Burkina Faso Overview
A painfully poor West African state with a tranquil pace of life, Bukina Faso’s mix of curious sites and rainbow cities make it an real gem of an off-the-wall travel destination, and a step off away from the norm even for African travel addicts. For all the poverty, capital Ouagadougou’s red brick roads and eccentric nightlife - as well as a French influenced cultural quarter – charms visiting travelers with its upbeat take on life. The weekly Moro Naaba ceremony held at the 15th century palace commemorates avoiding an ancient war, while the twin angular towers of the Grand Mosque and the adjoining market give an alluring taste of the life of a West African native, though the city is currently undergoing a bit of a crisis following extensive flooding in September '09.
Gorom-Gorom (which translates as the wonderfully expressive ‘you sit down and we’ll sit down’) still holds its legendary Thursday market, and though it lacks the flamboyant color that made the dusty, ramshackle stores famous before modern ‘improvements’ bought in heaps of concrete, it’s still a memorable day out. Sector 4’s artisan associations turn out works made from ebony and local leather, and offer stacks of bargains if you can work your way around the over-enthusiastic, cash-hungry middlemen.
Leaky boat rides near the green town of Banfora might take you past a hippo lounging in the mud, while the odd shadows cast by the rock formations at the craggy Peaks of Sindou are disorientating yet astounding, with crumbling village remains and panoramic views that are sacred to local Burkinabe. The terraces of The Karfiguela Falls invite swimmers, who wash away the African mud in the gentle flow of the cool-water pools.
For adventurous travelers, the remote village of Tiébélé features huge fading frescoes on the side of defensive fortress houses. Home to only 450 people, the community is said to be ‘the most colorful village in Burkina Faso’, and offers a great insight into the local lifestyle.
To the south of the country, of course, you’ll find a selection of wildlife safaris the match of most African countries, but Burkina Faso’s diverse scenery and culture, and a relatively unaltered taste of the Africa of old are the reasons to come to Burkina Faso particularly, and grab a quintessential African experience.