Filming in Burundi

Filming in Burundi

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for filming in Burundi or photography production support or shooting crew in Burundi? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored to the specific needs of your project.

For an introduction to shooting in Burundi see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas, and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Burundi Film Locations

Burundi is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It has a hilly to mountainous terrain with plains in the east.

Agricultural film locations include coffee, tea, banana, sugarcane, and cotton plantations. Burundi mines columbium, tantalum ore, tin ore, tungsten ore, and gold. Energy locations include hydroelectric power plants.

Film locations can be divided into the following provinces: Gitega, Ngozi, Muyinga, Kirundo, Kayanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Cibitoke, Karuzi, Makamba, Ruyigi, Rumonge, Bubanza, Rutana, Bururi, Muramvya, Mwaro, and Cankuzo.

Gitega is the country’s capital city. The city is known for its beautiful vistas of mountain forests as well as the Gitega National Museum.

Bujumbura is the largest city. Film locations include the Living Museum, the University of Burundi, and Bujumbura International Airport.

Kibira National Park has a landscape of montane rainforest. Wildlife includes hippopotamus’, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and a diversity of birdlife including great blue turacos.

Ruvubu National Park is known for the Ruvubu River. Wildlife includes hippopotamus’, Nile crocodiles, Cape buffalos, waterbucks, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, and Senegal bush babies.

Rusizi National Park is home to a diversity of birdlife.

Natural Reserves of interest include Kigwena, Bururi, Lake Rwihinda, and Vyanda.

Saga Beach is located on Lake Tanganyika.

Karera Waterfalls is a beautiful film location.

Burundi Film Location Permits

Most locations are possible given time, money, and the right approach. Unauthorized filming, photography or any other recording of government buildings, military installations, and key infrastructure such as airports and border controls, is illegal. Penalties may include arrest, fines and confiscation of your equipment. Please contact us for location-specific information.

Best Time to Film in Burundi?

Burundi has a tropical highland climate with temperatures varying depending on the altitude. The short, dry season runs from December to January. The long, wet season runs from February to May. The long, dry season runs from June to August. The short wet season runs from September to November. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Christianity is the main religion so those holidays are widely observed.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability, and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Burundi.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Local costs such as talent, supporting crew, and locations are inexpensive. Burundi is one of the least expensive countries in the region although imported goods can be quite expensive so come prepared. Our Burundian fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present, there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Burundi.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Burundi has a very small pool of local directors or directors of photography or stills photographers in Burundi. Local supporting crews can help with basic projects, otherwise most crew will need to be brought in from abroad. Kenya is the closest major production center for more experienced crews.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman/camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA/runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Burundi.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

Kirundi and French are the official languages.

The Hutu are the largest ethnic group. The Tutsi people are a significant group. The Twa minority are an indigenous pygmy people. All other talent looks need to be cast abroad.

Burundi Film Equipment

Equipment. No equipment exists locally. Bringing in gear is a simple process. The closest place that has all of the standard camera, grip and lighting gear is Nairobi, Kenya.

Communication. Local connections are generally slow. Our Burundian fixer organises local cell phones and online communications to help you avoid the high roaming costs of calling to and from Africa. 

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allow us to customize the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web-posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple time zones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction. The art department is best sourced from abroad as there is no sophisticated depth in this field in Burundi.

Studios, Backlots and Post Facilities. None exist at present.

Visas & Work Permits

Most passport holders are required to apply for an entry visa. Your application must include a letter of invitation from your local Burundian fixer or service producer. Depending on the Burundian embassy or mission, visa processing times are generally around 15 business days. Visas are valid for stays of up to 30 or 60 days. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required on entry.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Some international airlines service flights to Burundi. Major roads are paved. Rural roads are slower going especially during the rainy seasons with many roads becoming impassable. Traveling by night, particularly outside of towns, is unsafe. Our Burundian local fixer organizes safe and reliable 4WD transportation.

Accommodation. Recommended film-friendly hotels in Burundi include:

Hotel Botanica
Hotel Residence Ubuntu

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Hire Burundi Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer, or fixer for your shoot in Burundi, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Burundi, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman/camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA/runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references, and bids quickly.