Travel Destination Ouagadougou

Published: 12/06/2013

Travel Destination Ouagadougou



Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso in West Africa.  It is home to almost one and a half million people, making it the largest city and the commercial capital of Burkina Faso.  Founded in the mid 15th century by the Yonyonse tribe who named it ‘Wogodogo’ which means ‘where people get honour and respect’, it wasn’t long before it became the capital of the Mossi Empire.  It was then colonized by the French in the 1890s and consequently this gave ‘Wogodogo’ a French sound to its name bringing it into it’s current spelling.  The dominant languages in this city are French, More, Dyula and Fulfulde.


The population here is rather large and it is located in the province of Kadiogo in Burkina Faso.  Cities, towns and places near to the city include Wagadugu, Ouagadouga, Zone pilote de Sissen and Sisen.


The rainy season here stretches from May to October, peaking during the months of June to September with a mean average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius.  The cold season runs from December to January with an average low of 16 degrees Celsius.  The average temperature of the hot season (which runs from March to May) can reach 43 degrees Celsius. 


Ouagadougou is affectionately nicknamed Ouaga.  It is not a city that is rich in sites and architecture but it does have an eclectic arts hub that is thriving with venues for dance and concerts, live bands, theatre companies and a busy festival schedule as well as beautiful crafts.  It hosts the biennial FESPACO film festival.  The heart of the city is focused around the Grand Marche, freshly built since the last one was burnt to the ground in 2003.  Ouagadougou is laid out in a grid-like pattern, making it simple to navigate from the Place de Nations Unies where the city’s 5 main roads meet.


Many cuisines are enjoyed here including African, African vegan, Ethiopian, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, American, Vietnamese and French.  Popular dishes of the locals include Rice and Beans (Benga), Rice and Sauce (Riz Sauce), Atteike, Spaghetti, Rice and tomato sauce (Riz Gras), peanuts, dates and dried mangoes.


Some sites that you will find here are: Laongo Sculpture Symposium – interesting gardens of sculptures and a bit of a hike to get you moving; Ouagadougou Markets – a large and active big city market which has popped up since a fire destroyed the biggest markets in 2003; Reserve de Nazinga – a nature / wildlife area, the protection policies of which (run by the Canadian environmentalists) directly contribute to the wellbeing of wildlife in ‘Waga’; Parc Animalier – the local zoo and Auberge Buena Vista.  Sites include many parks and some sculptures, including Naba Koom (a statue depicting a woman handling a calabash to pour water.  At 6m high, this statue faces the railway station, welcoming visitors to the city.  Another monument is La Place du Grand Lyon which reflects the relationship between Burkina Faso’s capital and Lyon in France.  It’s location is near George Melies, the French Cultural Centre and it features an imposing lion.

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