Burundi is in central Africa and is one of the smallest countries in Africa. To the north is Rwanda, to the east and south is Tanzania and to the west is the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).

 Most of Burundi is a hilly plateau, about 1,400 to 1,800 metres above sea level. In the west, the land is lower; this region is part of the Great Rift Valley that crosses Africa from north to south. Within this lowland area are Lake Tanganyika and the capital city Bujumbura. Lake Tanganyika is a deep, narrow lake, 676 kilometres long but only 72 kilometres wide at its widest point. Bujumbura is at the northern tip of the lake. In the northeast are several smaller lakes, including Lake Cohoha and Lake Rugwero.

Savanna vegetation (grassland interspersed with trees) covers much of Burundi and eucalyptus, acacia and palm trees are common. Elephants, leopards, wild boars, antelopes, lions, monkeys and flying lemurs can be found in Burundi. Hippopotamuses, crocodiles and many species of fish (such as the indagara and umukeke) that are not found anywhere else in the world, live in Lake Tanganyika. Burundi is home to birds such as guinea hens, partridges, ducks, geese, quail and snipe, which are especially common around the northeastern lakes. 

Farming, overgrazing and deforestation have resulted in severe soil erosion in many areas. Over-hunting and poaching have brought some animals, such as the chimpanzee, wild dog, Carruther's mountain squirrel, lion and elephant, close to extinction. The government has established national parks and nature reserves in an attempt to preserve the land and wildlife.

Although Burundi is just south of the equator and some areas are hot and humid, the high altitude of most of the country keeps the climate pleasantly warm all year. The average annual temperature is 22°C. The rainy season runs from November to May, with a short dry spell in December and January, and the dry season runs from June to October. The average annual rainfall is 79 centimetres.
  Did you know?
The source of the Nile River, the longest river in the world, is in southern Burundi. Near the town of Rutana, a monument that marks the source of the White Nile is a Burundi tourist attraction.