Burkina Faso

Little landlocked Burkina Faso is one of West Africa’s hidden jewels. It’s one of the world’s poorest countries, but that doesn’t stop the Burkinabes walking with pride. Some of the friendliest faces you’ll see are in the streets of Burkina Faso’s villages and towns. Dancing is a favourite national pastime and centuries-old traditions are part of everyday life. There are hippos to be spotted, waterfalls to be admired, markets to be explored and songs to be sung.

Burkina Faso Tours & Travel

All our Burkina Faso trips

Voodoo Trails

18 days from
USD $7,070
CAD $7,295
AUD $7,155
EUR €4,925
GBP £4,135
NZD $7,970
ZAR R71,620
CHF FR5,960

Follow the voodoo trail from ‘Ouaga’ to spiritual Benin, the altars of Dassa Zoumba and the mystifying marketplaces...

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West African Kingdoms

24 days from
AUD $8,995
CAD $9,350
EUR €6,310
ZAR R91,790
CHF FR7,640
USD $9,065
GBP £5,300
NZD $10,020

Head off the beaten track and uncover the fascinating customs of West Africa. Explore Burkina Faso's Bobo-Dioulasso...

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Articles on Burkina Faso

Overcrowded and ugly: how the world’s least attractive sights can teach us more than the highlights

Posted on Wed, 21 Jan 2015

People don’t have a lot of time for 'ugly' travel. But why not? It's time to celebrate the world for what it is, not what it should be.

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The ultimate guide to Australian slang

Posted on Tue, 20 Jan 2015

For those wanting to master this distinctive lingo, Intrepid is here to help with our very own ( and very unofficial) guide to speaking Australian.

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Why more young travellers are heading to Antarctica than ever before (and why you should too)

Posted on Mon, 19 Jan 2015

An entire generation of travellers is exploring more of the world than their parents and grandparents combined. And that generation should visit Antarctica next.

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An earth worth watching: inside our new Earthwatch Rainforest Expedition

Posted on Fri, 16 Jan 2015

It’s got the biggest natural diversity of any place in Australia, and it’s where you can go in 2015 with a team of leading environmental scientists to help study the effects of climate change.

Read more

About Burkina Faso

At a glance

Capital city: Ouagadougou (population 1.45 million)
Population: 17 million
Language: French, More, Fulfulde, Lobi
Currency: XOF
Time zone: (GMT) Casablanca
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)
Dialing code: +226

Best time to visit Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso has a tropical climate which can mean some serious extremes between the wet months and dry months. The best time to visit is between October and December. From June to September the rains set in and days can be very hot and humid. The weather cools from December to February but harmattan winds bring dusty air. If you like your weather super hot then March to early June are the months for you with averages soaring into the 40s (Celsius).

Burkina Faso weather chart

Geography and environment

Waterfall, Burkina Faso
This landlocked country shares borders with some of West Africa’s most fascinating countries: Mali, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire. While the Sahara is slowly creeping in from the north, the south is savannah country. The country’s three main rivers - the Black Volta, the Red Volta and the White Volta - provide water for subsistence farming.

Top Picks

Mud mosque, Bobo-Dioulasso

Top 5 Quirky Places in Burkina Faso

1. Ouagadougou

With a name that just rolls off the tongue, Ouaga (as the locals call it) is a fascinating city. It may be the capital of the third-poorest country in the world, but the town lives up to its name: ‘Where people get honour and respect’.

2. Bobo-Dioulasso

So much fun to say, and even more fun to visit. Home to the Bobo tribe, this town has vibrant markets, and music and dancing wherever you go.

3. La Mare aux Poison Sacres de Dafre

Not far from Bobo-Dioulasso is the ‘sacred fishpond of Dafra’. Locals come here to sacrifice chickens to the fish, which have, understandably, grown huge.

4. Karfiguela

Home to beautiful waterfalls, Karfiguela offers visitors a glimpse of tropical paradise. Walk through an avenue of mango trees and over a jumble of rocks to see the falls.

5. Lake Tengrela

Bring your camera for some serious hippopotamus spotting. Locals believe the hippos are sacred and therefore won’t attack humans. Bring a long lens, just to be on the safe side.

FAQs on Burkina Faso

BURKINO FASO:
You are able to obtain a visa on arrival at the airport or at the border for Burkina Faso. Allow US$20 cash. For Australian passport holders, the French Consulate in Sydney is authorized to issue short stay visas on behalf of Burkina Faso & Togo for tourism. Applications can be made on-line via their website: http://www.ambafrance-au.org/france_australie/spip.php?article1100
A 10% to 15% service charge is usually included in the bill. However it’s customary to tip taxi drivers and hotel staff.
Internet is available in hotels in Ouagadougou and there’s an internet café in Bobo-Dioulaso. Power cuts can mean access is interrupted.
Mobile phone coverage is fairly good in major towns. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone.
Burkina Faso’s toilets may be basic. Be prepared for squat toilets, even in major centres.
Tap water isn’t safe to drink in Burkina Faso. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, bring water purification tablets or ask your leader where filtered water can be found.
Credit cards are rarely accepted.
ATMs are very rarely available. Cash can be withdrawn from a bank using your card.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 3 Anniversary of the 1966 Coup d’Etat
Jan 24 Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammed)
Mar 8 International Women’s Day
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Ascension Day
Aug 4 Revolution Day
Aug 5 Independence Day
Aug 8 Aid El Segheir (End of Ramadan)
Aug 15 Assumption
Oct 15 Anniversary of the 1987 Coup d’Etat
Oct 15 Aid El Kebir (Feast of Sacrifice)
Nov 1 All Saints’ Day
Nov 4 El am Hejir (Islamic New Year)
Dec 11 Proclamation of the Republic
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to:
http://www.worldtravelguide.net/burkina-faso/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Burkina Faso Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Burkina Faso

1. Be considerate of Burkina Faso’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Exchange Is Not Robbery John M. Chernoff
The Bobo Marche Curtis Cushman
The Parachute Drop Norbert Zongo
Folktales from the Moose of Burkina Faso Alain-Joseph Sissao