Burkina Faso Holidays - Tours & Adventure Travel Guide
“Most people will never have heard of Burkina Faso, let alone know where it is on a map. Like all countries however, it has its own charm and several activities for the visitor to enjoy. Tourism is developing slowly and as the infrastructure develops, so will the activities on offer. If you like to go to places before others, now is your time.”
Burkina Faso Holiday Highlights
Museums and Culture
If you’ve got only a few days in Burkina Faso, then in and around Ouagadougou (the capital) you’ll have plenty of opportunity to go museum hunting. Some of the more interesting museums include the Ethnography Museum, the Snake Museum, the National Museum, and the Ethnography Museum. At the end of October, you’ll have a chance to visit the country’s largest crafts fair, the International Arts and Crafts Fair. A visit to the Moro-Naba Palace is interesting, especially the drama at six in the morning every Friday.
If you’ve been to Mali to do some of the Dogon trekking around some of West Africa’s most sacred sites, then you may think you know what to expect in Burkina Faso. While it is possible to do some hikes up in the northwest of the country—from Burkina Faso into Mali (essentially part of the Dogon)—you’d be surprised at the varied terrain and vegetation found here. If you want to get out in the antithesis of Mali, then head for the lush undulating hills near Bobbo-Dioulasso. This part of the country is far from flat, with hills reaching nearly 750 meters in height, with sandstone massifs. If you want a real adventure, a local guide can take you by bike and hike through village and town to a sacrificial site, La Mare aux Poissons Sacres de Dafra. With a live chicken in tote, be sure to visit the colossal catfish, fed the innards of the chicken for an offering. This place is real and not simply a “show” for tourists. The bike and hike will take you through agricultural footpaths and by some of the brashest bluffs. In Banfora, a hike to and around the Karfiguela Waterfalls is worth the trip. Close by, take support vehicle and take a trek around the Sindou Rock Formations near the village of Sindou.
Aside from the Tour de Faso, an annual two-week long bike race held here, there’s not much in the way of road cycling or mountain biking. This is to say that it’s a relatively new idea and the concept is catching on, slowly. If you book a mountain biking tour, however, you’ll have everything you need to see a country literally made for pedaling. The windy, dirt roads and lack of vehicles (some speeding lorries) make an ideal landscape for a bike. To the northwest of Ouagadougou, the country is pretty barren and flat, with towns and villages dotting the landscape. To the east, you’ll find lush valleys and plenty of hills to keep your wheels spinning. There are several massifs here to ride down, notably in the southwest. A bike tour often takes in parts of Burkina while hitting up several others of the bordering countries. Head to the Lobi region just south of Ouaga for the some great panoramas, and you don't even have to get out of the saddle.
You won’t find any of your favorite coastal fishing in Burkina, as it’s landlocked and a dry place. There are places where water pools and plenty of rivers and streams. In fact, Burkina used to be known as the Upper Volta, a very important river system here. Some of the main rivers that do provide some good fishing are the Black, White and Red Volta. However, some of the rivers only flow during certain times of the year. The largest lakes include the Tingrela, Dem and Bam. You may have some fishing luck in the Oursi, Markoye or Yomboli ponds as well. Be careful of flooding during the rainy season.
If you’re around Bobo and want some excursion ideas, a visit to the Mare aux Hippopotames is a close encounter you won’t soon forget. In the more popular safari countries like Tanzania, you aren’t allowed to get this close. In Burkina, however, close and personal is what you get for the price. You’ll have to take a pirogue on the water to see them. A ride here takes some time, as the Mare is around 60 km northeast of Bobo.
When To Go
The best time to come to Burkina is during the dry season, though dry can often be a glossy definition for drought. The dry season lasts from November to February with rains coming around June till October. The area can become dusty with blowing sand-like storms caused by the Harmattan blowing off the Sahara.
- Be sure to have a guide for every part of your trop to Burkina Faso. As a landlocked and not-so touristy country, you’ll have a lot of troubles with food, accommodation and just getting around without help.
- Most festivals are not put on for tourists. If you visit them, be an onlooker and don’t get too wild. Ask before taking pictures.
- Roads are often impassable in the rainy season. It’s best to avoid coming here then.
- Ouaga Museums
- La Mare aux Poissons Sacres de Dafra
- Mare aux Hippopotames