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Bradt Guides Burkina Faso

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Bradt Guides Burkina Faso

Bradt Guides Burkina Faso is the best guide for exploring the West African nation of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres and borders with six countries. Mali is to the north and west. Niger lies to the east. Benin borders on the southeast. Togo is to the southeast. Ghana is to the south. Lastly, the Ivory Coast lies to the southwest.

From balafon players in the laidback town of Bobo-Dioulasso to masters of horsemanship further north. There are internationally recognised film, jazz, hip hop and craft festivals. Landlocked Burkina Faso, in the heart of west Africa, has something to offer everyone. This new edition of the only English-language guidebook to Burkina Faso leads visitors on camel safaris from desert markets to dramatic waterfalls. It covers spectacular sandstone rock formations and looks past the extraordinary architecture of 16th-century Mossi. It examines Lobi’s stone ruins and Koro’s hillside caves. Moreover, this is a magical country and one of Africa’s best-kept secrets.

There is a remarkable absence of barriers between you and anything you come across. The hypnotic, breathtaking dances and frantic contortions of a mask festival, for example, are not put on for the benefit of visitors – they exist for the village, and the ancestors.

We arrived in Burkina Faso with enough French to order a sandwich but not much else, and somehow found a place to stay within three days. Within no time, we made friends with some guys from the area. The area was at one time legendary for its skilled horseback riders (who love stallions). He helped us spruce the place up, devour delicious grilled garlic chicken, and swing tea with hot coals at full arm’s length in the empty living room.

Full of great experiences

But the best was yet to come. Living in the capital Ouagadougou (Ouaga) was a wonderworld of open-air cinema, live music in late-night bars and the thrill of pleasanterie. That is teasing banter that makes immediate friends of strangers. Leaving the capital took us deep into the unknown. We tracked lions in the east. We watched bronzemakers and leatherworkers at work in the central belt. …and in the far northern sands of Bani we disappeared into thousand-year-old ruins. Here, blues guitar mingled with the starry night. The lush green habitat of elephants and brightly painted, booby-trapped homes in the south was the final revelation.

And then of course there were the festivals in this richly cultured country, which seemed to take place every other week. Highlights were watching synchronised equine dancing in the northeastern land of historic warrior horsemen, and walking down the red carpet to Africa’s premier film gala, flush with having learned the French for 35mm film (pelicule).

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