Sure, there are security issues in Burkina Faso, and some governments have travel warnings against this West African nation, but those who want to explore less-traveled destinations should include it in their list. Why so? It has a mishmash of attractions, both natural and man-made, that will impress tourists.
Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Incorruptible People,” is a landlocked nation bordered by also less-traveled Togo, Ghana, Benin, and Ivory Coast. Its countryside landscape and river valleys work together to give tourists a wonderful tropical escape. Burkina Faso might not be on the radar of most travelers, but adventurous ones who plan to visit it will have unique stories to tell.
The capital Ouagadougou, or Ouaga as locals call it, is a bustling arts and crafts hub teeming with sightseeing attractions. Lovers of souvenirs will enjoy exploring its market and crafts stores.
History buffs, meanwhile, can busy themselves learning about its culture and history at the National Museum, parks, memorials, and the music museum.
Tourists should not miss the Moro-Naba Palace, where they can watch a Friday ritual headed by ethnic leaders. Ouaga knows how to wow travelers with varied interests.
9 Cour Royale de Tiébélé
In the province of Nahouri, there’s a commune that’s famous among tourists because, aside from its hospitality, it’s a homey place. Cour Royale de Tiébélé is the residence of around 450 members of the Kassena ethnic group.
What makes this community unique is the traditional houses painted with various designs.
With a guide, visitors of Tiébélé will learn why the homes are painted, and they will even have a chance to enter some houses to meet friendly locals. This village is a must-see artwork.
8 Grand Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso
The city of Bobo-Dioulasso is home to the Grand Mosque, a stunning feat of mud architecture. It has been serving the community since the 1890s and impressing tourists from all walks of life.
Its towers with wooden struts look iconic, and the mosque welcomes travelers who want to see not just its facade but its interiors.
A guide will take guests inside the building until they reach the terrace, where they can take in the expansive views of the towers and the area. The mosque is grand, indeed.
7 Niansogoni Village
If tourists want to visit another village but this time without residents, Niansogoni awaits. This abandoned community near a cliff dates back to the 14th century and was filled with residents who wanted to be safe from tribal wars.
It is now considered by locals as a sacred place where they sometimes do ceremonies. The area can be explored by tourists and their guide will take them to former granaries and abodes that look like beehives.
Visiting Niansogoni Village is perfect for trekkers who want to step back in time.
6 Sindou Peaks
Those visiting Burkina Faso for journeys with Mother Nature’s best offers should head to Sindou Peaks. This geological wonder is often recommended by guides for first-time visitors because it’s an easy hike yet delivers great views.
While hiking, tourists will have stunning views of towering cones and uniquely shaped sandstone formations, all the while being in the presence of the welcoming landscape.
The guide will share stories about this destination, but tourists should focus on listening as the sunset might tempt them to be lost in the midst of beauty.
5 Nazinga Game Ranch
The Nazinga Game Ranch has been through many ups and downs. It was created to reintroduce wildlife to a threatened savannah but, later on, fell victim to poachers. However, conservation efforts were intensified, and the protected area is now home to around 800 elephants, so seeing them is guaranteed.
Aside from the gentle giants, wildlife watchers can also check out birds, primates, and other mammals in this humble Burkina Faso attraction. From the savannah to the lakeside, Nazinga Game Ranch means business.
4 Domes de Fabedougou
Located in the city of Banfora, the alluring Domes de Fabedougou is a quirky place filled with limestone formations. This geological attraction is a product of erosion and water working together to create a masterpiece thousands of years ago.
These rocks stood the test of time, literally, so tourists should not miss checking them out. There are tall spires and small ones, and wherever trekkers strike a pose for a photo, the Domes de Fabedougou is a perfect background. This destination rocks!
3 Cascades de Karfiguela
After a trek in Domes de Fabedougou, tourists can also head to nearby Cascades de Karfiguéla for a quick dip. Though the journey there might be taxing due to dirt tracks, travelers will be rewarded by the stunning view of the waterfalls.
Add the calming scenery of the Komoé River, and a trip to this waterway is always worth it. Banfora is proud of this relaxing destination where swimming means communing with Mother Nature.
It might not be as grand as Victoria Falls, but it’s easy to fall in love with Cascades de Karfiguela.
2 Arli National Park
Those who want more Burkinabe wildlife must have an adventure in Arli National Park. This reserve, alongside the national parks of Pendjari (Benin) and W (Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger), is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arli has a lush landscape, making it a paradise for elephants, primates, hippopotamuses, antelopes, lions, buffalo, warthogs, and birds.
The forest, rivers, hills, sandstones, and grasslands create an oasis for animals and weary travelers. Exploring nature has never been this good.
1 Other World Heritage Sites
Aside from Arli, Burkina Faso has two other World Heritage Sites. Its first landmark to be designated as such is the Ruins of Loropéni, where well-preserved stone walls of a former fortress stand.
The other heritage sites are scattered in many towns and are collectively known as the Ancient Ferrous Metallurgy Sites of Burkina Faso.
The ones in Doroula are the oldest (around the 8th century BCE). The ancient furnaces still stand strong, waiting for tourists who want to step back in time.