This landlocked country in West Africa, bordered by troubled Mali to the north and Niger in the east, may not be on many people’s bucket list at the moment because of the current situation prevailing in the area, but Burkina Faso should definitely make it to a traveler’s list of places to visit. Previously known as Upper Volta because of the three rivers that cross it, Burkina Faso may not be big on tourist attractions but the landscape more than makes up for it. Although a relatively flat country, the southwest has a beautiful sandstone massif with its highest point, Mount Tenakouro, standing tall at 749 meters bordered by steep cliffs which rise up to 150 meters. Four national parks protect the wildlife of the country, which has a much larger elephant population than many of the other West African nations.
Burkina Faso is divided into 13 administrative regions consisting of 45 provinces with the city of Ouagadougou as its capital. French is the official language of this multilingual nation which has over 69 languages. 40% of the Burkinabé also speak the Mossi language. Its two largest cities Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso are fairly well developed with shiny new buildings and a good public transport system as compared to other parts of the country. Most of the Burkinabé inhabit the over 8,000 villages spread throughout the country. The architecture of the region ranges from straw huts of the Fulbe to the Tuareg tents and the adobe brick huts that the Mossi and Bisa occupy.
Music is a very big part of the people’s lives in Burkina Faso and so are other cultural activities that are evident in the cultural centers in Ouagadougou. Although the country may appear to be a little backward because of its lack of infrastructure there is no denying the genuine warmth that its people exude. Burkina Faso used to be a land that welcomed visitors with open arms.