Burkina Faso – in, around, and out

I’ve just spent about six days in Burkina Faso, and I thought it might be useful to report on a couple of things that might help other travellers.

Firstly, you can still get a visa on arrival at land borders. The costs are:
24,000 CFA- Transit Visa (1-3 days)
94,000 CFA – 90-day single entry visa
122,000 CFA – 90 day multi-entry visa

I crossed into Burkina Faso from Ghana at the Tamale border, in the far NW of Ghana. It’s very easy to miss the actual frontier and cross accidentally, as I did – only realising after 6km when I reached the next village; there’s a well-used path, popular with moto-scooters, that comes out just beyond the Burkina entry point.
When I passed (legally), I had no problems with entering Burkina; the border official I don’t think was used to issuing VOAs. He also never asked me for my yellow fever vaccination certificate. (He also seems to have issued me a single-entry visa for the price of a transit visa, but don’t imagine you could get away with that again).
There are tro-tros in the mornings, on the hour, until at least 9am, that depart from just past the border and go to Bobo. It costs 4,000 CFA – I left at 8am and arrived in Bobo at 2.30pm …

Coming out of Burkina I crossed into Benin. I caught a tro-tro from Fada N’Gourma (on the opposite side of the road to the maket’s main entrance) to the border about 8.30am and arrived around 11am, cost 2,000 CFA.
Now, at this border, the Burkina post is about 25km from actual frontier and the Benin border post – the journey is through the wilds of the national parks and is quite pretty. I caught a shared taxi from the Burkina post that took me to Natitingou (6,000 CFA); we stopped for a while at the Benin point as they do check Yellow Fever here, and most of the people in the shared taxi needed to be vaccinated.
I already had my Beninese visa issued in Ouagadougou so I don’t know about VOA procedures here.

The other thing I want to mention is getting around Burkina – specifically that the bus company STMB, which operated many routes including the Ouaga-Fada route, seems to have gone out of business in 2012. I mention it because researching online, people are still suggesting them as of 2013. Their bus station in Ouaga doesn’t seem to exist any more either.
I ended up catching a tro-tro from the centre of Ouaga (they go from outside the petrol station on Avenue Yennenga, just South of where it ends on Avenue de la Nation); left around 8.15am and arrived around 2pm. En route I noticed a couple of big coaches operated by STAF, so would presume they would be your bus company of choice for this journey now instead.

In Bobo, I stayed at the Villa Olivia, which used to be called the Villa Rose. In Ouaga I was in the well-known Pavillon Vert, and in Fada I stayed at the Auberge Diana (7,500 CFA), a short walk back towards Ouaga from the main square.

Everything seems calm in Burkina Faso, the only evidence of the recent coup is a myriad of anti-Compore graffiti on the walls. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and, if I’m being honest, quite happy to see a tourist.

Visit : 29 November to 5 December 2014

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