Why A Tour to The Famous Gishora Drum Sanctuary( Updated 2024)?

Augustine Tours > Blog > Why A Tour to The Famous Gishora Drum Sanctuary( Updated 2024)?
Gishora drum sanctuary-Burundi drummers

Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Augustine Tours

Wondering why Gishora Drum Sanctuary is one of the famous drum sites in Burundi for a cultural experience. It is one of the cultural sites to see when on tour in Burundi. This is a not-to-miss visit on your Burundi tour packages. You can watch a drum show almost everywhere in Burundi, but Gishora makes a difference and for a good reason due to its history. Yes, the Burundi Drum is a UNESCO Heritage. Gishora is 7km from the urban center of Gitega, at 200 meters on the left side of Gitega-Ngozi Road.

The story behind the Royal Drum and Gishora Drum Sanctuary

It was built in 1903 by King Mwami Mwezi IV Gisabo Bikata-Bijoga after his victory over the rebellious chief Ntibirangwa. It is in this place where he was hidden. After the victory, the King commanded the construction of the site as a thank-you to an old man named Nyabidaha for saving his life when he was pursued by enemies. This is one of the must-see places in Burundi

This site has always belonged and remained taken care of by a local community of drummers called ‘Abatimbo’ descending from the traditional lineage of ‘Abanyigisaka’. These specialized drummers’ families have enjoyed a huge privilege from the royal court. Today, the drummers can be anybody who enjoys dancing around the drum wearing the national colors- red, white, and green.

 Burundi Drummers – Drumming tradition in Burundi 

From its founding in 1903 to today, the Gishora Drum Sanctuary has been an important site where young boys and men of all ages practice rehearse, and teach specific drumming techniques to the young generation. This is obviously the reason behind the longstanding drumming tradition today. Drumming in Burundi is an all-in-one package consisting of combat-style dance, specific rhythms, and poesy“kwivuga amazina”.

A drum show performed with the royal drum, ingoma, was a sign of unity between the people and honor to the royal house. The Burundian drums are not made using any trees. When designing a drum, they use three types of trees, and those are umuvugangoma(Cordia Africana), umurama(Bridelia atroviridis), and umusave Markhamia lutea)

Contrary to some non-verifiable information that “…when the drums are played, they invite the ancestors into the ritual and banish evil spirits. “, a drum is an important tool for the image of the country in international cultural events and official ceremonies.

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The Burundi drum has traveled the world in various international cultural events on the five continents. It’s important to note that there is at least one drummer’s team in any Burundian diaspora.

Visit and Tour the Sanctuary 

During the royal times, the drums were the pillar of the political power of the monarchy. They were made and beaten on special occasions by specialized families called ‘Abatimbo’ in important places, announcing great events of the country just as the royal enthronement, the sowing festival“umuganuro”, and the funerals of the kings among others. Our Rwanda Burundi tour itinerary features Gishora

The site of Gishora drummers also houses two ritual drums that were never beaten: Ruciteme (the one for whom we clear the forest) and Murimirwa (the one for whom we cultivate). Those two names are intimately linked to the farming vocation and refer clearly to the fertility, characteristic of the king.

We’ve also ordinary drums ‘Ingendanyi’ (retinue), which the Batimbo could beat on special occasions in the country. A visit to the Gishora Drum Sanctuary is recommended for those who want to learn more about the traditions of Burundi and the history of the ancient royal times.

The site displays an architectural complex of the traditional royal palace, rarely found elsewhere within the country.

Adding Gishora Drummers to Burundi Tour Itinerary

Adding the Gishora drum sanctuary to any Burundi tour itinerary is always recommended when traveling to the country. Gishora Drum Sanctuary being reachable within a few 15-minute drive north of Gitega is one of the recommended places to visit in Burundi. Augustine Tours runs day tours and multi-day tours in Burundi including the Gishora Sanctuary and runs tours that visit it. This cultural site is a component of the  great 13-day Uganda Gorilla trekking, Rwanda, Burundi Tour

What to see in Burundi- Gishora Drum Show

Burundi is one of the few countries that lack the big numbers of animals, with the exception of bird species but compensates for that very well with breathtaking scenery during your travel in the country: beautiful landscapes, forests, lakes, beaches, traditions, etc. and …millions of smiles from the friendly natives of Burundi. This is still Africa at its purest!! Enjoy the drummers, who can entertain and show you how drumming should be done. There are no other African drummers like these men and boys, who show that their drum is their heart and soul.

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Gishora Sanctuary FAQ

Do you need to book in advance to visit Gishora Drum Sanctuary?

Yes, it is highly recommended to book in advance if you plan on visiting the Gishora Drum Sanctuary. This will ensure that you have a guaranteed spot and can avoid any disappointment upon arrival.

Additionally, booking ahead of time allows you to plan your visit more effectively and make the most of your experience at the sanctuary. Whether you are a music enthusiast or simply interested in learning about traditional Burundian culture, the Gishora Drum Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit. So don’t wait any longer; book your visit today and get ready to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this unique and fascinating destination!

When is the Gishora drum sanctuary open?

If you’re planning to visit the sanctuary, you may be wondering about its opening hours. Fortunately, the Gishora Drum Sanctuary is open every day of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This gives visitors plenty of time to explore the various exhibits and learn about the history and significance of these unique instruments.

Is Gishora a drumming site

As you explore this sacred space, you will be awestruck by the sheer beauty and craftsmanship of the drums on display. Each drum tells its own tale, carrying with it centuries of history and cultural significance. The Gishora drum sanctuary also serves as a gathering place for local communities, fostering a sense of unity and pride in their shared heritage. Whether you are a music enthusiast or simply seeking an immersive cultural experience, a trip to Gishora will capture your heart. 


Gishora Drum Sanctuary is a mesmerizing cultural haven nestled in the heart of Burundi. This enchanting sanctuary is a testament to the rich heritage and traditions of the Burundian people. With its vibrant atmosphere and captivating rhythms, the Gishora drum sanctuary offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the captivating world of traditional drumming. Visitors witness the powerful performances and experience the rich cultural heritage of Burundi firsthand.

The rhythmic beats echo through the air, transporting you to a bygone era where drums were not just instruments but storytellers. The skilled drummers showcase their expertise, effortlessly creating an intricate symphony that resonates with the soul. 

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