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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso? Where’s that?
The West African neighboring country of Mali, Benin, Togo and Ghana, has not yet gained a lot of familiarity amongst travelers. Highest time for a change!
Search for elephants, visit Barani’s horse festival, sleep at a traditional Kassena courtyard or marvel over the Domes de Fabedougou?
We’ll be happy to capture this and more in a beautiful itinerary!

General information

Capital Ouagadougou
Population circa 17 million
Surface 274,000 km2
Form of government     democratic republic
National slogan Unité - Progrès - Justice (Unity - Progress - Justice)
National anthem Une seule nuit (A single night)
Neighboring countries       Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivorycoast
Cities Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Fada N'Gourma, Gorom-Gorom, Banfora,
Koudougou, Ouahigouya, Gaoua, Kaya, Po, Dori, Yako
Time zone GMT
Religions                    Islam, Christianity and Animism
Languages                    French and several local languages, including Moore and Fulani
Currency Franc CFA, 1,000 FCFA is about € 1.50
Voltage 220V, two-pins plugs (as in Europe)
Travel documents         passport needs to be valid for at least 3 months upon departure, visum obliged
Health yellow fever vaccination obliged
Mobile coverage          in large parts of the country
Internet available in the cities

 
Land of the sincere people
Like in the neighboring countries, the French colonial period has played an important role in the history of Burkina Faso. After it gained independence in 1960, a series of elections and military coups followed. Thomas Sankaré, also named the Ché Guevara of Burkina Faso, has develop a lot of initiatives and realized a lot of changes and improvements, in the short time he was given as a head of state. It was under his regime that Opper Volta changed into Burkina Faso, meaning land of the sincere people.
On October 15th 1987 an end came to his period of governance as well as to his life. Blaise Compaoré, often referred to as the conciliator, seized power. Even though Burkina Faso officially had a multiple party system, there was no real opposition during Compaoré's time as a president. Late 2014 the people revolted. After 27 years he was forced to step back and leave the country. Nowadays Burkina Faso has a democratically elected president.

Population
Originally the ethnic groups were spread over the country; such as the Mossi people in Central Burkina Faso, Fulani in the Northeast, Bobo and Senoufo in the Northwest, Kassena and Lobi in the Southwest. The Burkinabé being quite mobile, over time large parts of the country have become a colorful mix. Burkina Faso is home to about 60 ethnic groups, the Mossi being the biggest one with about 50%.

Geography
Land-locked, Burkina Faso is mostly flat with a hilly area in the center of the country. The Northeast is the desert area. Tena Kourou, 749 meter, is the country’s highest peak. Especially in the area around Banfora a lot of natural wonders are to be seen, such as waterfalls, impressive rocks and lakes.

Climate
June till September, the rainy season, is characterized by periods of – welcome – rain showers, that make the country turn green and the crops sprout. Temperatures are often pleasant; humidity can be high on some days.
The dry season usually starts in September and from November temperatures drop till about 25 degrees Celsius during the day with cooler nights. March, April and May are known as the hot season, during which temperatures can rise above 40 degrees Celsius with sometimes a refreshing shower.

The North and the desert
It’s not out of the blue that Burkina Faso is referred to as one of the Sahel countries; the Northeast of the country existing of desert. Sand dunes and sleepy desert towns make for that very special feeling, only a desert can give someone. Strolling
the villages, sitting on a sand dune or camel’s back, the serenity and vastness of the surroundings will take over.

Festivals and ceremonies
Traditional festivals and ceremonies? The Burkinabé love them! Traditions play an important role in the cultures of the different ethnic groups and festivals and ceremonies are part of them. Local mask and dance festivals, the annual horse festival in Barani and the international film festival in Ouagadougou for instance. And not to forget: the Tour du Faso, Burkina’s annual cycle race.

Rock formations of exceptional stature 
Sindou Peaks are well worth a visit. Early birds can nourish their souls with a sunrise visit, when the sun lightens up the peaks, giving them those extraordinary earthly colors.
Do the Bungle Bungles in West Australia attract thousands of tourists every year, their geological twins, the estimated 1.8 billion years old Domes of Fabedougou in Burkina Faso are still rather unknown, making it a great spot to visit and enjoy it undisturbed!

Elephants, crocodiles, hippos and more!
Burkina Faso is home to several National Parks, offering the traveler the chance to enjoy a selection of wildlife, including elephants, monkeys and hundreds of birds species.
And what about hippo and crocodile lakes? Set out in a wooden boat on the lake to go hippo spotting? Or take a close look at the sacred crocodiles? It’s all possible!

Flights to Burkina Faso
Amongst others KLM-Air France, Royal Air Maro and Turkish Airlines have flights to Ouagadougou. Ticket prices vary per airline and season.

Last but not least…
Traveling in Burkina Faso asks for an open and flexible attitude. Comfort and sanitary facilities do not always meet western standards. Running water and electricity may not always be available. Unforeseen circumstances may lead to necessary alterations of the itinerary.

Take a look at the travel calendar for an overview of our small-scale theme-based group journeys. Or ask us for a tailor-made journey to Burkina Faso.

 


 

The Burkinabé (as people from Burkina Faso are called) are the country’s greatest asset. It’s the genuine welcome that makes travel in Burkina Faso such a delight.

 

Lonely Planet, 2009