Ouagadougou

Ouagadougou (pronounced: WA-ga-DOO-goo) is the capital of Burkina Faso and the nation's cultural & economic centre. Its name is informally shortened to Ouaga (pronounced: WA-ga).

Understand

The dominant ethnicity is Mossi (60%), but many other tribes are also represented (Samo, Gourounsi, Lobi, etc).

Languages spoken: French, Moore, some Jula (derivative of Bambara).

The primary language spoken by the general population is Moore. However, many merchants, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and restaurant and hotel staff will speak at least some French. In the nicer parts of town, most people will speak excellent French. Some people will speak English, but if someone approaches you in that language, be careful - there's a good chance they might be a con-man.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 32.2 36.3 38.4 39.1 37.3 34.3 31.8 30.9 32 35.4 35.9 33.6
Nightly lows (°C) 16.1 19.1 23 25.7 25.5 23.9 22.4 21.9 21.9 22.5 19.2 16.7
Precipitation (mm) 0 2 5 23 71 110 176 227 139 33 1 1

Source: Climate-Data.org

Its climate is classified as hot semi-arid (BSh) with the rainy season from June to September. Daytime temperatures are hot all the year, but are hottest from February to May.

Get in

Place des cineastes in Ouagadougou

By plane

Ouagadougou International Airport is the main gateway and is located to the immediate south of city centre, distance from the airport to the United Nations roundabout is less then two kilometres. The airport is quite small like many African airports somewhat disorganized. National carrier Air Burkina has flights most West African capitals as well as Paris, from where Air France also offers daily service. The other European capital with scheduled flights is Brussels via Brussels Airlines. Other popular connections includes East African cities of Nairobi and Addis Ababa. Some of the best fares from Europe as of June 2015 seem to be with Turkish Airlines.

A shared taxi, the green ones, to city centre should cost no more than XOF500, but be aware that many will ask for up to XOF1,000.

By train

A twice weekly train operated by SITARAIL runs from the Ivorian capital Abidjan via Bobo-Dioulasso. First and second class carriages are avalible, the journey is supposed to take 36h but trains are often much delayed. Tickets are open for purchase a day before departure at the train station.

Ouagadougou's Gare de Centrale is located downtown just off Avenue de la Nation.

By bus

There are plenty of bus operators serving Ouagadougou but there's no central bus station, each operator has it's own depot.

Transport Confort Voyageurs, on Rue de la Mosquée is one of the largest bus companies in town with connections from most regional cities as well as the neighbouring capitals. Other operators includes STMB and SOTRAO.

Get around

Cathedral

Ougadougou is a very orderly and clean city, and the traffic is very civilized. The city has a grid-based street system. There are traffic lights everywhere and motorists actually obey them. The people here are proud of their country and create a good impression.

By taxi

Ouagadougou is serviced by two types of taxi: white and green. White taxis are rarer, more expensive, and exclusive. Green taxis are ubiquitous and of much lower quality, but are much cheaper to use. As there are no meters, all fees for all taxis are negotiated in advance, and you should not enter a taxi until you and the driver have agreed upon a price.

The small green taxi cabs should cost no more than XOF300 per person during the day for straight runs on main roads. Fees increase with distance or with departures from the main routes. Be prepared to share the cab with as many people as can be crammed in, or to pay a premium rate. Cabbies may attempt to charge foreigners far more. If you have a lot of baggage, expect to pay more as well.

Prices go up at night especially to the city center (centreville). You should never pay more than XOF1,500 per person, and this is negotiable if you have a lot of people in your group to share the cab.

Travel to and from the airport is always expensive, even if you are only going a short distance. Expect a minimum of XOF1,500, and do not be surprised at asking prices in excess of XOF5,000. Be firm, and you can negotiate the price considerably downward.

Although Ouagadougou is generally a very safe city, maintain the same caution that you would in any urban environment: only use green or white cabs, don't accept rides from drivers that appear to be drunk or who have cars that appear unsafe, and know that whites, obvious tourists, people with many bags, and people seeking rides at unusual hours are all at a higher risk of theft and other crimes.

See

Place des Nations Unies (United Nations Square)

Outside city centre

Do

Monument des martyres

Buy

La maison du peuple (People's house).

Groceries:

Bookstores:

Tailors:

Film developing:

Money:

Eat

Most larger cafés have food in the afternoons and evenings, but here are a few notables from the recommendations of Bobo Stage Goers and others:

African

Indian

Italian

Middle Eastern

Chinese

American

Vietnamese

French

Street food and snacks

Palais Kosyamthe presidential palace.

All usually c. XOF250 CFA per plate on the street, depending on quantity or if there is meat: Rice and Beans (Benga), Rice and Sauce (Riz Sauce), To and sauce, Atteike, Spaghetti, Rice and tomato sauce (Riz Gras), Snacks- Peanuts and dates everywhere, semi-easy to find dried mangoes.

Drink

There are many bars.

Sleep

Budget

Mid range

Youth Inn

Connect

Post Office:

Internet

Stay safe

Loads of touts, purse snatchers and faux types at the Grand Marche. Don't go without local assistance.

If you are a foreign woman, don't tell anyone (except trusted friends) where you are staying unless you want everyone you meet to show up at your hotel or home.

When travelling, take the STMB buses: they drive slowly, but safely. SOGEBAF has the most crashes.

Cope

Embassies

BBC World Service radio broadcast in English and French in Ouagadougou on 99.2MHz FM.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, July 06, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.