Travel Guide: Ouagadougou

Posted on by Chad F.

Translated from the local Moore dialect, the name means, “You are welcome here at home with us”. With more than 2.5 million residents, Ouagadougou (pronounced wa-ga-doo-goo) is the country’s administrative, cultural, economic, and communication center. The nightlife and live music scenes are one of the best in Burkina Faso. A relatively safe city, feel free to go out and explore the sites.

Things To See And Do

Photo of la Grande Mosque by Hugues | CC BY 2.0

This city is not a big tourist center, but there are several museums, yearly festivals, and a few interesting attractions to explore.

  • National Museum of Music: the museum’s collection of musical instruments is constantly growing with one-of-a-kind items from each of the country’s 60+ ethnic groups. Instruments include aerophones, chordophones, membranophones, and idiophones which can be up to 200 years old.
  • The Grand Mosque: this mosque is surrounded by a bustling market. Explore both and enjoy the chaos.
  • Mora-Naba Palace: home to the Mossi Chief. The palace is a modest building but if you visit at 7 am on Fridays, there is an interesting public ceremony worth watching.
  • International Arts & Crafts Fair: held every other year in late October to promote African handicrafts – jewelry, artwork, pottery, and ceramics. One of the largest trade shows in all of Africa.
  • Waga Hip Hop and Jazz Festivals: these festivals are held in early October and May, respectively, and welcome many international artists to attend and perform.

Places to Eat

The cuisine in Ouagadougou is exceptional and remarkable. Thanks to foreign influences, there is a strong mixture of local and international dishes in most restaurants. Consider, also, visiting a few neighborhood grocery stores and eateries.

  • Le Foret: this restaurant has tasty and inexpensive African food, including recipes from nearby Senegal. Most meals can be purchased for $5-6 American.
  • Le Verdoyant: located near the downtown roundabout, this casual eatery offers pasta and pizza and caters to foreign visitors and expats. Inexpensive, the pizza starts at $12 American.
  • Chez Tonti: offering Burkinabe food, this is one of the least expensive places in town. Just $2 American will get you a bowl of rice and sauce.
  • Pavillon Vert: this restaurant is connected to a hotel and offers nice food at a decent price. It is convenient if you’re staying at the hotel, too.

Where To Stay

Because the tourist industry hasn’t invaded the city yet, there is a wide variety of hotels and inns. All of which are a good value and relatively inexpensive.

  • Case d’Hotes: a beautiful hotel which offers Wifi and only slightly more expensive at $30 American a night.
  • Pavillon Vert: an outstanding value at only $15 a night for a private room with a fan. This hotel offers free wifi and tourist information. An attached restaurant has reasonable prices as well.

Ouagadougou is located in the center of Burkina Faso with public transportation to nearly all areas of the country. After visiting this capital city, be adventurous and consider exploring the rest of the region too. If you find yourself coming up a little short during your trip, and you need someone back home in the US to send you some extra money fast, you can always use the help of Sharemoney.

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