One of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi has an
Burundi is a part of the Albertine Rift, the western
extension of the East African Rift. The country lies on a
rolling plateau in the centre of Africa. The highest peak, Mount
Heha at 2,685 m (8,810 ft), lies to the southeast of the
capital, Bujumbura. The most distant source of the River Nile is
the Ruvyironza River in the Bururi Province of Burundi, the Nile
is linked from Lake Victoria to its headwaters via the Kagera
River to the Ruvyironza River.
Another major lake is Lake Tanganyika, located in much of
Burundi's southwestern corner.
There are two national parks, Kibira National Park to the
northwest (a small region of rain forest, adjacent to Nyungwe
Forest National Park in Rwanda), and Ruvubu National Park to the
northeast (along the Rurubu River, also known as Ruvubu or
Ruvuvu). Both were established in 1982 to conserve wildlife
populations. Burundi's lands are mostly agricultural or pasture.
Politically, Burundi is a "challenge".
Burundi gained independence from Belgium (who took it over
from Germany after WW1) in 1962 and initially had a monarchy,
but a series of assassinations, coups and a general climate of
regional instability culminated in the establishment of a
republic and one-party state in 1966. Bouts of ethnic cleansing
and ultimately two civil wars and genocides during the 1970s and
again in the 1990s left the country undeveloped and its
population as one of the world's poorest.
large-scale political strife as President Pierre Nkurunziza
opted to run for a third term in office, a coup attempt failed
and the country's parliamentary and presidential elections were
broadly criticised by members of the international community.