Major Tourist Attractions: W National Park, Ouagadougou Cathedral, Lake Tengrela, Arli National Park Musee de Manega
Landlocked and dusty, Burkina Faso may seem like an unlikely destination for international travelers. However, the country's welcoming culture, beautiful landscape and variety of festivals make it a mainstay on West African travel itineraries.
Burkina Faso is a former French colony, and French is the official language, although certain local languages are also widely spoken. It is possible to communicate in English with a small percentage of the population. There are, however, plenty of English speaking guides available to show you around. A typical trip to Burkina Faso includes a visit to the two main cities, Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, along with a stay in Banfora, a jumping off point for a wide range of natural attractions.
In Ouaga, which is how the city of Ouagadougou is known locally, enjoy the lively atmosphere at the many open-air restaurants and bars, and see the major sights, such as the Cathedral and National Museum. If you can time your trip right, Ouaga regularly holds international film, theater, and dance festivals, along with the International Art and Craft Fair, which is held every other year.
From Ouaga, head west and spend a few days in the sleepy town of Bobo-Dioulasso. Closer to the border of Mali, Bobo allows travelers to get in touch with the Mande cultural roots of Burkina Faso. The main market area is always a scene, and a live music concert in the evening is a must. Banfora is often the next stop, and it is here that you can explore some of the country's most notable natural attractions. The Karfiguéla waterfalls are a breathtaking sight, and no trip to Burkina is complete without a visit to the Sindou Peaks, an otherworldy landscape of conical rocks that have been shaped by centuries of erosion.
Burkina Faso is very much a developing country, but there is some basic tourist infrastructure, and there is a wide range of accommodation. In the major cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, you can find upscale hotels and bed and breakfasts alongside budget options. In Banfora and many of the smaller towns, you may need to settle for accommodation that is considerably more basic. There are also plenty of opportunities to camp.
Here are some activities to look forward to when you arrive in Burkina Faso:
- Haggle for artisanal crafts in Ouagadougou
- Catch a film in one of Ouaga's many cinemas
- Drink a cold Brakina beer at a maquis in Bobo-Dioulasso
- Eat a zebu steak at an open-air restaurant in Ouaga
- Photograph the alien landscape surrounding the Sindou Peaks
- Get your feet wet at the Karfiguéla waterfalls
- Celebrate the arts at an international theater, dance or film festival
- Spot hippos in Lake Tengrela
- Explore the history of Burkina Faso at the National Museum in Ouaga
- Visit the sacred crocodiles of Sabou
- Learn about the history of Bobo-Dioulasso at the mausoleum of Guimbi Ouattara, one of the town's important historical figures
Address: Secteur 15,
Ouaga 2000 Avenue Sembène Ousmane,
Phone: (+226) 50-49-53-00