Burkina Faso Guide

Burkina Faso Guide

Burkina Faso (country of honest people) is a landlocked state in West Africa. Common borders with Mali – in the north, with Niger – in the east, with Benin – in the southeast, with Togo, Ghana – in the south and with Côte d’Ivoire – in the southwest.

The capital is Ouagadougou. The official language is French. Currency – franc.

Forests occupy 10% of the country’s territory. The relief is a wavy plateau with rare low hills up to 500 meters high. In the southwest – mountains up to 747 m.

The climate is subequatorial, characterized by the presence of three main seasons: a cool dry season lasts from November to March, a hot dry season from March to May, and a hot humid season the rest of the year. The largest rivers are the Black Volta, the White Volta. Harmful insects include malarial mosquitoes, tsetse flies, termites and locusts.

The poorest country in Central Africa. Former French colony of Upper Volta. Independence was proclaimed on August 5, 1960. A series of putschs threw the country from military to civilian rule. Burkina Faso received its current name, “country of honest people”, in August 1984. Since the late 1960s, Burkina Faso has become a kind of cultural center of Africa.

Country data

Location: West Africa

Time zone: CET – 1 (during summer time: CET – 2)

Total area: 274,200 km²

Land area: 273,800 km²

Water area: 400 km²

Length of the state border: 3,193 km

Bordering countries:
Benin: 306 km
Ivory Coast / Côte d’Ivoire: 584 km
Ghana: 549 km
Mali: 1,000 km
Niger: 628 km
Togo: 126 km

Coastline: 0 km

Capital: Ouagadougou

Regions: 13
Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Center, Center-Est, Center-Nord, Center-Ouest, Center-Sud, Est, Hauts-Bassins, Nord, Plateau-Central, Sahel, Sud-Ouest

Telephone code: 00 226 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Tena Kourou 749 m


Population: approx. 18.4 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 3% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 67

Life expectancy: 53 (male), 57 (female)

Official language: French


  • 60% Muslim
  • 19% Catholic
  • 4% Protestants
  • 17% other


In the tropical climate it is dry and cold from November to March, dry and hot from March to May and hot and humid from May to November.

Most of the rain falls in the summer time, with the southwest of the country having a high rainfall rate, which decreases towards the northeast.

Burkina Faso

The best travel time is from December to March.

Currency / finance

Currency unit: CFA franc (XOF)

Classification: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes

ATMs: not available

International credit cards: are only accepted in very large hotels or in individual banks in the capital.

Regulations: The national currency may be imported and exported in unlimited amounts. The import of foreign currencies is permitted in unlimited amounts. The export of all currencies only in the amount of the declared import.

When entering and leaving the country, all funds (foreign and national currency) you are carrying must be declared.

When exchanging money, you should always be given the smallest possible notes and coins.

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 250 g tobacco
  • 1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of spirits
  • small amounts of perfume

(Information applies to people aged 18 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free.

Export duty must be paid when taking works of art. This applies above all to traditional work (masks, dance jewelry, furniture, clothing, musical instruments).

To import weapons (e.g. sporting rifles) you need a gun license, which must be issued in the country of origin.

Travel advice

We warn against traveling to the following provinces / regions:

  • Comoe (west of Banfora and Niangoloko)
  • Houet (west of Bobo-Dioulasso)
  • Kenedougou
  • Kossi
  • Loroum
  • Oudalan and Seno
  • Sorou
  • Soum
  • Yatenga
  • the border area with Mali
  • the Sahel region in the north

We do not recommend any other trips to Burkina Faso that are not absolutely necessary.

A terrorist attack was carried out in the capital Ouagadougou on January 15, 2016, in which numerous people were killed or seriously injured. Including many foreigners.

If trips through the country are absolutely necessary, they should only be carried out with an armed escort, if possible.

Travel to the nature reserve -W- is not recommended. The risk of an armed robbery is particularly high here.

Behavioral advice

Photography is prohibited in many buildings. These are, for example: military and police facilities, airfields, train stations, cemeteries and the presidential palace.

In the rainy season, many roads are not passable or are badly damaged. Corresponding time delays should be taken into account when traveling.


Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries on earth. The reasons for this are the country’s poverty and the very unfavorable climatic conditions. The consequence of this is that agriculture only delivers very low yields.

Furthermore, there are hardly any raw materials that can be extracted profitably.

Industries: gold mining, agriculture

Natural resources: gold

Land use:

  • Land: 13%
  • Grain cultivation: 0%
  • Pasture area: 22%
  • Forests: 50%
  • other: 15%


Most of the land, which suffers from constant drought, consists of thorn savannahs with loose trees, bush landscapes and semi-deserts.

Towards the south, the flora changes over grass savannahs into forest areas.


The rich animal population includes mainly antelopes, buffalo, elephants, hippos and crocodiles.

The tsetse and simulium flies, which are the main carriers of sleeping sickness and river blindness, live near water.

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