Burkina Faso (BF)

  • Land Burkina Faso
  • Continent: Africa
  • Area: 274,200 km²
  • Population: 15,730,977
  • Capital city: Ouagadougou
  • ISO code: BF
  • National language: French
  • International dialing code: +226
  • Currency: CFA-Franc Communauté française d'Afrique
  • License plate number: BF
  • Alternative spelling: Burkina Fasso, Burquina Faso, Burquina Fasso
  • Flight routes from Burkina Faso: 418
  • Flight routes to Burkina Faso: 418
  • Popular airports: Ouagadougou (OUA), Bobo-Dioulasso (BOY)
  • Large cities: Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Ouahigouya, Banfora, Dédougou, Kaya, Dori, Tenkodogo, Réo, Houndé, Fada N'gourma, Koupéla, Kombissiri, Garango
  • Airlines based in Burkina Faso: Air Burkina

Burkina Faso travel guide (Africa)

Burkina Faso, is a landlocked country in West Africa on the southern edge of the Sahara bordering on six neighbouring countries, clockwise: Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Until 1984, Burkina Faso was called the Republic of Upper Volta.  The name Burkina Faso is derived from the two important rivers that have their source in the country and flow southwards to Ghana.

Geography: Burkina Faso lies on an undulating highland plateau. In the south-west on the border to Mali, the sandstone massif rises from the Sobmangou, and is also the location of the highest point of the country, the Ténakourou (749 m; 2,604 ft). The northern part of the country is very dry and influenced by the Saharan winds, whilst the southern part of the country is dominated by forested savannahs and is rich in precipitation. In the centre of the country are the rivers Mouhoun, Nazinon and Nakambé, with their narrow strips of arable land. With their productive harvests these are also the so-called “food larder” of the landlocked country; they are however threatened by the inhospitable Sahara which is gradually but steadily creeping southwards.

Climate and best time to travel
: the climate in Burkina Faso is tropical and changeable and the country is situated in a zone where the change of the seasons is determined by the hot desert wind, the Harmattan, in the month of April. The daily average temperatures are around 30° C. The weather is cooler and more bearable during the rainy season between May and October, with less rainfall in the north than in the humid green and tropical savannahs of the south- west.  

Language and communication:
the official language is French, the national languages are More and Dioula. English and Arabic are in general understood in the cities.  

Health and vaccinations:
vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. There is a danger of contracting malaria in the entire country and throughout the year. Medical care is only of a sufficient standard in Ouagadougou und Bobo Dioulasso.  Visitors are advised to take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance that covers repatriation costs. A first aid kit should be packed and fruit and vegetables peeled or boiled before being eaten.

Entry requirements:
British nationals need a visa and a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Burkina Faso. Visas and further information may be obtained from the Burkina Faso Embassy in Brussels or Paris.

Arrival: Burkina Faso may be reached by flying to the international airport in the capital Ouagadougou (OUA), three kilometres from the city centre. Only Air France and the national airline Air Burkina currently fly from Paris-Orly (ORY). The airport Bobo-Dioulasso (BOY) is another airport in Burkina Faso, used especially by domestic flights and flights to the neighbouring countries.

Capital city:
the capital Ouagadougou has approximately 1.2 million inhabitants and is the economic and cultural centre of the country, as well as the main residence of the powerless king of the country, Mogho Naaba, who belongs to the people of Mossis. This typically African city has characteristically slow clay brick houses and dusty streets during the dry season. The Ethnological Museum and extensive collection of Mossi finds, the Music Museum, the Imperial Palace and the large Friday mosque are all attractions in the city. The manmade lake outside the city is also worth visiting and is a good place to enjoy the animal world of the country.   

Places of interest and beaches:
the largest attraction of the country and also the destination of almost all tourists are the wonderful national parks that are to be found in all parts of the country. The most beautiful and also the largest and most famous of these is the W National Park that was also declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The park derives its name from the meanderings of the river Niger that flows through the park and forms the letter W. The conservation area is in the south-east on the border of the three countries Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin and hosts the typical savannah fauna with more than 70 different diurnal mammals. Elephants, Antelopes, hyenas, jackals, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, hippopotamus and various primates may be sighted here, along with 350 different species of birds.  Other nature reserves include the Mare aux Hippotames near Bobo-Dioulasso, Kaboré-Tambi between Ouagadougou and the Ghanaian border and the Parc National d’ Arly in the south-east as well as the Deux-Balés that is situated on a main road between Ouagadougou and the second largest city Bobo-Dioulasso.

Bobo-Dioulasso is in the west and is of great economic significance for the country due to its fertile location. The city is also a local transport hub for domestic flights and flights to neighbouring African countries that are served by Air Burkina and other African airlines. The mosque, built in 1880 of Sudanese clay bricks, is one of the city’s attractions as well as the cultural festival "Semaine nationale de la culture" that takes place every two years.

The Banfora waterfalls south of Bobo-Dioulasso are also a popular tourist destination; here the Comoé falls from the sandstone cliffs Chaîne de Banfora into the plain. Visitors should also head to the nearby Téngréla Lake, which, due to the hippopotamuses that live here, is also popular with tourists.

about 50% of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso are Muslim, 40% are believers of the natural religions and about 10% are Christian.

Major Cities and accommodation: Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Banfora, Ouahigouya, Dédougou, Pissila, Kaya and Tanghin-Dassouri.