Burundi Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Burundi?


Located in east-central Africa and surrounded by Zaire, Rwanda, and Tanzania, the landlocked Republic of Burundi is a heart-shaped country of 10,747 square miles, about the size of the State of Maryland.

The Ruzizi River and Plain and Lake Tanganyika, part of the Western Great Rift Valley, form the border between Burundi and Zaire. Lake Tanganyika, 390 miles long, ranks second in the world in depth and volume and seventh in surface area.

East of the lake, sharply sculpted and intensely cultivated hills rise to the 9,000-foot Zaire-Nile watershed divide. East of the divide, the land slopes more gently between 6,000 and 3,500 feet down to the plateau and savannah lands of the Tanzania border.

Burundi is picturesque: traditional African mud and thatch houses are scattered among the steep hills, every square foot of which is cultivated with beans, peas, maize, bananas, rice, and cassava; men stand watch over lyre-horned cattle, and colorfully draped women dig in the fields or visit relatives carrying banana beer in handcrafted pottery set into baskets.

With the exception of Bujumbura, the capital, there is a notable lack of towns and villages. Farmsteads called "rugos" are scattered evenly throughout the countryside, where 90% of the population lives, engaged primarily in subsistence agriculture. The country is densely and homogeneously populated, though a few areas in southeastern Burundi and the river plain north of Bujumbura are less so due to malaria and poor soil.

Geography - note

Landlocked; straddles the crest of the Nile-Congo watershed; the Kagera, which drains into Lake Victoria, is the most remote headstream of the White Nile

Burundi Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 10,745 Square Miles
27,830 Square Kilometers
Land Area 9,915 Square Miles
25,680 Square Kilometers
Water Area 830 Square Miles
2,150 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 605 Miles
974 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 83 Square Miles
214 Square Kilometers
Border Countries The Democratic Republic of the Congo 233 km, Rwanda 290 km, Tanzania 451 km
Geographic Coordinates 3 30 S, 30 00 E
Terrain Hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in the east, some plains
Highest Point 2,670 Meters
Highest Point Location Mount Heha 2,670 m
Lowest Point 772 Meters
Lowest Point Location Lake Tanganyika 772 m
Natural Resources Nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum (not yet exploited), vanadium, arable land, hydropower
Time Zone UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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