Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

Burundi’s former capital city, Bujumbura threw up yet another oddball on our 2019 East African adventure. This country was less than obvious addition to the schedule. A tough visa process, a country bereft of tourists and indeed a country which prompted a good friend of mine to comment “I’ve never even heard of that country”. We heard of it, we booked our flights, we got the visa (after 4 weeks of trying and waiting) and we landed on a very short 22 minute flight from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. That’s right – the visa took 4 weeks yet the flight took 22 minutes!

best hotel in bujumbura burundi

Chilling at Lake Tanganyika, Burundi

Chilling at Lake Tanganyika, Burundi

Chilling at Lake Tanganyika, Burundi

Chilling at Lake Tanganyika, Burundi

Chilling at Lake Tanganyika, Burundi

While Bujumbura is no longer the capital city (Burundi moved it to Gitega in February 2019), it is on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and for me, was the perfect place to stay.

Arrival in Bujumbura Airport, Burundi

We arrived on a RwandAir flight and were picked up on arrival by Val, owner of the newest and coolest accommodation option in Bujumbura, Burundi – Urban Lodge.

On a tuk tuk through Bujumbura, Burundi

Despite once hearing reports of tourist arrests, corruption, war and deceit in Burundi’s history, from the moment we arrived at immigration to the moment we left, we never felt uncomfortable or unsafe here. I don’t blog as much as I used to of course, back in the glory days of Don’t Stop Living, I’d have written about 7 or 8 posts on Burundi. These days, 1, maybe 2 or 3 maximum will suffice. Here’s what we thought about our room here at the Urban Lodge.

Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

1.Cosy Back Garden

Chill out in the back garden here, it’s an enclosed patio garden area. The bar serves up delicious drinks ranging from pineapple juice to local beers (made by Amstel, but brewed in Burundi). I also toured some other bars in Burundi on my trip.

Cosy back garden in Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Cosy back garden in Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Cosy back garden in Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Flying the Northern Ireland flag in the back garden in Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Flying the Northern Ireland flag in the back garden in Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

The bar at Urban Lodge

2.Breakfast Included

A tasty and typical African breakfast is served at Urban Lodge. Coffee and fruit juice, tropical fruit and an omelette. We enjoyed it in the front garden. We got up at 7 am for ours but generally it can be tailored to you between 6.30 and 9 am.

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

Breakfast at Urban Lodge, Bujumbura, Burundi

3.Well Priced – The Backpacker Option

Burundi hasn’t really taken off as a backpacker’s place yet and so finding cheap and easy accommodation can be difficult. I am a long term backpacker and loved this place, I recommend it for any backpackers out there visiting Burundi. Also – something quirky – Malina and I were the first backpackers to book this place on Booking.com! Owner Val celebrated by buying us some drinks! I hope that Urban Lodge will cement itself as the best, coolest and only Backpacker’s resort in Burundi. $30 US per person a night is great value for a place this relaxing and luxury. We had a twin room, $60 US.

Burundi Francs – backpacking budget hotel here

4.Free and Fast Wi-Fi

It was a surprise to me to get free and fast Wi-Fi here at the Urban Lodge in Bujumbura, Burundi. Val the owner even allowed Malina to use his Wi-Fi in the car to address an important business matter!

Free and Fast Wi-Fi at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura, Burundi

Free and Fast Wi-Fi at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura, Burundi

5.Safety and Security

Burundi has not been shy about its political problems or unrest the last few years. Corruption, bribery, theft and even targetting tourists all exists here. The Lonely Planet in 2018 (wrongly) advised tourists to avoid Burundi and the UK government advised against all but essential travel to the country. Urban Lodge was a safe haven for us – we were picked up from the airport and made to feel at home here. Here are some more photos from Urban Lodge – a true haven for us in Burundi.

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura - Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura - Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura - Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura - Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura - Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura - Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

Safety and Security at the Best Hotel in Bujumbura – Urban Lodge, Burundi

I really enjoyed my time in Burundi and have to say that the UK government and Lonely Planet were totally wrong. As with most things in life, we make our own minds up. Burundi, in particular Lake Tanganyika is well worth a trip.

Other included facilities at the Urban Lodge in Bujumburu, Burundi:

  • Air conditioning
  • Free bottled water
  • Toiletries
  • Balcony/terrace
  • Ironing facilities
  • Towels
  • Closet
  • Linens
  • Wake-up service
  • Clothes rack
  • Shower
  • Desk
  • Smoke detector

Here are the details for booking a room at the Urban Lodge in Bujumbura:

Book Urban Lodge in Burundi
38 Avenue Kunkiko, Bujumbura, Burundi
Phone: +257 79 92 22 77
Facebook Page

Here are some videos from my time at the Urban Lodge in Bujumbura, Burundi:

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4 thoughts on “Backpacking in Burundi: Our Wonderful Stay at Urban Lodge in Bujumbura

  • Thanks for post. But that hotel is not the best in Bujumbura, I can tell you that even don’t know it. There are hotels such as Club du Lac Tanganyika, Le Panoramique, Source du Nil, Martha Hotel, Double Tree by Hilton, City Hill and so on!

  • Hi Ndayishimiye, thanks for the information. Yes we loved Club du Lac too, but for budget backpackers, Urban Lodge is the best 😉 It’s only $30 US a night!! The ones you mention are all dearer so not the best for me. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Thanks a lot for the article. Looking at the pictures and the prices… I can tell this is a fantastic place. I am Burundian and I am surprised at Ndayishimiye negative comment!

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