Burkina Faso Travel Guide - Attractions, What to See, Do, Costs, FAQs - VRGyani News


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Burkina Faso Travel Guide - Attractions, What to See, Do, Costs, FAQs

Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, has a rich and diverse history dating back to ancient times. The region was once home to various indigenous ethnic groups, including the Mossi, Gurunsi, and Bobo peoples, who established powerful kingdoms and chiefdoms.

In the 19th century, Burkina Faso became a target of European colonial powers, leading to the establishment of French colonial rule. The country gained independence from France in 1960, and in 1984, the name was changed to Burkina Faso, which means "Land of the Honest People" in Mossi and Dioula languages.

Since gaining independence, Burkina Faso has experienced periods of political instability and social change. However, it has also made significant strides in democratic governance, education, and cultural preservation, making it a fascinating destination for travelers interested in history and culture.

Discovering the Geography of Burkina Faso:

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country located in West Africa, bordered by six other countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest. The country's geography is characterized by vast savannas, semi-arid plains, and the Sahel desert region in the north.

The Volta River, which flows through Burkina Faso from north to south, is a significant geographical feature and a vital source of water for agriculture and human settlement. The country's landscape is dotted with rocky outcrops, low hills, and occasional forests, providing diverse habitats for wildlife and vegetation.

Tourist Destinations/Attractions of Burkina Faso:

  1. Ouagadougou: The capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, is a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant markets, cultural festivals, and historic landmarks. Visitors can explore the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Grand Market, and the Moro-Naba Palace, home to the traditional Mossi king.
  2. Bobo-Dioulasso: Burkina Faso's second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, is renowned for its colonial architecture, bustling street markets, and vibrant music scene. Highlights include the Grande Mosquée, the Bobo Dioulasso Railway Station, and the Kibidwe artisan market.
  3. Banfora: Located in southwestern Burkina Faso, Banfora is a picturesque town known for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore attractions such as the Karfiguéla Waterfalls, the Sindou Peaks, and the Dômes de Fabédougou rock formations.
  4. Lobi Country: The Lobi region in southwestern Burkina Faso is home to the Lobi people, known for their unique architecture, traditional beliefs, and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore Lobi villages, visit sacred sites, and learn about traditional Lobi customs and rituals.
  5. Nazinga Game Ranch: The Nazinga Game Ranch is a protected area in southeastern Burkina Faso, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and nature walks. Visitors can spot a variety of species, including elephants, antelopes, hippos, and crocodiles, in their natural habitat.

Travel Plan for Burkina Faso Tourists:

Day 1-2: Arrival in Ouagadougou, explore the city's cultural attractions, markets, and historic landmarks.

Day 3-4: Travel to Bobo-Dioulasso and visit the Grande Mosquée, the Bobo Dioulasso Railway Station, and the Kibidwe artisan market.

Day 5-6: Journey to Banfora and explore the Karfiguéla Waterfalls, the Sindou Peaks, and the Dômes de Fabédougou rock formations.

Day 7-8: Visit the Lobi region and immerse yourself in Lobi culture, exploring villages, sacred sites, and traditional customs.

Day 9-10: Explore the Nazinga Game Ranch and enjoy wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and nature walks in the savannah.

Best Activities to Do in Burkina Faso:

  1. Attend a traditional music and dance performance in Ouagadougou or Bobo-Dioulasso to experience the vibrant rhythms and cultural traditions of Burkina Faso.
  2. Visit the artisans' villages near Ouagadougou, such as Laongo and Ziniaré, to see local craftsmen at work and purchase handmade souvenirs, textiles, and woodcarvings.
  3. Take a boat ride on the Mare aux Hippopotames (Hippopotamus Lake) near Banfora to observe hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife in their natural habitat.
  4. Explore the sacred sites and traditional shrines of the Lobi people, such as the Siby sacred pond and the Tanougou Waterfall, to learn about Lobi spiritual beliefs and rituals.
  5. Join a guided safari excursion in the Nazinga Game Ranch to spot elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, and other wildlife species, accompanied by experienced rangers.

Burkina Faso Travel Package Costing:

The cost of a travel package to Burkina Faso varies depending on factors such as accommodation, transportation, activities, and duration of the trip. Here's a rough estimate to help you plan your budget:
  1. Flights: Round-trip flights to Ouagadougou from major international airports can range from $800 to $1500, depending on the airline, time of booking, and departure location.
  2. Accommodation: Budget accommodations such as guesthouses and hostels in Burkina Faso typically range from $20 to $50 per night. Mid-range hotels and lodges may cost between $50 to $100 per night, while luxury accommodations can range from $150 to $300 or more per night.
  3. Transportation: Local transportation options such as taxis, buses, and shared minibusses (known as "bush taxis") are relatively inexpensive, with fares typically ranging from $1 to $10 depending on the distance traveled. Rental cars are also available for those who prefer self-driving, with prices starting from $50 per day.
  4. Activities: Entrance fees to tourist attractions, guided tours, and cultural experiences in Burkina Faso are generally affordable, ranging from $5 to $20 per person, depending on the activity and duration.
Overall, a week-long trip to Burkina Faso for two people can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 or more, excluding international flights, depending on your travel style, preferences, and itinerary.

Top 5 Hotels & Resorts in Burkina Faso:

  1. Laico Ouaga 2000 Hotel (Ouagadougou): This luxury hotel offers elegant accommodations, modern amenities, and excellent service in the heart of Ouagadougou. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options, making it an ideal base for exploring the city.
  2. Hotel Résidence SAMI (Bobo-Dioulasso): Located in Bobo-Dioulasso, Hotel Résidence SAMI offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, and a serene garden courtyard. The hotel provides easy access to Bobo-Dioulasso's attractions, making it a convenient choice for travelers.
  3. Banfora Lodge (Banfora): Situated near Banfora's natural attractions, Banfora Lodge offers charming bungalows surrounded by lush gardens and palm trees. Guests can relax by the pool, enjoy delicious meals at the restaurant, and book excursions to nearby sights such as the Karfiguéla Waterfalls.
  4. Auberge de Dafra (Lobi Country): Auberge de Dafra is a traditional guesthouse located in the Lobi region, offering rustic accommodations and authentic cultural experiences. Guests can participate in Lobi rituals, explore nearby villages, and learn about local customs and traditions.
  5. Safou Kôtel (Nazinga Game Ranch): Safou Kôtel is a cozy lodge located near the Nazinga Game Ranch, offering comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving traditional cuisine, and guided safari excursions. Guests can unwind after a day of wildlife viewing and enjoy the tranquility of the African bush.

Customer FAQs related to Burkina Faso:

Is Burkina Faso safe for tourists?

Burkina Faso has experienced security challenges in recent years, including terrorism and civil unrest in certain areas. It's essential to stay informed about the current situation and follow travel advisories from your government. Exercise caution, particularly in border regions and areas prone to security threats.

What is the climate like in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso has a tropical climate with two main seasons: the dry season (November to May) and the rainy season (June to October). During the dry season, temperatures can be hot, with little to no rainfall. The rainy season brings cooler temperatures and occasional heavy rains, particularly in the southern part of the country.

What languages are spoken in Burkina Faso?

The official language of Burkina Faso is French, inherited from its colonial past. However, there are also several indigenous languages spoken by different ethnic groups, including Moore, Dioula, and Fulfulde. English is not widely spoken outside of tourist areas, so basic French phrases can be helpful for travelers.

What currency is used in Burkina Faso?

The official currency of Burkina Faso is the West African CFA franc (XOF). It's advisable to exchange currency at banks or authorized exchange offices, as foreign currency may not be widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist establishments, but it's always a good idea to carry cash for smaller transactions and in more remote areas.

What are some cultural customs and etiquette to be aware of in Burkina Faso?

Visitors to Burkina Faso should be respectful of local customs and traditions. It's customary to greet people with a handshake and maintain eye contact during conversations. Modest clothing is recommended, especially in rural areas and when visiting religious sites. When visiting someone's home, it's important to remove your shoes before entering and offer a small gift, such as fruit or sweets, as a token of appreciation. Additionally, asking for permission before taking photographs of people or their property shows respect for their privacy and cultural beliefs.

What are the must-try dishes in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso offers a variety of delicious dishes that showcase its rich culinary heritage. Some must-try dishes include:
  1. Poulet Yassa: Grilled chicken marinated in a tangy onion and lemon sauce, typically served with rice or couscous.
  2. Riz Gras: A hearty dish of rice cooked with tomatoes, onions, and spices, often accompanied by grilled meat or fish.
  3. Brochettes: Skewers of grilled meat, such as beef, chicken, or goat, seasoned with spices and served with a side of spicy sauce.
  4. Pâte de Maïs: A thick cornmeal porridge similar to polenta, served with a sauce made from tomatoes, onions, and vegetables.
  5. Tô: A staple food made from millet or sorghum flour, cooked into a thick paste and served with a sauce or stew.

What are some unique cultural festivals in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso is known for its vibrant cultural festivals, celebrating music, dance, and traditional customs. Some popular festivals include:
  1. Festival International de la Culture Hip-Hop: An annual hip-hop festival held in Ouagadougou, featuring performances by local and international artists, dance battles, and graffiti art exhibitions.
  2. Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou (FESPACO): The largest film festival in Africa, showcasing the best African cinema and attracting filmmakers, actors, and cinephiles from around the world.
Festival des Masques et des Arts: A cultural festival held in the village of Dedougou, featuring traditional mask dances, music performances, and art exhibitions celebrating Burkina Faso's diverse cultural heritage.

What wildlife can I see in Burkina Faso?

While Burkina Faso may not be as well-known for its wildlife as some other African countries, it still offers opportunities to observe a variety of species in their natural habitat. Wildlife sightings may include elephants, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, monkeys, and a wide range of bird species in national parks, reserves, and protected areas.

In conclusion, Burkina Faso is a fascinating destination with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty waiting to be discovered. Whether you're exploring ancient kingdoms, admiring colonial architecture, or immersing yourself in vibrant festivals, Burkina Faso offers a truly unique and unforgettable travel experience. With its warm hospitality, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Burkina Faso invites travelers to explore its hidden gems and embark on a journey of discovery.

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