BURKINA FASO TRAVEL GUIDE
Welcome to Burkina Faso, a West African country with a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant atmosphere. Burkina Faso is known for its colorful markets, traditional music, dance, and arts, as well as its friendly people and welcoming hospitality.
Located in the heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso is a landlocked country surrounded by six neighboring countries. Its capital city is Ouagadougou, which is known for its bustling markets, restaurants, and nightlife.
One of the main attractions of Burkina Faso is its traditional music and dance. The country is home to many different ethnic groups, each with their unique musical styles and dances. You can experience these cultural traditions through attending festivals and concerts held throughout the country.
Burkina Faso also has several national parks and nature reserves that provide opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking, and bird watching. You can explore the stunning landscapes of the Sahel region, visit the beautiful waterfalls, and take a dip in the country's natural pools.
In terms of cuisine, Burkina Faso offers a range of delicious dishes that reflect its diverse cultural influences. You can try local specialties such as tô (a starchy porridge made from millet or sorghum) with sauce, riz gras (rice cooked with meat and vegetables), or grilled meat with spicy sauces.
Overall, Burkina Faso is a country full of energy and warmth, where visitors can immerse themselves in its rich cultural traditions and enjoy its beautiful landscapes.
BURKINA FASO QUICK FACTS
Currency: CFA franc (XOF)
Population: 19,75 million (2018)
Language: French (official) and native African languages belonging to Sudanic family, spoken by 90% of the population
Religion: Indigenous beliefs 40%, Muslim 50%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (European plug)
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BURKINA FASO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 3 January, Anniversary of the 1966 Coup d’état
- 8 March, Women’s Day
- 1 May, Labor Day
- 5 August, Independence Day (1960)
- 15 August, Assumption
- 1 November, All Saints Day
- 11 December, Proclamation of the Republic (1958)
Also, Easter Monday, Ascension, Maulid an-Nabi, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.
FESTIVALS IN BURKINA FASO
BEST TIME TO VISIT BURKINA FASO
The best time to visit Burkina Faso is during the cooler and drier months between November and February. During this time, temperatures are relatively mild and rainfall is minimal, making it a comfortable time to explore the country.
From March to May, temperatures begin to rise and the weather becomes hot and dry, with occasional sandstorms. June to September is the rainy season in Burkina Faso, which can make travel more challenging due to flooded roads and heavy rainfall.
However, if you're interested in attending cultural festivals, the rainy season can be an excellent time to visit Burkina Faso, as many festivals take place during this period. The most famous of these festivals is the FESPACO film festival, held in Ouagadougou every two years in late February or early March.
It's also worth noting that Burkina Faso is a country with a tropical climate, so it's advisable to pack lightweight and breathable clothing, sunscreen, and a hat, regardless of the time of year you choose to visit.
SAFETY IN BURKNA FASO
Burkina Faso has experienced security challenges in recent years, particularly in the northern, eastern, and Sahel regions of the country. Terrorist attacks, kidnapping, and banditry have occurred in these areas, leading many countries to issue travel warnings and advisories.
It is important to keep in mind that there is a risk of terrorism and kidnapping throughout Burkina Faso, and travelers should exercise caution and stay alert at all times. It's recommended to stay up to date on the latest security developments and travel advisories from your home country's embassy or consulate in Burkina Faso.
If you do decide to travel to Burkina Faso, it's advisable to hire a reputable guide or tour operator and travel in a group, particularly when visiting remote or less populated areas. It's also recommended to avoid public gatherings and crowded areas, and to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Overall, while Burkina Faso is a beautiful and culturally rich country, it's important to take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
BURKINA FASO WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Burkina Faso experiences high temperatures and variable rainfall. Three climate zones split the country from north to south: the Sahelian zone in the north with rainfall less than 600 millimetres per year (mm/year), the Sudano-Sahelian region on a savanna plateau (Mossi Plateau) with rainfall from 600-900 mm/year and slightly cooler temperatures, and the southern more humid Sudanian zone with rainfall averages between 900-1200 mm/year. Each of these zones experiences a pronounced wet and dry season, with the wet season extending over a two-month period in the north and a six-month period in the south.
The rainy season starts slowly in late March to early April in the southwest, extending gradually toward the center of the country in May and June, and reaching the northern extents in June or early July. The length of the growing season varies from less than 60 days in the north to 160 days in the south, with large inter-annual variations. The dry season is influenced by the harmattans, or dry, easterly winds that bring hot air to Burkina Faso from March to May. Extremes in temperatures are occurring with monthly high temperature averages now regularly exceeding the previous maximums of 35°C, particularly in the north.
BURKINA FASO TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN BURKINA FASO
HIKING & CYCLING IN BURKINA FASO
BEACH OPTIONS IN BURKINA FASO
SURFING IN BURKINA FASO
KITESURF IN BURKINA FASO
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN BURKINA FASO
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
BURKINA FASO TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Burkina Faso can vary depending on various factors such as the time of year, type of accommodation, mode of transportation, and activities planned. Here is a breakdown of some typical expenses you may incur when traveling to Burkina Faso:
- Accommodation: Budget accommodation, such as hostels or guesthouses, can cost around $10-20 USD per night. Mid-range hotels can cost around $40-60 USD per night, while high-end hotels can cost over $100 USD per night.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Burkina Faso is generally affordable, with local buses or minibusses costing around $0.50-2 USD for short journeys. Taxis are also widely available and can cost around $2-5 USD for short trips within the city. Domestic flights between cities can cost around $100-200 USD.
- Food: Street food and local restaurants can be very affordable, with typical dishes costing around $2-5 USD. Mid-range restaurants can cost around $10-20 USD per meal, while high-end restaurants can cost over $30 USD per meal.
- Activities: Many of Burkina Faso's cultural activities and festivals are free to attend, although some may require a small entrance fee. Excursions and guided tours can vary in price depending on the activity, with prices ranging from $10-50 USD per person.
Overall, with careful planning and budgeting, it's possible to travel to Burkina Faso on a moderate budget of around $40-60 USD per day. However, costs can quickly add up if you opt for high-end accommodation, luxury transportation, or expensive activities.
BURKINA FASO TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips to keep in mind when visiting Burkina Faso:
- Check travel advisories: Before traveling to Burkina Faso, it's important to check your home country's travel advisories and stay informed about any security concerns or risks.
- Dress modestly: Burkina Faso is a conservative country, and it's important to dress modestly, particularly when visiting mosques, markets, or rural areas. Clothing that covers the shoulders, chest, and legs is recommended.
- Get vaccinated: Make sure to get all recommended vaccinations before traveling to Burkina Faso, including for yellow fever, typhoid, and hepatitis A and B.
- Stay hydrated: Burkina Faso has a hot and dry climate, and it's important to drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated. It's also recommended to avoid drinking tap water and opt for bottled water instead.
- Respect local customs and traditions: Burkina Faso has a rich cultural heritage, and it's important to respect local customs and traditions, such as removing shoes before entering mosques or traditional homes.
- Hire a reputable guide or tour operator: When traveling to remote or less populated areas, it's recommended to hire a reputable guide or tour operator to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
- Carry cash: While credit cards are accepted in some larger hotels and restaurants, it's recommended to carry cash in Burkina Faso, particularly when traveling to more rural areas.
- Be cautious with valuables: Like in any other country, it's important to be cautious with your valuables and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive items in public.
- Learn some French: French is the official language of Burkina Faso, and learning some basic phrases can be helpful when communicating with locals.
- Enjoy the culture: Finally, don't forget to immerse yourself in Burkina Faso's rich cultural traditions, attend festivals, and try the local cuisine.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF BURKINA FASO
Burkina Faso is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and many natural wonders. Here are some of the main regions worth visiting and the highlights of each region:
- Ouagadougou: Burkina Faso's capital city is a bustling hub of culture and commerce, with a vibrant arts scene, lively markets, and several museums and historical sites. Highlights include the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Grand Market, and the Moro-Naba Palace.
- Bobo-Dioulasso: Burkina Faso's second-largest city is known for its traditional architecture, music, and crafts. Highlights include the Grande Mosque, the Bobo-Dioulasso Cultural Centre, and the Kibidwe artisans' village.
- Banfora and the Cascades Region: Located in western Burkina Faso, Banfora is a gateway to the stunning natural beauty of the Cascades region, with its waterfalls, lakes, and savannah landscapes. Highlights include the Karfiguéla Waterfalls, the Sindou Peaks, and the Domes of Fabedougou.
- Sahel Region: Located in the north of Burkina Faso, the Sahel region is home to several ethnic groups and traditional cultures, as well as the wildlife-rich Arly National Park. Highlights include the picturesque town of Gorom-Gorom, the ancient Djenne Mosque, and the Parc W National Park.
- Lobi Region: Located in the southwest of Burkina Faso, the Lobi region is known for its distinctive mud-and-stick architecture and traditional customs. Highlights include the Lobi villages of Loropeni and Gaoua, the Weiga Natural Reserve, and the Lobi Museum.
- East Region: Located in the east of Burkina Faso, this region is home to the picturesque town of Fada N'gourma, as well as several wildlife reserves and parks. Highlights include the Gobnangou National Park, the Mare aux Hippopotames Reserve, and the Gourma Flora and Fauna Reserve.
Overall, Burkina Faso is a beautiful and culturally rich country with many fascinating regions to explore. Whether you're interested in nature, culture, history, or adventure, there's something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming country.
Burkina Faso is a culturally rich country with many things to see and do. Here are some of the best attractions and activities to experience when visiting Burkina Faso:
- Visit the Ruins of Loropéni: Located in southwestern Burkina Faso, the Ruins of Loropéni are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved examples of traditional African architecture in the region.
- Explore Ouagadougou: Burkina Faso's capital city is a hub of culture and commerce, with a vibrant arts scene, lively markets, and several museums and historical sites. Don't miss the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Grand Market, and the Moro-Naba Palace.
- See the Karfiguéla Waterfalls: Located near the town of Banfora in western Burkina Faso, the Karfiguéla Waterfalls are a spectacular natural wonder and a popular spot for hiking and swimming.
- Attend a Traditional Festival: Burkina Faso is famous for its colorful and lively festivals, which celebrate everything from harvests and weddings to traditional dances and music. The most famous festival is the biennial FESPACO film festival, which showcases the best of African cinema.
- Visit the Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso: The Grande Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso is one of the most beautiful examples of Sahelian architecture in West Africa, with intricate details and towering minarets.
- Explore the Wildlife Parks: Burkina Faso is home to several wildlife parks and reserves, including the Arly National Park and the Mare aux Hippopotames Reserve, where visitors can see a variety of African wildlife, including elephants, lions, and hippos.
- Discover Traditional Art and Crafts: Burkina Faso is known for its traditional art and crafts, including woven textiles, woodcarvings, and metalwork. Visitors can explore local markets and artisan villages to see and purchase these unique items.
- Go on a Safari: Burkina Faso has several wildlife parks and reserves where visitors can take a safari and see a variety of African wildlife up close and personal.
Overall, Burkina Faso is a fascinating and culturally rich country with many things to see and do. Whether you're interested in history, culture, nature, or adventure, there's something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming country.
WHAT TO EAT IN BURKINA FASO
When visiting Burkina Faso, you should try the local cuisine, which is influenced by West African and French cooking. Here are some dishes you shouldn't miss when in Burkina Faso:
- Tô: Tô is a traditional dish made from millet or sorghum flour and water. It is similar to a thick porridge and is usually eaten with a sauce made from vegetables, meat, or fish.
- Riz gras: Riz gras is a popular rice dish that is cooked with tomato sauce, onions, spices, and meat or fish.
- Poulet bicyclette: This is a grilled chicken dish that is seasoned with local spices and served with a side of tô or riz gras.
- Brochettes: Brochettes are skewered meats, typically made from beef, goat, or mutton, and grilled over an open flame.
- Alloco: Alloco is a popular street food made from fried plantains that are seasoned with spices and served with a spicy tomato sauce.
- Poulet yassa: Poulet yassa is a marinated chicken dish that is cooked with onions, peppers, and lemon juice. It is usually served with rice or tô.
- Thiéboudienne: Thiéboudienne is a traditional Senegalese dish that is popular in Burkina Faso. It is a rice and fish dish that is cooked with tomatoes, onions, and vegetables.
- Dibi: Dibi is a grilled lamb dish that is seasoned with local spices and served with a side of tô or riz gras.
When in Burkina Faso, you can also try some of the local drinks, such as bissap, a hibiscus tea, and dolo, a traditional millet beer. Don't forget to try the local fruits such as mangoes, papayas, and bananas, which are usually sweet and juicy.
LGBTQ IN BURKINA FASO
WHERE TO STAY IN BURKINA FASO
When visiting Burkina Faso for the first time, it is recommended to stay in the capital city of Ouagadougou. Ouagadougou has several accommodation options that cater to different budgets, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels to luxurious hotels. Here are some popular areas to stay in Ouagadougou:
- Koulouba: Koulouba is a residential neighborhood in Ouagadougou that is home to several embassies and government buildings. It is a safe and quiet area, with several mid-range and upscale hotels.
- Ouaga 2000: Ouaga 2000 is a newer and upscale residential area that is popular among expats and visitors. It has several luxury hotels and is close to the airport.
- Centre Ville: The city center of Ouagadougou is the hub of commerce, culture, and entertainment in the city. It has several mid-range hotels, guesthouses, and budget-friendly hostels.
- Zone du Bois: Zone du Bois is a quiet and green neighborhood that is home to several upscale hotels and guesthouses.
- Quartier Gounghin: Quartier Gounghin is a bustling neighborhood that is known for its lively markets and street food. It has several budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels.
When choosing where to stay in Ouagadougou, it is important to consider your budget, location, and the amenities you need. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or festivals.
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