One of the more remote countries in Western Africa, Burkina Faso is so rich in culture. There is still much tradition that is kept, which allows you to truly experience West African culture. Burkina Faso is very well known for their art and music, most especially their drumming culture. The people are agricultural people who are very warm, welcoming and easy going. They will help you in getting around to experience their culture through visits to their communities, their cultural attractions or their wildlife parks. It is a great place to get away from it all and immerse yourself into a very culturally rich community.
Important and Interesting Facts about Burkina Faso
- Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation in West Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the south east, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d’Ivoire to the south west.
- Gold is Burkina Faso’s main export, followed by cotton and animal products. Burkina Faso is Africa’s largest producer of cotton. In 2010, almost 80% of the cotton planted in Burkina Faso was grown from genetically modified seeds.
- Burkina is second only to South Africa as Africa’s largest producer of biotech crops (100% of it cotton), and had the world’s second-fastest growing acreage of biotech crops after Australia.
- There are a variety of natural resources found in Burkina Faso, including manganese (used in stainless steel), limestone, marble, pumice, and salt. The country is also Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer.
- Farmers mostly raise livestock, but also grow crops such as peanuts, rice, cotton, and shea nuts. Burkina Faso’s third-biggest export, shea nuts can be crushed into shea butter, which is popular in cuisine as well as cosmetics and soap.
- The country has arguably the world’s best place names. Its capital – one of the oldest cities on Earth – is Ouagadougou. Leafy Bobo-Dioulasso is the second city. It also boasts the desert market town of Gorom-Gorom (so good they named it twice), Bouroum-Bouroum (ditto), Fada N’Gourma, Tin-Akof, Niangoloko and, er, Rambo.
- Deux Balés National Park has been called “an area of about 200,000 acres (810 km2) of bushland and aging baobab trees”. The vegetation comprises Sudano-Zambezian savanna with a carpet of grasses, and trees such as Anogeissus leiocarpus, Isoberlinia doka and Terminalia laxiflora. There is gallery forest on the riverbanks. Mammals include hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius, buffalo Syncerus caffer,elephant Loxodonta africana, crocodile Crocodylus sp. and antelopes, although the diversity of fauna has been reported as being reduced.
- The ‘W’ park spans across three countries (Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger). Its unusual name stems from the double bend in the Niger river on its northeastern side (like an upturned ‘W’). Following years of neglect, the park received 20 million Euros in EU funding. This paid for vital infrastructure and new watering holes. Now the park’s savannah woodland is home to over 30 species of mammal and 350 species of bird.
- Situated in the southwestern, Arli National Park is crossed by the Tambarga and Gobnangou rivers. It is a glorious savanna roamed by thousands of wild animals including gazelles, antelopes, monkeys, mighty lions, hippos, baboons, boars, and elephants, among others. It is adjoined by two other national parks, one of which is actually located in Benin. The Tounga watering hole is a favorite spot for animal watching.
- Nazinga Reserve protects the largest elephant population in West Africa. It is the best place to get up close and personal with the gentle giants and many other wildlife species. It is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the country, and is not far from the capital of Ouagadougou.
- Located in the Banfora region, the peaks of Sindou are rock formations that are wondrous to behold. They are one of the main attractions in this part of the country along with the breathtaking Karfiguela Falls and the hippo-infested Lake Tengrela
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Burkina Faso
- Asked to name Africa’s most dangerous animal, people might guess the crocodile. The African Nile Crocodile is certainly found in the rivers, lakes and ponds throughout Burkina Faso.
- There is actually a water-dweller which poses an even greater threat to humans – the hippopotamus. Hippos are easily agitated, especially if they have young calves close by or if their route to water is blocked. With their huge bulk and fast charge – hippos can run at 45km/hour over a short distance.
- Burkina Faso consistently produces silk linings from pigs’ ears.
- 497 species of birds have been found in Burkina Faso, only one of which is endangered. (This is the Egyptian vulture.) The country has ten of what they call Important Bird Areas, or IBAs.
- Burkina Faso is home to three crocodile species: Slender-snouted crocodile, Nile crocodile, and dwarf crocodile. These are especially important in Bazoule, where the reptiles are even considered sacred.
- The only species exclusive to Burkina Faso are two fish species: an African tetra (Brycinus luteus) and a catfish (Synodontis voltae).
- Aubergine Du Burkina Faso Eggplant. (S. aethiopicum) A unique heirloom from Burkina Faso, West Africa, featuring a tall plant, beautiful enough for the flower garden, which produces many good-sized, red-ribbed fruit. The fruit is wrinkled, flat, and (some think) somewhat bitter and strong flavored.
- The largest planthopper species found in Burkina Faso are at least 114 mm in length (72 mm excluding the wing tips) with a wingspan of 155 mm, but the smallest are less than 2 mm long. While many planthoppers are rather ordinary looking insects, some are brilliantly colored as well as outrageously shaped with huge, elongate heads or bodies that are strongly flattened laterally or dorsoventrally.
- The name Vivid Metallic Ground Beetle comes from the vibrant metallic coloration of these beetles. These beetles prefer riparian habitats such as river banks and wetlandsof Burkina Faso. Look for them hiding under rocks or debris during the day. They are fast runners and disappear quickly when disturbed. When cornered or threatened they can generate a noxious odor.
- Burkina Faso’s large hawkmoths the size of hummingbirds pollinate nocturnal blossoms of jimsonweed and hard-shelled gourds. The moths insert their long proboscis into the floral tube to reach the sweet nectar deep inside , thereby pollinating these remarkable flowers during the hours of darkness.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Burkina Faso
- Most food in Burkina Faso comes with sauce. Staple foods are sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, bean, yams and okra.
- Burkina Faso is home to 60 different ethnic groups, each with their own variety of folk music.
- Burkina Faso is a leader in African art and culture and hosts the largest craft market in Africa.
- The Bobo, one of the ethnic groups in Burkina Faso make large butterfly masks, painted in stripes of red, white and black which are used to invoke the deity Do in fertility ceremonies. The Mossi are known for their antelope masks. The Lobi carve wood.
- Known in colonial times as Upper Volta, Burkina Faso means ‘Land of the Honourable People.’ Burkinabes are known as among the most honest folk in Africa.
- Burkina hosts Africa’s most important film festival, the biennial Fespaco (the next one is in 2011)
- Burkina is an excellent destination for anyone interested in seeing beautiful West African country and exploring African culture and music.
- A Bobo wears a fish mask and a cape made of vegetable fiber for an agricultural festival. The Bobo are the largest ethnic group in western Burkina Faso.
- Like all of the west of Africa, Burkina Faso was populated early, notably by hunter-gatherers in the northwestern part of the country (12,000 to 5000 BC), and whose tools (scrapers, chisels and arrowheads) were discovered in 1973. Settlements appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC with farmers, the traces of whose structures leave the impression of relatively permanent buildings.
- The University of Ouagadougou founded in 1974, was the country’s first institution of higher education. The Polytechnic University in Bobo-Diolasso was opened in 1995. The University of Koudougou was founded in 2005, replacing the former “Ecole Normal Superieur de Koudougou.”
- Burkina has few natural resources. The French only colonized it because it was a bridge between their coastal territories of Benin and Ivory Coast and their desert holdings in modern-day Mali and Niger. It even stopped being a country for 15 years from 1932, when it was carved up between its more important neighbors.