Posted on by Victoria D.

Although Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in central West Africa, it is rich in culture and history. With more than 17 million residents, it is surprisingly stable and hosts thriving cities, bustling marketplaces, beautiful nature, and a colorful music scene. Best of all, it is incredibly inexpensive to visit. Here are seven things to know before you book your plane ticket:

1) Name

Originally called Upper Volta by the French people who colonized it, Burkina Faso became independent in 1960 and changed its name. In the local Mossi language, it translates to ‘land of honest people.’ Sounds perfect!

2) Shopping

Be sure to brush up on your bargaining skills and bring lots of cash. Burkina Faso has a rich culture which shows in the plethora of markets filled with carvings, handicrafts, and an assortment of souvenirs.

3) Food

Some of the most delicious dishes in Africa are featured in the Western region. Burkina Faso offers plenty of protein-based meals (chicken, lamb, and fish) for the carnivore in you, as well as amazing dishes from maize, peanuts, yams, beans, or sorghum. Delectable sauces can be added for even more flavor. Sorghum, millet, and fruits like the baobab, are the basis for a range of both nonalcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

4) Music

You’ll find live music everywhere throughout Burkina Faso, with each of its 60+ ethnic groups’ distinct musical instruments and styles. Listening to everything from salsa and reggae to traditional and folk music will offer you a better grasp of this country and its people.

5) Dancing

If you get an opportunity to witness an ancient traditional mask dance by the Gurunsi people, take it. Depending on the dance, the masks represent different animals or honor and revere the dead. Most of these sacred dances are not usually performed for tourists, so you’ll need to arrange a trip to a nearby village with a guide. Observing a performance will be the highlight of your trip.

6) Festivals

Burkina Faso regularly hosts to festivals for arts and crafts, music, dancing, and film throughout the year. In a country filled with the diverse culture of more than 60 ethnic groups (as previously mentioned), fitting a festival or two into your trip will be simple.

7)  Nature

The southern edge of Burkina Faso is the perfect place for a safari in the best park in the country. At Nazinga Reserve you’ll see monkeys, antelope, crocodiles, warthogs, a variety of birds, and, of course, elephants in their natural habitat.

Ready to Visit Burkina Faso?

The western regions of Burkina Faso are home to the country’s most dramatic scenery. Accommodations can range from modest to luxurious. A guide can take you on day hikes or longer, and this region is perfect for everything from picnics to cycling and camping. Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s least explored countries and largely untouched. For a truly unique experience, remember to hire a guide to help you explore the country safely and inexpensively. Learn something new about a different culture and maybe something about yourself. Because isn’t that what travel is all about? And if you need more money with which to enjoy this fascinating land, check out Sharemoney’s services online.

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