Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Burundi, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
The information below concerning Burundi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
While travel on most roads is generally safe during the day, travelers must maintain constant vigilance. There have been reports of violent attacks on vehicles traveling the roads throughout the country outside of Bujumbura. U.S. government personnel are required to travel via two-vehicle convoy to certain areas, have their trips pre-approved by the Embassy's Regional Security Officer, and carry a satellite phone with them. The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens not travel on the national highways from dusk to dawn. Drivers without valid permits, and the ease with which a driver's license can be acquired without training, make Burundian drivers less careful, predictable, or mindful of driving rules than U.S. drivers may expect.
There are no functioning traffic signals in Bujumbura, and virtually nothing of the kind elsewhere in the country. Roadways are not marked, and the lack of streetlights or shoulders makes driving in the countryside at night especially dangerous.
Additionally, drivers may encounter cyclists, pedestrians, and livestock in the roadway, including in and around the capital. Mini-vans used as buses for 18 persons should be given a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road.
Large holes or damaged portions of roadway may be encountered anywhere in the country, including in Bujumbura; when driving in the countryside off main roads, travelers should carry multiple spare tires. During the rainy season, many side roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles. Burundi’s supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel are imported predominantly from Kenya and Tanzania, and are relatively expensive due to high transportation costs. Service stations are rare outside of the major cities.
Third-party insurance is required, and it will cover any damages in the event of an accident (property, injury, or death). If you are found to have caused an accident, you automatically will be fined 10,000 Burundian francs (approximately $6.50 U.S.) and your driver's license will be confiscated until the police investigation is completed. Although the law provides for the arrest of drunk drivers, in practice, the police do not act on this law. If you are involved in an accident causing death, it is advised that you leave the scene of the accident and proceed to the nearest police station.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.