Ouagadougou : The Administrative Center of Burkina Faso that Is Sprawling with Lively Street Markets

Ouagadougou is the administrative capital of Burkina Faso. It is also the largest city having a population of slightly above 2 million people according to a 2015 census that was conducted. This African city thrives with lively markets and various arts and entertainment spots that are loved by visiting tourists. Despite it not having many sightseeing opportunities for tourists, there are some time worthy places to visit such as those listed below.

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Ouagadougou : The Administrative Center of Burkina Faso that Is Sprawling with Lively Street Markets:table of contents

1. Village Artisanal de Ouagadougou

The Artisanal Village of Ouagadougou is an area hosting over 500 craftsmen. The area has over 50 workshops with 25 different trades. This is the place you visit on your last day in Ouagadougou so you are able to buy the best souvenirs as well as gauge the pricing as you have been exposed to so much. You can also try to negotiate with the artisans since they have a habit of overpricing merchandise for tourists. It can be complicated by maintaining communication as the artisans speak French making it a communication barrier.

2. Laongo Sculpture Symposium

Laongo Sculpture Symposium is a collaborative work between artists of Burkina Faso and other artists around the world. These artists create amazing sculptures in the garden using boulders then leaving them in their original setting. The initiative is government funded showing the efforts made to boost creativity in the area. Entrance to the area is charged at 2500 CFA per person which is reasonable for giving back to these dedicated artists. Since there are little shade areas, it is advisable to carry an umbrella or a hat if you are sun sensitive, also some drinking water as there is no shop nearby to purchase some.

3. Reserve de Nazinga

Reserve de Nazinga is a Canadian funded game reserve in Ouagadougou primarily focusing on the wellbeing of elephants. The area provides some of the best bush experience you are to experience within the territories. There are other wild animals found within the park but sightseeing is felt complete after spotting some elephants. Since the place is remote, you will need private transportation to the reserve. The ideal time to visit is during the dry season when the grass is short and the elephants come out to find the water holes. Although they can be quite aggressive, you are advised to stay out of their way to avoid conflict.

4. Ouagadougou Central Mosque

Photo by hu.wikipedia.org

Ouagadougou Central Mosque is an outstanding landmark of the area. The architecture features some traditional African elements as well as modern elements. It may not be as beautiful as the Bobo Dioulasso grand mosque but it brings out its own charm. The grounds are an ideal place to learn about the local spiritual life as well as the mosque’s contribution towards alienating poverty levels within Ouagadougou through charity donation. The place is also considered to be the busiest of the region. As you go sightseeing, note that you need permission to take photographs.

5. Ouagadougou Central Market

It is sad to believe that a fire destroyed the Ouagadougou central market in 2003. The market has however risen to be amazing housing various forms of foodstuffs, handcrafts and other forms of souvenirs getting main support from the government. This closed outdoor market is an ideal place to go street shopping while in Ouagadougou. Some of the interesting things you can find at the market are the batik, masks and traditional jewelry which are popular with visitors new to the city. Despite entrance being free, all receipts collected after trade should be kept to show proof of purchase upon leaving the market.

6. Cathedral of Ouagadougou

Cathedral of Ouagadougou is an impressive church within Ouagadougou that has interesting architecture on the outside. The red color makes it stand out although not as outstanding as European churches. Since its construction in 1934, the place has been well maintained with a nice perimeter wall. If you are of Christian faith and wish to join others in worship, this is the best place in Ouagadougou. Since they do nothing to please the tourists, you will find the place in its natural state. There are no entry fees to explore the church.

7. Manega Bendrologie Museum

Manega Bendrologie Museum is the most interactive museum you are bound to find in Ouagadougou. It is located in the village of Manega which has various items on display on the grounds such as gigantic sculptures, gravestones, giant masks, and various sacred places. The mask collection is huge covering over 500 specimens of interesting masks highlighting the 3 top most important. There is also the reconstruction of some traditional habitats belonging to the native tribes. One of the most interesting experiences is the pavilion of death which is not to be missed. Visitors are expected to walk barefoot and naked as they walk backward.

8. Sitarail

Photo by commons.wikimedia.org

Sitarail is the official train station for Ouagadougou. Most tourists try to sample this old train by taking a trip to Ouaga-Bobo which takes 7 hours since the trains are slow. The famous sightseeing spot of Ouagadougou, Bobo Durasso is part of the treat during the trip. The train does not travel on the daily hence you should confirm schedules. The journey will be a new experience especially if you have never been on such a train. As long as your adventure spirit kicks in, you can extend the trip to Abidjan.

9. Fespaco

Fespaco is a pan African film and tv festival hosted in Ouagadougou that is usually held once every two years. Fespaco began in 1969 and has continued to face support from Senegal. Fespaco is an interesting place to learn more about the film and television industry in Ouagadougou. Since it is modeled like the Cannes film festival, most of the structure follows a similar type of protocol. If you wish to go sightseeing at the time of the festival, you need to confirm the official dates on their website.

10. National Museum of Music

National Museum of music of Ouagadougou is housed in a two-story building. It is located on the southern side on Phillipe Zinda. The music museum is home to some antique musical instruments of Ouagadougou that range from 5 to 2000 years. Instruments found at this musical museum range from different instrument families such as aerophones, membranophones among others. The instruments laid out on the museum have photos accompanying them illustrating their use in cultural context. The museum is open from Tuesday all through to Saturday. The ideal time for a visit is morning hours.

◎ Closing

Ouagadougou is still expanding both culturally and economically giving it room to become better as a city in Burkina Faso. This means that it is offering some African gems at their natural untouched state which is very rare in this modernized era of things. As a tourist, you will experience the best of African tradition from this heart of Burkina Faso without a doubt. Ouagadougou is also very reasonable when it comes to the cost of living which is a good thing.

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