Travel Burkina Faso – A Useful Guide

Burkina Faso. What a wonderful little country in West Africa, full of friendly people, green countryside and tasty food.

Travel Burkina Faso – A Useful Guide

Burkina Faso. What a wonderful little country in West Africa, full of friendly people, green countryside and tasty food.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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Travel Burkina Faso – A useful guide

If you’re planning a trip and want to know how to travel in Burkina Faso (and I highly recommend you do), here is some helpful information.

Travel Burkina Faso – A Useful Guide

The currency used in Burkina Faso is the CFA -West African Franc. At the time of writing: USD 1.00 = CFA 575.00

We had arranged our visa for Burkina Faso in Bamako, Mali, a few days earlier. It is also possible to get a visa on arrival, you’ll simply pay more for it if you choose this option.

Our 09:30 flight with Air Burkina was delayed, by 18 hours. The airline transferred us to a hotel and provided us with meal vouchers for lunch and dinner. They asked us to be in the lobby at 02:00 am the following morning to be transferred back to the airport for a 04:20 am flight.

We weren’t annoyed, how could we be. This is Africa and our trip to visit every country in the world is expected to have many more delays and changes such as this.

We took the 04:20 flight from Bamako to the very uniquely named capital in Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. Locals just refer to their city as ‘Wa-gah’.

Travel Burkina Faso the colours of the flag

Welcome to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso  

If you are planning to travel Burkina Faso, you will most likely start in the capital Ouagadougou.

Our arrival at the airport was early, yet we were swiftly processed at the immigration counter and exited the airport to find a taxi.  The first taxi driver approached us and after some polite haggling back and forth about the fare to our guesthouse, we were happy to pay 3000 CFA, which is about $5.

We’d read this was the approximate fare for a private taxi into the city centre.

A shared taxi is available in and around town on set routes for 300 CFA per person, but if you need to get from one specific address to another, especially with baggage, a private taxi is easier.

Where to Stay in Ouagadougou

We stayed at Hotel Pavillon Vert. This place is well located, affordable, and popular with the little number of tourists that do travel Burkina Faso and make it to Ouagadougou.

There are three room types to choose from, some with just a fan and shared bathroom (8500 CFA) or others with a private bathroom and A/C (13,500 – 18,000 CFA). There’s a nice courtyard garden in the centre with a wifi connection and a restaurant with some tasty food.

Another hotel we’d recommend is Villa Yiri Suma.

Ouagadougou is low-key, friendly, and safe. The main roads are all paved, yet the busy small streets are still unpaved and dusty.

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People are friendly and honest in Burkina Faso

People here smile at you and genuinely say hello or “bon arrivee’ to make you feel welcome. There are no ulterior motives here. You don’t get people approaching you as a tourist wanting you to buy something from them or trick you out of your money somehow.

The main thing I noticed in this country is that people are very friendly, yet the most refreshing thing I found and admire about the people is that they’re honest.

On more than a few occasions, I had women in either small shops or the markets asking their friends or the store next door for the equivalent of ten cents change in the local currency for me as they didn’t have it.

I’d say it was ok, but they wanted to give me my due change. If they couldn’t find the small change, they’d compensate by offering me a small candy or packet of tissues instead.

Those small gestures of honesty are rare in this part of the world.

Travel Burkina Faso - stopping for lunch near Banfora
Travel Burkina Faso – stopping for lunch near Banfora

People here take pride in the way they dress

Women and men dress very well in Burkina Faso. Everybody in the city would wear tailored bright dresses and suits. It was no different taking the bus to different villages, people from the country clearly still took pride in their appearance and they always smelled like soap.

It’s hard to imagine that these people who own very little, yet dress with such care and pride, live in one of the poorest countries in the world.

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How to get around in Burkina Faso

In terms of getting around in this country, mopeds and motorcycles are kings of the road. You’ll see beautifully dressed women zipping along the dusty roads with a baby slung to her back, a child sitting in front, a large bag of goods at her feet, one hand on the accelerator, and the other hand sipping from a bag of water with little effort at all.

A shared taxi is a common form of transport. There are set routes around town and if you’re going that way towards town, you can simply hail a taxi, jump in and then jump out when you’re close enough to your destination.

The shared taxi cost is 300 CFA and it’s best to have a small change for the driver.

Coaches (Rakieta is one of the most popular coach service companies) are the best way to get to other cities and villages from Ouagadougou and other larger towns/cities.

banfora
Buying tickets at the bus station in Banfora – Travel Burkina Faso 

If you need to get to a specific place, you can hail a private taxi and negotiate a price with the driver (in your best French).

We had to apply for a Niger visa in Ouagadougou, with the embassy in a residential area about 6km from the city centre. We paid our driver 7000 CFA to drive us there, wait for us and then drive us back to our hotel again.

For such a poor country, Burkina Faso has very few beggars.  The people I encountered that were asking for any money from me would often try to sell food or bags of nuts or fruit in exchange for small change.

Travel Burkina Faso – What to see and do in Burkina Faso

Banfora 

This is a small town, yet very basic. It’s a great place to spend a few days exploring sights surrounded by green countryside.

How to Get to Banfora – Rakieta Bus Company. Ticket costs 8000 CFA per person from Ouagadougou.

The journey takes about 7.5 hrs. A very comfortable coach with A/C and by far some of the most comfortable forms of transport we’ve taken in West Africa.

The small station for departure is near to the hotel we stayed in Ouagadougou.  There are a few departures each day.

Once we arrived in Banfora, we walked 3 min to our hotel, which was very conveniently located near the bus station. Canne and Sucre is one of the most popular hotels in town, yet affordable too.

There are different room types to choose from starting from 8500 CFA for a double in a basic room with a fan and a shared bathroom. These rooms are in a separate building, about a minute’s walk away.

The budget rooms here don’t get much air and they felt very tired and old.  We decided to upgrade a little and stay in the room with a private bathroom, A/C, and wifi, this costs 16,900 CFA per night, we were very happy here.

The hotel has a fantastic restaurant on the premises and we enjoyed some great food here each evening, as there are not many options around town.  I’d recommend ordering the beef brochettes (pieces of tender fillet beef on skewers) with sauteed potatoes in butter and garlic.

The hotel can arrange drivers for you to explore the area too. We arranged a day trip with a driver for the following day. The price depends on what sites you’d like to see.

Prices start from around 25,000 – 55,000 for the day trip, depending on how many sites you’d like to see. The price is always negotiable.

Sights to See in Banfora

Day trip Sindou peaks

Sindou Peaks (allow an extra 2000 CFA each to cover the entrance fee. This fee covers taking your camera and a guide to walk you around).

Baobab Tree (You need to pay 1000 CFA per person to the man that shows you inside the tree and gives you some information about it)

Waterfalls and Domes of Fabedougou – Both, waterfalls and the domes lie far from the Banfora main road and are therefore not reachable by public transport.

River visit – to see some hippos (hopefully).

Bobo-Dioulasso

This is Burkina Faso’s second-largest city, but it has the charm of a much smaller town. Tree-lined streets give this place a tropical feel, part of the reason why visitors tend to linger here longer than they planned.

Many travellers hire mopeds and explore the surrounding area by day and enjoy fantastic restaurants in Bobo in the evenings. Look forward to a happening live music scene here too.

Where to Stay in Bobo-Dioulasso 

Villa Bobo is the most popular and affordable place to stay in this city. A French owner keeps this place in great shape. Super clean rooms, a cute garden, a lovely veranda to relax, a pool, and decent wifi, it ticks all the boxes.

Rooms with fan – Single CFA 12,000 / Double CFA15,000. Rooms with A/C are available for an additional CFA 5000 per night.

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What do things cost in Burkina Faso?

As with travels in any country, the price of goods will depend on where you purchase them. Below gives you an idea of what things cost:

If you purchase from restaurants/cafes/hotel restaurants.

  • Beer – Brakina large bottle from 900 – 1500 CFA
  • Meal – In restaurant 2600-5000 CFA – Spaghetti, meat escalopes, brochettes (meat sticks) or rice and curry with a side of garlic butter potatoes, etc
  • Large Bottled Water – 500 CFA small shops, 1000 -1500 purchased from restaurants
  • Omelette – 1500 CFA
  • Coffee or Cappuccino (Nespresso) 1000-1500 in a nice place or restaurant
  • Espresso 700-1000 CFA in a nice place
  • Continental Breakfast 1800-2500 CFA

If you purchase from small shops/basic eateries

  • Meal – 1000 CFA
  • Espresso (good one) 200 CFA
  • Omelette 500 CFA
  • Baguettes 125 CFA
  • Boiled Eggs 100 CFA
  • Baguette with chicken stew inside 300 CFA
  • 5 green bananas (they’re good) 200 CFA

There are more sights to see when you travel Burkina Faso, unfortunately, we didn’t have any more time to spend here. It’s one of our favourite countries in West Africa so far.

This is mostly due to the warmth of the people, the pride they take in trying to keep their country clean and green and the feeling of being welcomed as visitors here is genuine.

Are you planning to travel to Burkina Faso? Was this travel guide to Burkina Faso useful? Let us know in the comments.

I recommend using Skyscanner to book the cheapest flights from surrounding African countries or abroad.

Travel Tips for Africa

We have many travel guides and tips for Africa – what a massive continent!

Have you ever wondered how many countries in Africa there are? 54 or 55? We cover them in depth in our ultimate Africa bucket list.

There is some delicious cuisine to be enjoyed across Africa, and these ten best African countries for food will inspire your food journey.

Check out how many of these 15 most popular foods you can taste.

If you’re wondering what they eat for breakfast in Africa, check out these 20 popular breakfast foods.

For food lovers, our Food Map of AFRICA lists the quintessential dish you need to eat in every nation!

It’s worth reading these 17 ESSENTIAL Things to know before travelling to West Africa, and our packing list for Africa may be helpful to you.

Don’t miss our recap of our travels across West Africa for even more helpful tips, and try these popular West African dishes; they’re fantastic!

You’ll need to stay connected while travelling in Africa. We recommend eSIM. It’s easy, reliable and affordable. View eSIMs for individual countries in Africa, or consider a regional eSIM for Africa (which covers 36 countries)

If your travels in Africa are part of a much larger global adventure, then a Global eSIM may be the answer. It connects you in 124 countries, offering data-only eSIM and data/call/text Global eSIM. This eSIM has been a game-changer for us, and we couldn’t imagine travelling without it now.

If you want to travel with like-minded travellers, consider joining a group tour. View the best deals on group tours in Africa.

Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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Travel Planning Resources

✈️ Flights: We use Skyscanner to book cheap flights worldwide.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.com is our preferred platform for booking hotels and accommodation. We use Vrbo to book apartments and long-term stays.

🏥 Travel Insurance: We recommend Heymondo (Get 5% off Heymondo) & SafetyWing

🚌 Transportation: Trainline is the best website to reserve trains. We use Omio to book transport worldwide. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. 

🚘 Car Rental: We use DiscoverCars to book rental cars worldwide.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures OR compare multi-day tours worldwide with Tourradar.

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only two platforms you need.

📚 Lonely Planet: The Best Range of Travel Guides & Ebooks, and FREE Shipping! (use code RACHELDAVEY10 for a 10% discount)

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range.

🛄 What to Pack: Don’t forget your Universal charger and a good power bank.  To help you pack the essentials, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

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✅ Check out our Travel Gear and Travel Resources for more valuable tips to save you money!

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