Ouagadougou A capital with an unusually long name, but not to be missed on your visit to Burkina-Faso. There's plenty of interesting monuments spread across the city, as well as the beautiful Ouagadougou Cathedral. The cathedral is Romanesque Revival architecture and was opened in 1936. Memorial Thomas Sankara in honour of the ex-president is also within easy reach. There's also 3 large reservoir lakes in the middle of the city, so this is a great spot to walk around sunset.
Tiebele A real highlight of my time in Burkina was definitely the day trip to Tiébélé. It's a 3 hour drive south of Ouagadougou, but so worth the drive. Tiébélé is a small village in the Nahouri Province and is the location of some amazing hand painted houses. The locals use chalk and coloured mud to individually design each house. The Kassana ethnic group have continually lived in the area since the 15th century, so there's plenty of history here. This was the location I chose to donate clothing, as everyday items are harder to come by compared to the larger cities.
Dedougou There's plenty of villages dotted around Burkina that are great places to go if you really want a deep dive into local daily life. I chose to visit Dedougou, which is a 4 hour drive west of the capital. This place was recommended by my local guide on the basis that the village specialises in pottery making and basically supplies the entire country. It was great to take a close look at some very impressive potters, as well as having the opportunity to visit a local school.
Crafts Village of Ouagadougou
In the capital, there's some very impressive craft villages. A couple of things stood out to me... the locals really price themselves on their craft ability, and rightly so as they're very talented. Secondly, it's amazing what they can create using what other people would refer to as "trash". The two places I would recommend checking out are Crafts Village Ouagadougou (pic 1) and Centre National d'Artisanat d'Art. It's acceptable to haggle with the sellers on pricing, but please remember that they do need to earn a living.
Laongo Sculpture Park
A great spot that doesn't seem to get a huge amount of publicity is Laongo Sculpture Park, which is under an hour from the capital. I'd describe this place as an "open air art museum" where top sculptors from across the world display their work in granite stone format. There's a small entrance fee, which includes a guide who will explain each sculpture. The park is regularly updated too, with many new sculptors asked to add new pieces of art annually. Considering this site is unique, I was surprised it doesn't attract more tourists.
Monument of National Heroes
On the outskirts of the capital lies one of the largest monuments the country has to offer, which is the Monument of National Heroes (Martyrs Monument). Two clenched concrete fists are located at the entrance, which display the names of fallen heroes, whilst the tower monument sits directly behind. A glass panel design with an observation viewing deck at the top. There are security guards roaming the premises, so you may have to offer a small tip to enter, but it's definitely worth it. The area itself is a newly formed location called "Ouaga 2000" and is slowly being filled with government and representative buildings.
The Sacred Crocodile Pond of Bazoule
A 30km drive from the capital will take you to one of the most visited tourist attractions in the entire country. The small village of Bazoule has a pond that is believed to have hosted crocodiles for more than five centuries. Legend has it that the crocodiles guided local villagers to a water source when the community was close to drought. Today, there's a small museum with some interesting facts and then you'll head straight to see the crocodiles. You can get surprisingly close and even sit on top of one if you wish. There's also a small area with some tortoise. Advance warning, your guide will likely feed a live chicken to the crocs.
There's not many options at all for accommodation in Ouagadougou, but I was very happy with finding Villa Yiri Suma. This is a small family run guest house in the centre of the city. There's a great homely feel, a nice outdoor courtyard area for breakfast, decent-ish WiFi, and security on the door. The price was approx $60 per night for a twin room.
Similar to accommodation, there's not a huge variety of restaurants as street food and small family cafes seem to be the norm, but Gondwana restaurant was a great find. Located in the Zone du Bois area of the capital and dubbed as offering "African Cuisine". The place has a very welcoming vibe, offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and an extensive menu. During my short trip, I visited this place more than once, so would definitely recommend.
If you need a local guide/fixer on the ground in Burkina-Faso, I would definitely recommend using the services of Papillon Reizen as your tour operator. Monique at Papillon has assisted me on multiple occasions in West Africa and has always provided awesome itineraries. To be honest, she's been one of the best travel operators I've ever had the pleasure of conversing with. Her contact details are +31 6 55 76 51 66 and email@example.com.