Ouagadougou

We reached Ougadougou (pronounced “Wagadougou”) in good time, despite the potholes, livestock and other drivers driving more or less in the middle of the road, irrespective of which direction they were traveling.  Burkina Faso is a much poorer country than Ghana, although its name comes from a local language meaning “Land of the Honourable”, which hints at the fact that this small country still has much to offer the traveler.

 

The difference from Ghana was immediate – much less development and agriculture, more basic housing, an even greater Moslem influence with the smallest villages sporting the most beautiful mosques , and of course, French speaking. We realized that we will not hear English out of choice again on this trip, only French, Spanish and German! So out with the dictionary and “petit petit” French was again the order of the day.

 Village

We drove through a countryside green from ongoing rains, with many of the surrounding countryside standing in water. The vegetation is thick savanna where not cleared for agriculture, reminding us of the Northern province in South Africa during the rainy season. The reappearance of Baobabs added to this feeling.

 

We passed many bicycles along the road, as well as the usual overloaded taxis. It appeared that the local variation here is that the “conductor” sits outside the taxi whilst driving, either clinging to the back, or sitting on top, probably to allow for another fare-paying customer to squeeze inside.

  No concern for safety !!!

On the recommendation of fellow Africa travelers, we booked into the OK Inn, just south of the city centre. With a swimming pool, internet, a self contained bungalow with a hot bath WITH A PLUG, it was luxurious.  Annaliese had “the best bath since Cape Town” (I won’t tell you how she really described it, as there may be children reading this!!)

 Our abode at the OK hotel

 Despite our tight schedule, we decided to spend another day and night  exploring the eastern part of Burkina Faso, visiting some of the more traditional villages and markets there, before heading into Mali, and so the next morning we headed east on a road less traveled.