Ouagadougou, or as the locals simply call it, Ouaga, is a truly African capital. Although it is the political center of one of the world’s poorest countries, the city is filled with good restaurants, hotels, and nightspots, and the locals are known for their friendly dispositions and upbeat attitudes.
Although Burkina Faso is a presidential republic, the emperor of the Mossi people is still one of the most important figures in the country. Moro-Naba, as he is called, is still consulted by the government before any big decisions are made, and an important ritual takes place at his palace every Friday. The formal ceremony lasts less than a half hour, but prominent people from around the country come and sit in rank before a cannon is shot. The Moro-Naba arrives decked out in red costume, symbolic for war, and riding an elaborately decorated horse. The most senior visitors pay their respects to the traditional chief, then His Majesty disappears only to come back again in white clothing, symbolizing peace. The subjects are invited into the palace for milk, Kola nut drinks and millet beer while the chief rules on petty crimes and local disputes. Visitors are welcome to view the fascinating ceremony by entering the compound from the east, but photography is forbidden.
The National Museum is located about 10 kilometers outside the city center and is still a work-in-progress. The small but growing collection highlights traditional costumes of the country’s major ethnic groups, ancestral statues and various masks. Dusty pavilions host the galleries, and although the labels are solely in French, the museum is still well worth a visit.
Visitors interested in traditional music will be delighted by the Museum of Music. The imaginatively designed gallery space is filled with flutes, tambour drums, harps, xylophones and other music-makers from around Burkina Faso. The foot castanets are particularly interesting, and French-speaking guides offer insight into each of the pieces.
More musical instruments are on display at the Manega Museum. The collection also includes Mossi rifles and other artifacts from around the country.
On the outskirts of the city lies the grave of Thomas Sankara. President of the country from 1983 to 1987, Sankara is regarded as an icon of the revolution as is commonly called the Che Guevara of Africa. The Marxist revolutionary is also beloved for his ambitious social and economic programs. His grave remains a reminder of the most hopeful time in the country’s history, and it continues to hold great political significance for locals.
Ouagadougou is a fairly green city, and the Bangre Weoogo park is a favorite of locals, especially those with children. The park’s small zoo is home to many crocodiles and other indigenous animals, and the area is regarded as sacred to locals. The Garden of Ouaga-Loudun Friendship is also worth exploring. The green space was redone in 1996 and symbolizes the relationship between the capital and its sister city in France.
The friendship between France and Burkina Faso is also evident at the Place du Grand Lyon. Located near the Center George Mélies, the monument is one of the most beautiful in the city.
Another notable monument in Ouagadougou stands just across from the railway station. The six-meter stone statue depicts a woman pouring water out of a calabash. It is usually the first sight visitors see when they arrive in Ouagadougou.
Ouagadougou Geographical Location
Ouagadougou is located in the center of Burkina Faso and is it’s largest city.
The population of Ouagadougou is approximately 1,730,000 in the metropolitan area.
French is the official language of Burkina Faso but the majority of the population speaks native African languages.
Ouagadougou Predominant Religion
- 60.5% Muslim
- 19% Catholic
- 15.5% Animist
- 4% Protestant
- 1% Other or None
Religious groups in Burkina Faso are typically accepting of one another and most people practice indigenous beliefs in addition to Christianity or Islam.
The West African CFA Franc is the official currency of Burkina Faso.
It is very hot and dry in Ouagadougou with the exception of the rainy season occurring between May and September.
Ouagadougou Main Attractions
- Reserve de Nazinga
- Ouagadougou Market
- The National Museum
Other Attraction in Ouagadougou
- Musee National de Musique Afrique
- Place de la Revolution
- Place des Nations Unies