When you hear about Burkina Faso you mainly hear about poor people, starving populations, deserts, wild lands. No one would ever book a holiday to Burkina Faso. What for? But the beauty of Africa is untouched, even in one of the poorest places in the continent. And maybe you will find out that Burkina Faso is much more than sad people and terrible situations. Getting to know this nation, its culture, its tradition means understanding it. And being ready to visit, and to love, it. So, welcome to the “land of honest men”.
Nature in Burkina Faso
The nation’s old name was Upper Volta because its territory hosts three branches of the great Volta river: White Volta, Red Volta, Black Volta. All three rivers flow to an artificial basin called Volta Lake. Burkina Faso, in fact, has no access to the ocean. Despite so many rivers, 70% of the nation’s territory is sandy, dry and desert. Only a small part is covered with forests and hills and can be used for agriculture.
Burkina Faso is surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, in western Africa. It has a tropical climate with just two seasons: dry and rain seasons. In this particular condition elephants have found their prefect habitat. Here you can find the largest number of elephants in the whole west! This is also the land of lions, buffalos, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and African lynx. Tourists can admire animals everywhere, but mainly at the four main National Parks: The W, Arly, Léraba-Comoé Reserve, Mare aux Hippopotames. If you are lucky, among so many wild beasts, you might spot the wild dog, a rare and endangered species.
Life in Burkina Faso
The region now called Burkina Faso has been the land of hunters during the long ages of Prehistoric times. The first tribes that can be considered real inhabitants of this territory were the Samo, Dogon and Mossi (8th century). The Mossi had the power for a long time but in the 18th century new populations forded the Black Volta river and started to settle in their lands. The political situation changed in less than a hundred years and in 1800s the first European explorers opened the way to white colonization. The Upper Volta region was a French department until 1958. Then it became independent with the name Burkina Faso, the “land of honest men”.
Burkina Faso is a semi-presidential Republic, divided into regions. The capital city is Ouagadougou, with almost 3 millions inhabitants. Local people live on agriculture and trade. A few industries can be found in Ouagadougou. Mining has been the main economic resource for one century. Since 2018 the new modern economy includes also tourism. In Ouagadougou you can admire a brand new central area, many parks and the beautiful Monument to the National Heros.
In order to book a trip to Burkina Faso, you need: passport still valid up to 6 months after your arrival; Burkina Faso’s tourist Visa, you should ask and get from the embassy 20 days before your leaving; vaccination against yellow fever and malaria. A very good travel health insurance is highly recommended.
Transport in Burkina Faso is mainly based on bikes, motorbikes, mopeds. Even taxis can be two-wheeled. Roads are in very bad conditions, so you need to rent a jeep car if you want to move by yourself. In the capital city you can also use city buses and “green cabs”. Local people also travel by train, while the only real airport is Ouagadougou International Airport.
The money in use is the CFA Frank: 1 CFA = 0,0015 Euro.