Key Country Facts
Burkina Faso used to be known as Upper Volta until it gained independence from France in 1960, after which the name was changed. Burkina Faso translates roughly to [the] “land of honest people” or the “land of incorruptible people.”
The capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou. About 18.11 million people live here (2015) and the official language is French. Burkina Faso is religiously diverse and exercises freedom of religion; that being said, Islam is the most popular religion followed by Roman Catholicism. The top exports are gold, raw cotton, oily seeds, brazil nuts, coconuts, cashews, and raw zinc. The time zone is 4 hours ahead of EST.
In Ouagadougou, check out the busy markets, where it’s easy to find just about anything imaginable. The area can be very crowded and is not as touristy as what travelers may be used to in marketplaces in other countries, so it is important to be aware that vendors will approach foreigners often and to explore the area with a confident attitude. The textiles in particular are known to be very beautiful, so take a look at one of these shops or stalls if passing by.
Another great place to visit is the Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso, a peculiar looking architectural feat with a fascinating history. Pay the extra fee to get a guided tour, as there’s a lot of information that can be learned about this site, and tour guides will often take visitors up onto the rooftop for a view of the surrounding area.
Learned an important lesson while traveling: make sure you travel with multiple visa/ master card credit cards. Got a message from Lifelock that my identity was likely compromised in the past few days when someone at one my hotels used the info I provided at check-in to open a new account. If your identity gets stolen while traveling and your credit account has to be closed its critical to have a back up card or two. Few hotels or merchants accept Amex in Africa or Pacific region countries.
Not much to see or do in Ouagadougou, Burkina’s capital. Took a stroll through the market place and of all that I’ve been to Burkina Faso’s has to rate as the most annoying on the planet. The vendors are relentlessly pesky and don’t take “no thanks I’m not interested in your X-Small cleaning bucket” as an adequate response. If you dare to look at a shirt they’ll hand you 20! Wow!
The best part of my journey was visiting the sacred crocodiles in Bazoule, small farming village about 1 hour outside the capital. [vid]