30 Bd. De L’UPRONA
When I first started this blog, my goal was to provide information about living and lifestyle for the whole East African region. At the time, East Africa was made up of three countries—Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—all of which I felt I knew relatively well. Then, Rwanda and Burundi became a part of the East African Community. Although I had been to Rwanda before, I had never set foot in Burundi. Still, my heart was set on dealing with East Africa as a region. I realized: I would have to visit Burundi soon!
The Chance to Visit Burundi
Coincidentally, a couple of months later, an opportunity to do some work in Burundi came up (can anyone say The Secret?). Without hesitation, I accepted the offer, and this is how I found myself, in Burundi, on a clear Tuesday in September, headed towards Shammah Hotel, where I was to stay during my week-long sojourn in Bujumbura.
To give you a little background on accommodation in Bujumbura, I’d heard from so many people that finding good (and affordable) accommodation is quite a challenging task. A number of my friends, who travel there often, frequently complain about Hotel Source du Nil, one of the most prominent hotels in Bujumbura, primarily on the basis of its lack of hygiene. They tell me that they often find the sheets dirty (suspecting previous use) and some even say that they’ve seen vermin creeping through the hotel. I do not know for sure how true these stories are, but when it came to choosing where to stay in Bujumbura, I trusted these friends to recommend a place that they thought would be suitable. This is how I ended up at Shammah Hotel.
Arriving at Shammah Hotel
My first impression of Shammah was that it was a small bed-and-breakfast type establishment, which I think is an apt description (though it’s not that small). The staff was friendly and welcoming and greeted my hosts by name. After a quick check-in, I was shown to a single room on the ground floor, complete with en-suite bathroom. The bedroom was stocked with all the usual amenities, such as telephone and TV.
As I mentioned previously, I spent a week at Shammah Hotel. The cost of the single room I was staying in was $US 35 a night, inclusive of breakfast. To sum up my experience there, it was the perfect homely room away from home. Shammah was extremely clean—the impeccable white sheets were changed daily—and to date, I can still clearly remember the clean sparkle of their white tiles. The en-suite bathroom seemed more like a residential bathroom than one you’d expect to find in a hotel. I was particularly touched by the detail that went into creating such an atmosphere, details as small but as thoughtful as a small packet of cotton ear buds in the bathroom.
Meals at Shammah Hotel, including the breakfast that comes with the room, are served at Cafétariat Snack, a restaurant located on the front facade of the hotel. Although I didn’t eat there often (I am not a big fan of breakfast), I particularly enjoyed the Salade de Shammah (a sort of Chef’s Salad) that I ate there once or twice.
The staff at Shammah Hotel mentioned to me that the hotel’s owners are devout Christians. For this reason, the establishment does not allow unmarried couples to share a room, nor guests to entertain visitors of the opposite sex in their bedrooms (a rule that staff is not hesitant to enforce). Although this may seem unduly strict, this rule may contribute greatly to why such an inexpensive hotel located so close to the center of town manages to maintain a feeling of wholesomeness, with no suggestion of sleaze, at all!
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As you can tell, I much enjoyed my stay at Shammah Hotel and recommend it highly to anyone looking for good basic accommodation in Bujumbura. I was particularly impressed with the cleanliness of the hotel and found it very reasonably priced.
If you will be visiting Burundi soon and are wondering where in Bujumbura to stay (especially if you are not looking for luxury accommodation) then Shammah Hotel might be just what you are looking for. The Hotel’s contact information can be found at the top of this post. Please contact them to find out more.
If you ever do visit Shammah Hotel, remember to let me know what you think.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Until the next time,
Photo Credit: www.bujumbura-hotels.com