicle's presence. It is more common sense to situate your notice device a long-distance away behind your car to get the consideration of drivers or nearby traffic enforcers.

2. Get off the street.

Attempt to pull your vehicle away from the road with an alert. If you are trapped in rush hour gridlock, escape your vehicle and cautiously stroll to another area. If you are driving on a bustling road or your car is left on the shoulder, exit on the traveler side. When you own the car, lock it and leave a note containing your telephone number on the windshield if traffic enforcers stop by your car. If you are renting, try to contact your car rental supplier before leaving and resting in a protected spot.

3. Keep the entryways locked.

If you are in a protected area where individuals can see you, attempt to stand by inside your vehicle. Never open your doors and keep your safety belt attached and attempt to contact somebody you know or your vehicle rental supplier.

4. Exercise alertness.

It is necessary to be cautious and exercise decision-making ability before asking for help from outsiders. If you doubt nearby inhabitants who are attempting to help, remain inside the vehicle and lower your window enough so they could hear your voice. If help is on the way, you can politely decline assistance from others and thank them.

Police Stops

If local traffic authorities stop you, you are expected to know the appropriate procedures to perform, especially when you are a visitor in a foreign country. When facing these people, it is imperative not to feel threatened by their presence and stay calm as much as possible. Remember that you have established rights as a driver, which you can exercise when introduced in such an event. Nevertheless, you have to be cautious when to exercise them.

When being pulled over by the country’s traffic enforcers, slow down, stop your car, and turn on your hazard lights. If you have committed a traffic violation, the enforcer will most likely approach you and check your travel permits, such as your IDP and driver’s license. When this happens, respond by respectfully greeting the officer or police and promptly show your driving records, and state your reason for driving.

Asking Directions

If your intention of visiting Burundi is to do business or travel, you should be mindful that exploring a foreign country can be a difficult task, especially when you are driving. Fortunately, Burundian locals are reported to be kind-hearted and very accommodating to tourists. However, you may still encounter native residents who are generally anxious to lend a hand to tourists, particularly when requesting help.

For English speakers, your fears are allayed as locals of the country are reported to be proficient at speaking the language at a conversational level.


When driving a vehicle in this African nation, it is sometimes inevitable to pass checkpoints, particularly when passing through borders. As a landlocked country, land border crossings are very prominent in Burundian roads. It is just typical for these checkpoints to be protected by traffic officers and for them to stop and approach you for a few inquiries or search for driving records before they let you go through. Always show respect and display appropriate behavior.

You can quickly greet the traffic officers and immediately show them your records. When they have inquiries concerning your intention of entering the border, politely answer them with an honest answer. In the event that they are not English speakers, gradually talk so they can understand you. Likewise, you can use an excellent translating application on your cell phone to engage in a more uncomplicated discussion with them.

Other Tips

Knowing how to access the best roads while in a foreign country is probably the best way to explore a nation in a car. Transport vehicle drivers are known to be the best people to ask such information when touring. Taking advantage of the internet is also an effective way to find the best roads of the country. In this light, you can easily search for a map of the area that you are visiting, or try to look for driving directions with the help of google maps.

Driving Conditions in Burundi

One important detail to ponder as a traveler in Burundi is if it is safe to drive on this nation’s roads. When driving in this country, it is expected that you will encounter traffic conditions that are different from that of western countries. Being a landlocked country, Burundi mainly depends on its roads for travel. Driving is reported to be safe in the country, but caution is often advised to travelers who happen to drive in urban areas such as the capital city of Bujumbura.

Roads of this nation are usually long, wide, gravel-unsealed and with very little traffic, thus making driving situations fairly easy and manageable. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to demonstrate protective driving strategies on the off chance that you decide to drive in Burundi. Like in most countries, it is still ideal for practicing safe driving distance, being mindful of traffic signs, and being cautious of wild animals that might cross your path.

Accident Statistics

As reported by the 2018 Road Traffic Accident Deaths by the World Health Organization, traffic-related deaths in Burundi’s country have reached 3709 fatalities. The number ranks Burundi 10th in the world with the most number of deaths, with an adjusted death rate of 43 per 10000 individuals. Given this data about the country’s traffic, travelers are often advised to always be defensive when driving on Burundian roads.

Like most African nations, the highest number of car-collision accidents is recorded in the nation’s capital city. This was observed to be attributed to the lack of dual carriage highways in the country and the country’s absent tolerance to drunk driving. Sadly, despite the several campaigns for road safety, the country is still losing many lives because of road accidents.

Common Vehicles

Like many other nations around the globe, taxis are expected to be in huge numbers in the major cities of Burundi. Aside from taxis, other means of transportation that can provide means of travel are passenger cars like mini buses, truck-taxis, and rental vehicles for those who want to drive privately.

Road Situation

While roads in more prominent urban communities are commonly in reasonable condition, two major concerns about Burundian roads are the lack of dual carriage highways, roads that are not sealed by gravel. The same cannot be said in rural areas where roads are observed to be in poor condition. Although there are few vehicles in this country, the lack of road signs and warnings greatly contributes to the high traffic-related accidents reported in the country. Drive with extra caution when driving during the rainy season.

Driving Culture

As a result of the poor driving training in Burundi, drivers often overlook traffic rules and regulations. As a result of this reckless driving, street related mishaps are experienced in the country. Other comparative driving malpractices are regularly seen on Burundian roads, and it is up to you as a tourist to drive defensively as a vacationer if you plan on driving in the nation with your own vehicle. This practice will prevent you from encountering potential traffic accidents.

Other Tips

Other important traffic-related details about Burundian driving are necessary should you want to enjoy your trip. Speed caps are crucial details that you might want to know before you start driving. Read more about them with the information written below.

Do They Use Kph to Display Speed Limits?

Kilometers per hour is the standard speed unit used in the country of Burundi. Speed limits vary in different areas of the country. As previously mentioned, the speed limit varies around other areas of the country. A speed limit of 60 km/hr is evident in towns and cities; 90 km/hr in open roads; and 120km/hr restriction is implemented on motorways. The fine for breaking these speed limits is under the amount you have surpassed the speed limit.

Things To Do in Burundi

Burundi is famous for its all-around, established travel industry, which implies incredible plane associations. There are a slew of activities to do in this underrated African country, especially for people who love nature, nature, adventure, and the country’s culture. It is home to the world’s tallest sand dunes, oldest deserts, and unique cultures that will certainly pique your interest.

If you find the country as an excellent location and plan to stay there for employment, for example, trying to get driving jobs in Burundi, there are certain things that you need to exert your effort into to achieve this. To help you with your future plans, carefully read the following information on how you can attain your dream of living and working in Burundi.

Drive as a Tourist

Indeed, all vacationers of legal driving age can operate a car in Burundi, as long as you have the essential documents. If you have plans of getting a driving job, check for the latest driving vacancies in Burundi first before applying for the working residence permit and native driver’s license. One tip when applying for the driver’s permit, check how much to pay to get the country’s driver’s license and review driving lessons to pass the exam.

Work as a Driver

In the event that you want to look for driving jobs in this African country, you should check first from the internet about the latest driving vacancies in Burundi, and try to apply online. Once there are job openings, the next step that you should take is to apply for a working residence permit.

When you acquire the residence permit, make sure to apply for the driving license of the country. The main driving license requirement is the practical exam. When getting the driver’s license in Burundi, you need to know about how much to pay and how to pass the prerequisite license exam.

Apply for Residency

The process of obtaining a residency in Burundi is often described as a daunting and complex process. Requirements for the application of Burundian residency depends on whether you are an investor, working, or retired. Despite this variation in the residency application, there are several aspects that are considered standard.

The following are the standard documents necessary for the application of a Burundian residence permit:

  • Application form
  • Photographs (4 pieces)
  • Original passport
  • Notarized copy of any travel document such as passport
  • Evidence of Health Insurance
  • Medical report
  • Police clearance certificate

Other Things to Do

Other things can be done in the country of Burundi in the event that you decide to stay longer or permanently. Due to its undeniable beauty, many are enamored and are enticed to live and work in the country.

How Can I Convert My License in Burundi?

For you to still have the capacity to drive in Burundi as a permanent resident, you should get the country’s local driver’s license. The procedures for getting this license is practically the same with other countries. Some of the prerequisites for its application include your native driver's license, visa, passport, and your international driver's license. You are supposed to also pass the country’s practical and theoretical driving exam to acquire the license.

The Top Destinations in Burundi

Burundi is viewed as an African paradise by those who had the opportunity to visit the country. Burundi is truly an amazing country to visit, as it showcases many attractions that will entice people from different parts of a spectrum. Suppose you want to make your Burundian adventure worth it, it is ideal to rent a car to explore its attractions.

This guide has provided below a list of vehicle destinations that you can visit. When driving in Burundi, a zip code of the destination you’re going to visit can help you easily find these location


An excursion to Burundi should start by visiting the excellent city and nation’s capital, Bujumbura. A trip to the Rusizi National Park can be the first thing you do in this area. This spot of Bujumbura is famous for the Rusizi River, where hippos and crocodiles are the common attraction of the water body. As the nation’s capital, Bujumbura also showcases the best hotels and theme parks of the country.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head south on R.N.5 toward R.N.5.
  2. Continue on R.N.5. Take Boulevard du 1er Novembre to Ave. Ntahangwa in Bujumbura.
  3. Continue on Ave Ntahangwa. Drive to Rue du Tanganyika.

Things to Do

If you wish to make your stay in this area worthwhile, here’s a list of the most enjoyable activities to do in Bujumbura.

1. Visit the Rusizi National Park

The Rusizi National Park is the perfect attraction to visit if your interest is to enjoy the beauty of nature and wildlife. The park is the ideal spot to do crocodile and hippo watching together with your family or friends.

2. Relax at Africa’s Best Hotels

If you have a large budget during your Burundian Tour, then spending some time lin the largest hotels of Bujumbura will provide the best leisure that you will experience in the country. These hotels are not only places for you to take a rest, but are great venues for you to do different activities.

Step into the City’s Reptile Park

The Reptile Park of Bujumbura houses one of the most diverse species of reptiles in the country. You can find lizards, snakes, and crocodilians in this reptilian sanctuary. The park is also famous for the traditional African dancers that will make you join their beat once they start to dance.

Kiganda Royal Grounds

If you are interested in Burundi’s history, then a historical tour at Kiganda Royal Grounds is the best activity for you. A visit to this site can be an incredible chance to step foot on Burundi’s different sanctuaries that contain all the details about the country’s history. Another thing to do in this area is to enjoy a royal walk on the ground where ancient political kings were inaugurated.

Driving Directions:

  1. Drive along Chaussee de L'Agriculture.
  2. Follow RN1 and RN2 to Murambi.
  3. Drive to R.P.31 in Kiganda.

Things to Do

Fall in love with this amazing tourist spot by doing the recommended activities below.

1. Historical Tour of Burundi

The Kiganda Royal Grounds is a unique attraction found in Burundi that showcases knowledge about the country’s rich history. Present in this tourist destination is a royal ground where kings of the nation were once inaugurated.

2. Photo-op

The architecture that was put into the Kiganda Royal Grounds is something that is picturesque and is worthy to be recognized as being magnificent. To commemorate your adventure in Burundi with an amazing picture, make sure to do your photo-ops with your loved ones in this wonderful place.

3. Shopping with your Family and Friends

As the park is still located near Bujumbura, one activity that will surely complete your day while in this area is shopping. Located near the royal grounds are craft centers and general goods markets where you can buy your unique souvenirs before going home to your country.

Karera Waterfalls

After your historical adventure at the Kiganda Royal Grounds, you can drive to Rutanan and prepare to be amazed by the Karera Waterfalls. This area of Burundi is a good spot for you to relax and have a swim at this magnificent water body. The area is also home to the ‚ÄúAgasimbo dancers,‚ÄĚ who are famous for their traditional Burundian dance, which you can dance along as they play their wonderful instruments.

Driving Directions:

  1. Head north on R.P.31.
  2. Drive slightly left.
  3. Turn right onto RN2.
  4. Turn right and drive straight to reach your destination.

Things to Do

The Karera Waterfalls has a lot of amazing activities to offer to people who want to make their Burundian experience more enjoyable. Read below some of the popular things that you could do while in this amazing attraction.

1. Nature Walk in the Waterfalls Vicinity

The Karera Waterfalls is surrounded by lush green forests for you to walk on as part of seeing the amazing water body. Walking in the center of the amazing trees is a good way to relax and forget about the stress from work or from your life in general.

2. Take a Dive in the Clear Waters of the Falls

The Karera Waterfalls is famous for the crystal clear waters that run along its body. At the end of the stretch of the waterfalls is a large basin where the water accumulates and for tourists to take a cool bath to relax and unwind.

3. Visit the Infamous Nile River

The Karera Waterfalls is known to be the water source of the River Nile. As the river is near the area of the waterfalls, you should provide ample time to visit the River Nile as it is well-known for its biblical significance.


Gitega is considered the 2nd largest city in Burundi. Despite its large land area, this city offers a few attractions to tourists. However, these attractions are considered to be among the best and most interesting in the country. The city showcases the nation’s National Museum and Cathedral of Christ the King. The area is also a good place to relax as it is covered by the nicest hotels that can be found in the country.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Rutanan, head northeast and turn right onto RN2.
  2. At 750 m, turn left and slightly turn right.
  3. At 300 m, turn left onto RN2 and drive forward to reach your destination.

Things to Do

1. Enjoy in the Charming Country Fairs Located in the City

If you are with your family during your stay in Gitega, make sure to visit the small fairs that are present in the city. These venues are a perfect spot to enjoy rides with your children companions and eat popcorn or cotton candy while playing different games.

2. Buy Souvenirs from Thrift Shops and Flea Markets

The city of Gitega is known for the small shops where tourists can buy their souvenirs to commemorate their stay in the country of Burundi. Aside from general goods, you can also enjoy some of the street foods that are being sold in the area.

3. Enjoy Local Cuisines

If you’re into food trips, the city of Gitega is the perfect destination for you. Located in this city are restaurants where you can enjoy the best traditional Burundian-African cuisines in the country.


If you're fond of visiting beaches, then Nyanza-Lac is the ideal place for you. It is a little town in South Burundi whose main attraction is a beach that is surrounded by hotels that have restaurants and pools as accommodations. The area is also famous for a lake that everyone can access and dive into.

Driving Directions:

  1. Drive from RN16, R.N.8, R.N.11, and R.N.3 to Nyabutare.
  2. At the roundabout, enter the route to R.N.3.
  3. Turn right and proceed to your destination.

Visiting Nyanza-Lac offers not only fun activities, but also beautiful attractions to see as a tourist. Here’s a list of things you can do while in the area.

1. Swim in the Amazing Beaches of the Area

Located in Nyanza-Lac are white sand beaches for you to relax and enjoy a swim in their crystal-clear waters. While in these beaches, you can also partake in some of the water sports that are being promoted in the area for a cheap price.

2. Walk Around the Beach Coastline

After several hours of taking a swim in the wonderful beaches of Nyanza-Lac, you can end your day by simply walking around its coastline, while enjoying the cool sea breeze and watching the perfect orange sunset in the area.

3. Enjoy the Accommodation in the Best Hotels and Restaurants of the Area

As a major tourist spot in Burundi, Nyanza-Lac houses a large number of hotels and restaurants for tourists to try. You can enjoy activities that are being offered in hotels or Burundian food that is being served in its amazing restaurants.

With these many attractions in the wonderful nation of Burundi, people really are quickly gravitated toward visiting the county. These experiences could be at the base of your palms with the assistance of an IDP. If you plan on driving in Burundi now, you can undoubtedly secure this grant online with guidance from us, the International Drivers Association.

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