Waterfalls to Ouagadougou

Ouagadougou Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 26 › view all entries

May 15, 2010
Hotel: La Pavilion Vert, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Distance: 550 kms

Another long transport day today.. we hoped to make it all the way to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Transportation might be a problem, the book mentioned that there was little traffic at the border crossing. We decided to try hiring a taxi in the town of Tanguieta that could take us across the border, or even all the way to Ouaga itself. We set off around 6AM for another game drive on our way out of the park. Early morning is a good time for spotting animals as they tend to hide during the middle of the day. We came across more antelope, then a huge wild bull (not Cape buffalo, but something similar).

Suddenly my friend saw a bull elephant off to our left but he ran off into the bush quickly. A few more monkeys, so already it was a productive morning. Suddenly off to our right we spotted more elephant! We were between them and the river again, they also had babies and were aggressive. One bull charged us as we drove off.. he snuck off across the road then came charging again at us from the other side.. two more charges before finally he gave up.

We reached the park gates by about 10:30, then stopped awhile at some waterfalls in the town of Tanougou (the town where our driver was from). The falls were pretty nice, pools of green cool water, I just wanted to jump in! The local kids there guide you up the rock steps of the falls for a few CFA. There were also some artisans selling batik and woodcarvings, some were good quality but we still had along way to travel and weren't yet interested in souvenirs.
After leaving the falls, we reached Tanguieta around 11:30, waiting awhile until the driver found us another car to take us the rest of the way. We skipped lunch, so far on our long transport trips we had been living off Cliff bars and Slim Jims, only (occasionally) eating breakfast and dinner. The car owner originally wanted 110,000 CFA ($220) to go all the way to Ouaga, we were only able to talk him down to 100,000 CFA. Quite alot but to be fair it was over 256 miles one-way (and the driver would have to return), so all in all a great deal.

One interesting thing we had noticed in Benin and Togo is all along the road there are people selling bootleg gasoline from Nigeria in old liquor and wine bottles.. something like 1/2 to 1/3 cheaper than gas from filling stations.
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Our driver filled up several jerrycans with this bootleg gas then stuck those on top of our bags in the trunk (hoping that they wouldn't leak...). We set off about noon for the border, only about 60 kms away. The road was in great shape, but absolutely zero traffic.. so we were happier about our decision to hire a private taxi. We made it through the Benin border post.. expecting to cross the Burkina border right away, but it was nearly 20kms to the next town and the border post! We were able to buy a Burkina visa here for 10,000 CFA.. (note, if reading this in 2011 the visa on arrival is now 94,000 CFA at the border, a huge increase!!) this took awhile as there was a form to fill out, then the officer had to fill out both our visa + receipt. He spoke excellent English though and very friendly.
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
The SUV convoy of SD students was also here, they said they had been there nearly two hours! They had used the north entrance of the park near the border, a much shorter route than the backtrack we had done through Tanguieta!

Finally we head north on the excellent road, again zero traffic. The landscape and vegetation was changing, much drier here than Benin had been, sparser trees and mud brick villages. After another few hrs we reached the town of Fada N'Gourma.. from here we could have caught a bus onward to Ouaga, but we decided to just keep going in the taxi as we were making good time. Soon after leaving Fada I saw one of the strangest sights in my life. In much of Africa and South America, the minibus taxi (Toyota Hi-Ace) is the transport of the masses.
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Usually 4-rows of folding seats and luggage goes on the roof. I've seen luggage piled pretty high on some, but I'd never before seen a COW on top of one (how they got it up there I have no idea). At first I thought it was just a carcass, but then I saw it chewing away at its cud. I guess if it gets wet inside, that isn't rain! Unfortunately we passed by it too quick to get a picture. Later we saw a High-Ace packed to the gills, with a goat on top.

The driver soon stopped to top off the gas with the bootleg can.. unfortunately he must have gotten some 50-octane cause the car started running really rough and couldn't accelerate at all.. we limped along for the last hour before finally reaching Ouaga. We had to search around a bit for the hotel, it's marked on a map but there wasn't a sign for it, and when we did finally find the place they didn't have any room. Luckily there was a backpacker place nearby that had availability (we hadn't tried it initially since the book said it was very popular and to call ahead). We had a dinner of spag bol before hitting the sack.. tomorrow was going to be another long transport day as we pushed north into Mali.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Tanougou Waterfall, Benin
Burkina Faso landscape
Burkina Faso landscape
Burkina Faso landscape
Burkina Faso landscape
Ouagadougou