Tanganyika Lake in Burundi: A hiden treasure of the great lakes region




In my numerous travels, I have had the opportunity to discover authentic pearls lost and hidden where I'd love to take my daughter to share it with me. 




Where families, but not only, can have unique moments. Far from being a mass tourism location, a place one can enjoy a type of tourism with quality while being enriched by different cultures which often not only are unknown but are also often portrayed by the media in our countries in the West as a reality not seen on the field as I have observed on the ground myself. Either in terms of security as in terms of the population host.

The Tanganyika Blue Bay Resort Hotel, is one of those places. Magical because of its luck of being bathed by the waters of one of the Great Lakes of Africa. Tanganyika lake is one of the largest lake in terms of length and depth and is shared by Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

Taking advantage of a location as this is a luck and a privilege, the silence is only interrupted by the soft tapping of the waves on the rocks or the light steps of the hotel staff who is always around to make us feel the most comfortable possible. The Tanganyika Blue Bay Resort is not a hotel for loudness of mass tourism. The buildings respect the local architecture, although they are not biological by nature yet they try perhaps by force of circumstances in order to save water or electricity. The beautiful and comfortable rooms with its design resembles the safari hotels of Southern Africa. The beds are comfortable, and the windows in their great majority are the mirror of Tanganyika lake.

While on the balcony, drinking tea or a cold Primus (originally Congolese beer) soft wind refreshes our skin and the hot sun warms our souls as we watch a lake that looks more like an ocean. Sometimes one can swear by that depending on time of day or the weather, one can see the other side either Tanzania or R. D. Congo. If we're lucky enough, by the end of the day, we can occasionally glimpse hippopotamus that live nearby. However, at this point it is advisable to observe them in silence as the sun falls asleep over the horizon, and the lake takes on a silver or golden shade.





Burundi has been ravaged in recent years by serious political crises, internal conflicts that have spilled over to neighboring countries and vice-versa. For this reason, several international agencies have remained on the ground throughout this period. Hotels as this, survive mostly through expatriates who live in the country with their families, or with Burundians with who have a higher standard of living compared to their compatriots, who for the most part have a much lower income lower than an overnight stay at the hotel. However, since the latest political crisis in the country the number of customers dropped sharply. Most of the expatriates either left the country, or their families did. In a normal weekend, the number may be only of up to three guests. In my case, I was with a friend, only two guests throughout the complex, and on the Sunday a group of Pakistani expatriates took advantage of the day to bathe on the beach with their families.  In spite of this, the staff and the management never ceased to greet us with less protocol or dedication. They didn’t spared in their efforts to makes our stay the most comfortable possible, while maintaining resources as electricity with a generator or hot water with a cylinder. Whilst this was a wonderful engagement, it hardly seemed fair, all that for us two.

However, due to lower number of guests the hotel denotes although quite in a minimal way and even giving it a certain charm, a certain lack of investment with the latest equipment or upgrade of material including new bed linen for example. That is if we want to be 'picky' or overly attentive to detail in a place where the real beauty is in the nature of the location and not so much in the infrastructure itself, which I think are great and more than enough. Our stay was graced by moments of authentic mental and physical rest and bliss. Using the words of my friend throughout the weekend 'this location has really good vibrations!'. I can confirm it, I have entered the gates of the resort after driving three hours an old Land Cruiser through less recommended road.  I was exhausted and enervated due to strenuous work and go out of the same gates of this paradise, renewed and happy.


However, I missed my daughter everywhere. In all the corners of this wonderful hotel ideal for families, I wished I had seen her running along the beach and discover with me the numerous stones with silver traces on the shores of the lake. Taste with me the fresh fish caught in the same waters which honored me with its beauty and wealth. Served elegantly, and with the quality that benefit from an area rich in natural resources. I will return for sure, with her.

Below you can see some photos of the place, which do not do justice to the place, I assure you!



































Nas minhas inúmeras viagens tenho tido a oportunidade de descobrir autenticas pérolas perdidas e escondidas onde adorava poder levar a minha filha. Locais onde apesar de tudo, famílias, mas não , podem ter momentos únicos. Fora de um tipo de turismo de massas, um reencontro de um tipo de turismo de qualidade e enriquecedor de culturas diferentes muitas vezes não  desconhecidas mas também retratadas pelos media nos nossos países no ocidente de forma pouco verdadeira tal como tenho observado no terreno. Seja em termos de segurança, como em termos de acolhimento da população.

O Tanganiyka Blue Bay Resort Hotel, e um desses lugares. Magico pela sorte de se encontrar banhado pelas aguas de um dos grandes lagos de África. Tanganiyka de seu nome, e o maior lago em termos de comprimento e profundidade sendo partilhado pelo Burundi, Republica Democrática do Congo e pela Tanzânia.

Poder usufruir de um local assim e uma sorte e um privilegio, o silencio  interrompido pelas batidas leves das ondas nas rochas ou pelos passos leves do staff do hotel que esta sempre por perto para nos ajudar a sentir o mais confortável possível. O Tanganiyka Blue Bay Resort Hotel, não é um hotel para turismo de massa barulhento e ingrato. Os edifícios respeitam a arquitectura local, embora não sejam biológicos tentam talvez pela forca das circunstancias poupar agua ou electricidade. Os quartos lindos e confortáveis e o seu design lembra os hotéis de safari da África Austral. As camas são confortáveis, e as janelas na suas grande maioria são o espelho do lago Tanganiyka.

Enquanto na varanda bebemos um chá ou uma Primus fresca (cerveja Congolesa originalmente), o vento suave refresca-nos a pele e o sol quente aquece-nos a alma enquanto observamos um lago que mais parece um oceano. As vezes pode-se jurar que dependendo da hora do dia ou do clima, pode-se ver o outro lado seja a Tanzânia ou o R. D. Congo. Se tivermos sorte, ao final do dia, ocasionalmente pode-se vislumbrar hipopótamos que habitam nas redondezas. Nesta altura e aconselhável observa-los em silencio enquanto o sol adormece ao longo da linha do horizonte, e o lago toma uma tonalidade prateada ou dourada.

O Burundi tem sido devastado nos últimos anos por graves crises politicas, conflictos internos que tem transbordado para os países vizinhos e vice-versa. Por este motivo varias agências internacionais tem permanecido no terreno durante todo este período. Hoteis como este sobrevivem maioritariamente através de expatriados no pais e suas famílias, ou da classe alta Burundesa visto que a maioria da população do pais tem salários menores do que a estadia de uma noite no hotel. No entanto, desde a mais recente crise politica no pais o numero de clientes caiu drasticamente. Num fim de semana normal, o numero pode ser de apenas duas a três pessoas. No meu caso éramos duas amigas em todo o complexo, sendo que no domingo um grupo de expatriados Paquistaneses aproveitou o dia para se banhar na praia com as suas famílias. Mas nem por isso os staff e a gerência deixou de nos receber com menos protocolo ou dedicação. Nao se poupou a nada para que estivéssemos o mais confortável possível, mesmo mantendo o gerador de electricidade ligado ou o cilindro hídrico para que nada nos faltasse.

No entanto devido a quebra de clientes o hotel denota, embora de forma bastante minimal e ate dando-lhe um certo charme, a falta de equipamento mais recente ou actualização de material mais recente nomeadamente novo material de cama. Isto, se quisermos ser ‘picuinhas’ ou demasiadamente atentos aos detalhe num local onde a verdadeira beleza esta na natureza do local e não tanto nas infraestruturas que a meu ver são óptimas e mais que o suficiente. A nossa estadia foi bafejada por momentos de autentico descanso mental e físico. Utilizando as palavras da minha amiga durante todo o fim de semana ‘Este local tem mesmo boas vibrações!’. Posso confirma-lo entrei stressada pelos portões adentro atrás do volante de um Land Cruiser antigo e poderoso após quase 3 horas de viagem por estradas por vezes cheias de buracos, exausta e enervada devido ao trabalho extenuante e sai pelos mesmos portões deste paraíso, renovada e feliz.

No entanto, em todo o lado senti a falta da minha filha em todo os cantinhos deste hotel maravilhoso ideal para famílias. Gostaria de ter visto correr pela praia, de descobrir comigo as inúmeras pedras com vestígios de prata. Provar comigo o peixe fresco acabado de pescar no mesmo lago que me prestigiava com a sua beleza e riqueza. Servido de forma elegante, e com a qualidade que os benefícios de viver numa zona rica em termos de recursos naturais. Voltarei com toda a certeza com ela.



Aqui estão algumas fotos do local, não fazem justice ao local garanto-vos!


Balcony of one of the rooms / Varanda de um dos quartos





Another balcony /Outra varanda








At the beach /Na praia

Lunch /Almoco



Rooms...







The Lake Tanganiyka at your feet /Lago Tangaiyka aos seus pés














Voley camp /Campo de Voley



















VIP Corner with a view / Sala com vista VIP










I / eu








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ADDRESS: P.O Box 6668 – Bujumbura-BURUNDI – Route Rumonge PK 59TELEPHONE: +257 22246528 EMAIL: reservation@tanganyikabluebay.com

Sónia Pereira de Figueiredo

Sónia is the founder and writer of Amniotico- Parenting, Travel and Tales. She began this blog in 2005 with two posts about parenting, the year she had daughter Francisca. Then life happened. Now since 2014 with a whole new focus on Parenting and Travel. Sonia is also an international Human Rights and Elections expert and as such has worked with the United Nations and European Union in many parts of the globe, including conflict and war torn countries while being a single mom!

8 comments:

  1. What a lovely place! As for me, the hotel room seems more than fancy - I think only somebody very picky would complain, besides, when you go to see that nature, who cares about the linen? :-)

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    1. Completely with you on that, but I have seen people complaining for the smallest things...this place had above all a really good positive vibe, great staff and the nature...well that is just amazing! :)

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  2. What a stunning place! I especially love the four poster bed and the pristine beach. Thanks for sharing this hidden gem!

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    1. And they were so confortable too! The suroundings are still pristine looking :)

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  3. It seems to be such lovely place! Through the pictures, I can feel the "Good vibrations" :-). Perfect for authentic mental rest !

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  4. Wow, it looks absolutely gorgeous! I can imagine why you missed your daughter so much :) If your photos don't do justice then I can't imagine how beautiful it must be in real life :O

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    1. Thank you!! It's true, I had only mu Iphone with me, so I am sure I am not doing it justice :)

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