Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso Destinations Travel Guide


Language: French, regional languages

Currency: West African CFA franc (XOF)

Calling Code: 226


Burkina Faso is a state of West Africa that borders the northwest with Mali, the northeast with Niger, the south with Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Burkina Faso does not have access to the sea. It became independent from France on August 5, 1960. Government instability during the 1970s and 1980s was followed by multi-party elections in the early 1990s. Several hundred thousand rural workers migrate each year to Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana looking for work.
Formerly called the Republic of the Upper Volta, the country was renamed on August 4, 1984 by President Thomas Sankara, who considered the name of Upper Volta a legacy of French colonialism, alien to the history and national reality of the Voltaic / Burkinabe people. Burkina Faso means 'homeland of honest men', from the Mossi Burkina term, 'honest men', and from the diula faso voice, 'homeland'. According to the Constitution of Burkina Faso, "Faso is the republican form of the State", so there is no way "Republic of Burkina Faso" or "Republic of Burkina" to officially refer to this African country, but the name official is "Burkina Faso". Similarly, the head of state is called as "president of the Faso" (abbreviated, "PF"), instead of president of the Republic.


Travel Destinations in Burkina Faso

Loropéni are fairly well preserved ancient ruins lost in an African jungle of Burkina Faso.



Upper Volta was one of numerous African states that gained independence in 1960. Maurice Yaméogo became the first president. He was ousted from office in 1966 by Sangoulé Lamizana, who then ruled the country from 1970 as a civilian until 1980, through the great drought of the early 1970s. Four more coups followed before the country was renamed Burkina Faso in 1984. President Thomas Sankara was a communist. Serial vaccinations and afforestation should help the people. He is still considered the Che Guevara of Burkina. Compaoré became president after assassinating Sankara. When Compaoré tried to change the constitution for himself as president for life, the revolution and military coup ensued. Compaoré was flown into exile by the French military. You could arrest and convict your henchmen.





Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in central West Africa with an area of 267,950 km², of which 400 km² is water. It lies south of the Niger Arc and the Sahara and shares its 3193 km long land border with six neighboring countries; in the north-west and north with Mali (988 km long), in the east with Niger (628 km) and in the south-east with Benin (306 km) and Togo (126 km). Burkina Faso also borders Ghana (549 km) to the south and the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire, 584 km) to the south-west. Most of the country lies in the Sudan landscape, and Burkina Faso also shares part of the Sahel in the north.



About three-quarters of the country is shaped by a hull area that belongs to the lower central section of the Upper Guinea Rise. It is a gently undulating plateau, averaging about 250-350 meters above sea level, and is part of a Precambrian granite-gneiss shelf that formed about 2-3 billion years ago. About 32% (70,778 km²) of the country's area is on the central plateau (also called the Mossi plateau after its inhabitants). The landscape of the plateau is mostly flat with scattered hills, troughs, knolls, inselbergs and free-standing granite outcrops that have resisted erosion. A sandstone tableland characterizes the southwest of Burkina Faso, which reaches 749 m with the Tena Kourou, the highest mountain in the country. This massif, which is mainly in the form of a monotonous plateau, has an average height of 450 to 500 m, drops steeply to the bases covered with sediments and forms the Chaîne de Banfora ridge. This chain stretches in a northeast-southwest direction at an average elevation of 150 m. To the southeast is the Chaîne de Gobnangou, a massif that rises about 100 m above the central plateau. Quaternary formations mainly exist in the form of old dunes in the north of the country, which reach heights of up to 20 m and lengths of 10–20 km. 40% of the area north of Markoye is covered by dunes. The lowest point in the country is in the Oti river valley at 125 m.



Burkina Faso has a tropical changing climate, which is significantly influenced by the West African monsoon and the Harmattan trade wind. Due to the alternating influences of the monsoon and the harmattan, there is a distinct rainy and dry season in the course of the year.

From north to south, the country shares the different vegetation zones of the Sahel and Sudan. The former covers about 25% of the country's area and is characterized by drought; precipitation can fall below 300 mm per year, and the rainy season sometimes lasts less than two months. Half of the country is subject to the Sudan-Sahel climate, which is characterized by a rainy season lasting four to five months. The rainy season in the southern Sudan zone lasts about six months; Rainfall of up to 1300 mm per year is not uncommon here. Overall, an average of 165 km³ of precipitation falls in the country every year, of which only 9 km³ are drained.

The average temperatures range between 25 °C and 30 °C. The lowest temperature ever measured was 5 °C, in 1971 at Bobo-Dioulasso and 1975 in Markoye. The highest temperature ever measured in the country was also recorded there at 46 °C. March and April are the hottest months, while January and December are the coldest. In the rainy season, warm, humid winds blow across the country from the south-west, while in winter the hot, dry harmattan sand and dust from the Sahara blow south-west. Some climatic changes have been observed over the past 35 years, including a decrease in precipitation and an increase in temperature. Extreme climate phenomena such as major droughts and floods have also increased in recent decades.


Bodies of water

Running water

The watercourses in Burkina Faso can be classified into three basins. Of these, the Volta Basin is the most important with an area of around 180,000 km². It includes the Mouhoun (Black Volta), the Nakambé (White Volta) and the Pendjari (Oti) basins, occupying about 2/3 of the country's surface. In northern Ghana, the Mouhoun receives the water from the tributaries mentioned and the Nazinon (Red Volta). With an area of 18,000 km², the Comoé basin, whose course is interrupted by rapids and waterfalls (such as the Cascades de Karfiguéla), is much smaller. The 77,000 km² large drainage system of the Niger Basin includes the small temporary watercourses that flow into it on the right in northern Burkina Faso (including Béli, Gorouol and Sirba).


Still waters

Many of the numerous small lakes and pools with no outflow, including the Mare d'Oursi Ramsar Conservation Area, are seasonally dry. They represent important water reservoirs for humans and animals. The two largest natural lakes in Burkina Faso, Lake Bam and Lake Demsee, are about 100 km north of Ouagadougou. Numerous rivers were dammed to form lakes, such as the Kompienga reservoir in the south-east and the Bagré reservoir in the south, both of which drive a storage power plant. The Sourou was dammed in the north-west, while the Ziga reservoir has been supplying the western capital with water since July 2004. Altogether there are 2100 reservoirs in Burkina Faso with a storage capacity of 4.6 km³.



2,067 species of higher plants are known in Burkina Faso, with the grasses and legumes accounting for the largest share. Numerous wild plants are used as raw materials, animal feed, food or medicine. Particularly important useful trees are, for example, shea tree, African baobab tree (baobab) and néré, but also ana tree, neem tree, Ethiopian palmyra palm and tamarind tree. In the course of changes in use and climate change, the range of many Sahelian species is shifting towards the south.

Burkina Faso comprises three phytogeographical zones belonging to the Sudano-Zambese savannah belt; Sahel in the north, Sudan in the center and Sudan-Guinea in the south. The distinction is based, among other things, on the lower rainfall (less than 600 mm of rainfall per year) and the longer dry season in the north. In the Sahel, thornbush savannahs are predominant – in part with tiger bush vegetation, which is a form of drought adaptation. Trees usually grow singly, sometimes grouped into groves. Predominant species include Verek acacia, fragrant acacia, desert date, Indian jujube and the African baobab tree, which is characteristic of the Sahel.

The Sudan zone, characterized by precipitation in the range between 600 mm and 1000 mm per year, is characterized like the Sahel by acacia and thorn plants, but differs among other things by the appearance of other species such as néré, shea tree and above all wing seed plants as the dominant element of the Sudanese savannas. Tree density increases towards the south, forming isolated groves, forests and gallery forests along the rivers. In the densely populated areas of the central plateau, savannah landscapes degraded by human influence dominate. In terms of species and abundance, the herbaceous layer consists largely of grasses, with the proportion of tall and perennial species increasing towards the south.

Rainfall over 1000 mm per year is common in the Sudan-Guinea zone. The Guinea plum, among others, joins the species that are also native to the more northern zones. Species such as broad-leaved fig, West African butter tree, oil palm or Mucuna are found in the gallery forests. Plants that prefer warm, humid climates thrive in the gallery forests.



Most of the large mammals that live in the savannas can also be found in Burkina Faso, but there they are threatened by the enormous population pressure in their habitats. Some animal species, such as giraffes and cheetahs, are no longer found in the country. Hippos, elephants, antelopes, monkeys, gazelles and leopards live in the sanctuaries and have been decimated by hunting. There are African bush rats and snakes. 495 bird species have been documented in the country, including the African ostrich, several species of stork, around 50 different birds of prey, hornbills, kingfishers and bee-eaters. Crocodiles live in the lakes and mares and are particularly revered by the population as "sacred crocodiles". There are bans on hunting for certain animal species.

The nature reserves in Burkina Faso include four national parks. The Arly National Park, like the Burkinabe part of the W National Park, is in the southeast, the Kaboré-Tambi National Park in the south and the Deux Balés National Park in the west of the country. There are also a UNESCO biosphere reserve Mare aux Hippopotames and a Ramsar protected area Mare d'Oursi as well as numerous protected areas called réserves and forêts classés.

The climate change that has been observed in Burkina Faso for about 35 years, the consequences of which are reflected in falling precipitation and higher temperatures, as well as the bush fires, deforestation and soil depletion started by farmers to develop arable land are reasons for increasing desertification, starting from the Sahelian north of the country. In 1984, the Plan national de lutte contre la désertification (PNLD) was drawn up with the aim of protecting the natural spaces that are still intact, combating the practice of bush fires, improving the quality of the soil and organizing reforestation programs. Around 23 million trees were planted for this purpose between 1996 and 2000 alone. There was a refrain from creating pure eucalyptus plantations, as happened in the 1960s, when the aim was to get trees for firewood relatively quickly. Supported by the search engine Ecosia, more than 14 million trees have been planted on over 14,000 hectares of land that has become barren since 2014 in cooperation with the local population. In addition, native and endangered tree species were selected, such as Balanitas aegyptica, Ziziphus mauritiana, Acacia nilotica and raddiana, Maerua crassifolia.

The severe storms that caused flooding in numerous West African countries during the rainy season of 2007 also caused damage in Burkina Faso. About 9,000 houses were destroyed and 28,000 people were left homeless, 51 people died. Numerous roads and bridges were damaged and crops destroyed; the crop failure is estimated at 13,268 tons.




Population growth is around three percent per year. The number of births per woman was statistically 5.0 in 2020 and has been steadily declining since its peak of 7.17 in 1983. The child mortality rate in 2020 was estimated at 52 out of 1000 births (compared to Germany: 4 out of 1000). The life expectancy of the residents of Burkina Faso from birth was 62 years in 2020 (women: 62.7, men: 61.1). Due to the low life expectancy and high birth rates, there is a high proportion of young people in the total population. According to the UN's average population forecast for 2050, the population is expected to be over 43 million.

population structure
The most numerous ethnic group are the Mossi (40%), whose ancestors immigrated from the south around the 15th century and over time assimilated with the long-established inhabitants, including the Yonyoose. As a result, this mixture of autochthonous groups (called tẽng-biisi) and conquerors (nakombse) developed an ethnic identity with the Moogo naaba as the spiritual leader through a common language, founding myths, rituals and hierarchically organized power structures and today has a dominant political role in Burkina Faso inside. Closely related to them are the Gulmancema (8% of the population) living in the east. According to the founding myth of both peoples, the respective progenitors - Ouédraogo among the Mossi and Diaba Lompo among the Gulmancema - come from the same family. Another population group are the Fulbe (5%), who mainly settle in the north, but as cattle-raising nomads can be found throughout the country. They originally come from the Fouta Toro in what is now Senegal. The Tuareg (7%) also live nomadic lives in the far north, in the Sahel. Linguistically closely related are the Bissa living in the south and the Sanan living in the northwest. The southwest of the country is ethnically less homogeneous; In addition to the Bobo (14%), Senufo (9%), Lobi (6%) and Bwaba, numerous smaller ethnic groups live there. The ethnic groups formerly grouped under the term Gurunsi include the Kassena, Nuna, and Lyéla. The traditional joking relationships (parenté à plaisanterie) between the different groups make an important contribution to peaceful coexistence: Certain ethnic groups are allowed to mock one another according to set rules, for example Mossi and Sanan or Fulbe and Bobo.

Around 3,200 French live permanently in Burkina Faso, plus around 20,000 who are temporarily in the country, among other things as part of development cooperation projects. The economically important Lebanese community has around 600 members.



A total of 68 different languages and idioms are spoken in Burkina Faso. With independence, the language of the former colonial rulers, French, became the sole official language. Although its importance continues to increase, it is only controlled by a minority. That is why literacy courses are held for those who have never attended primary school, including in the national languages Mòoré (language of the Mossi), Dioula, and Fulfulde (language of the Fulbe). Dioula is of great importance as a lingua franca and commercial language in the linguistically heterogeneous western part of the country. Arabic also has a function as a commercial language and is taught at Koran schools, among other places. Other languages include the Tuareg and the numerous Niger-Congo languages that make up the majority of the languages spoken in the country, including the Mande languages Bissa, San and Boboda, the Gur languages Gulmancema, Lobiri, Koromfe and Bwamu, and the numerous Gurunsi -Languages.



The importance of the traditional religions of the individual ethnic groups has been able to hold up to this day more than in other countries, so around 15.3% of Burkinabe followers of an African religion. This is mainly due to the fact that the Mossi resisted Islamization from the north for a long time. In the traditional Mossi belief, there is a god Wande who created the universe and subsequently withdrew from humans. As intermediaries, various spirits subsequently settled in various places, in objects and animals. Ancestor worship is very important to the Mossi. It was only at the end of the 18th century that Moogo naaba Doulgou converted to Islam.

At 60.5%, more than half of Burkinabe are Muslims today. To this day, an undogmatic, pragmatic variant of Islam is lived in the country, which incorporates elements of traditional religions, including a dodo, originally a ritual masked dance during the Muslim month of fasting Ramadan, which is now performed by boys for entertainment and in front of spectators. As a result of intensive missions, Islam is in constant growth. The collective association of Burkinabe Muslims is the Communauté musulmane du Burkina Faso (CMBF), founded in 1962.

The number of Christians is given as 23.2%, in the majority Catholics (19%) and members of various Protestant faiths (4.2%). The small Lebanese community is 90% Christian. There are 13 Catholic dioceses, three of which are archdioceses, which are organized in the Bishops' Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger. Archbishop of Ouagadougou is Philippe Ouédraogo.

With the exception of the Fulbe, who mainly live in the north, the ethnic groups are religiously heterogeneous. Above all, the capital Ouagadougou is religiously mixed, while the economic metropolis Bobo-Dioulasso is mostly Muslim.



According to the 2006 census, 13,730,258 people live in Burkina Faso, 20.3% of them in urban settlements. From 1975 on there was a rapidly increasing urbanization of the population; At that time, only 6.4% of Burkinabe's urban residents had doubled to 12.7% within ten years. Despite this increase, the degree of urbanization is lower than in countries such as Senegal or Ivory Coast (47% and 50% respectively). The primary destination of the largely young rural population, who see no prospects in their villages, is the capital Ouagadougou, whose population has more than doubled in recent years and which, with a share of 50% of the total population, is under 20 years old city is. The second largest agglomeration is the economic metropolis Bobo-Dioulasso in the west of the country. In order to slow down the influx into these two cities, attempts have been made since the late 1980s to upgrade the infrastructure of less large cities.