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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Grand Mosque
Nickname(s): Ouaga
Ouagadougou is located in Burkina Faso
Location within Burkina Faso
Coordinates: 12°21′26″N 1°32′7″W / 12.35722°N 1.53528°W / 12.35722; -1.53528Coordinates: 12°21′26″N 1°32′7″W / 12.35722°N 1.53528°W / 12.35722; -1.53528
Country  Burkina Faso
Region Centre Region
Province Kadiogo
 - Mayor Simon Compaoré (since 1995)
 - City 84.7 sq mi (219.3 km2)
 - Metro 1,083 sq mi (2,805 km2)
Elevation 1,001 ft (305 m)
Population (2006-Dec-09)
 - City 1,475,223
 Density 17,422.9/sq mi (6,727/km2)
 Metro 1,727,390
The Place des Nations Unies in the center of the city.
Ouagadougou seen from SPOT Satellite.

Ouagadougou (pronounced /ˌwɑːɡəˈduːɡuː/, Mossi: [ˈwaɡədəɡə]) is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the nation. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 (as of 2006).[1] The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais.

Ouagadougou's primary industries are food processing and textiles. It is served by an international airport, rail links to Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire and to Kaya in the north of Burkina, and a highway to Niamey, Niger. Being such a focal point, there are many cinemas, nightclubs, and French, American, and Zaka cultural centers. Ouagadougou was the site of Ouagadougou grand market, one of the largest markets in West Africa, which burned in 2003 and remains closed. Other attractions include the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Moro-Naba Palace (site of the Moro-Naba Ceremony), the National Museum of Music, and several craft markets.



Near east in 1200 AD, showing Kingdom of Wagadugu and its neighbors.

The name Ouagadougou goes back to the 15th century when the Yonyonse and the Ninsi tribes inhabited the area. They were in constant conflict until 1441 when Wubri, a Yonyonse hero and an important figure in Burkina Faso’s history, led his tribe to victory. He then renamed the area from “Kumbee-Tenga,” as the Ninsi had called it, to “Wogodogo,” meaning "where people get honor and respect." Ouagadougou is a corruption of Wogodogo. The spelling of the name Ouagadougou is derived from the French orthography common in former French African colonies. The country changed its name from 'Upper Volta' to Burkina Faso in the 1980s. If English orthography were used (as in Ghana or Nigeria), the spelling would be Wagadugu.[2]


Ouagadougou, situated on the central plateau (12.4° N 1.5° W), grew around the imperial palace of the Mogho Naaba. Being an administrative center of colonial rule, it became an important urban center in the post-colonial era. First the capital of the Mossi Empire and later of Upper Volta and Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou became a veritable communal center in 1995.


The first municipal elections were held in 1956.

Ouagadougou is governed by a mayor, who is elected for a five-year term, two senior councillors, and 90 councillors.

The city is divided into five arrondissements, consisting of 30 sectors, which are subdivided into districts. Districts of Ouagadougou include Gounghin, Kamsaoghin, Koulouba, Moemmin, Niogsin, Paspanga, Peuloghin, Bilbalogho, and Tiendpalogo. Seventeen villages comprise the Ouagadougou metropolitan area, which is about 219.3 km².

The population of this area is estimated to be 1,475,000 inhabitants, 48% of which are men and 52% women. The rural population is about 5% and the urban population about 95% of the total, and the density is 6,727 inhabitants per square kilometer, according to 2006 census.

Concerning city management, the communes of Ouagadougou have made the decision to invest in huge projects. This is largely because Ouagadougou constitutes a 'cultural centre' by merit of holding the SIAO (International Arts and Crafts fair) and the FESPACO (Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou). Moreover, the growing affluence of the villages allow for such investment, and the fact that the population is growing rapidly necessitates it.[2]

The Arrondissements of Ouagadougou
Arrondissement Population (Census 2006)[1]
Baskuy 180,512
Bogodogo 374,473
Boulmiougou 366,182
Nongremassom 188,329
Sig-Noghin 163,859
Climate chart of Ouagadougou.svg


The climate of Ouagadougou is hot. The city is part of the Soudano-Sahelian area, with a rainfall of 750 mm (30 in) per year. The rainy season stretches from May to October, with an average temperature of 30 °C (86 °F). The cold season runs from December to January, with a minimum temperature of 19 °C (66 °F). The maximum temperature during the hot season, which runs from April to May, can reach 45 °C (113 °F). The harmattan (a dry wind) and the monsoon are the two main factors that determine Ouagadougou's climate."


Air Burkina has its head office in the Air Burkina Storey Building (French: Immeuble Air Burkina) in Ouagadougou.[3][4]


Nation Unies crossroad


The Bangr-Weoogo urban park (area: 2.63 km2 (1 sq mi)), before colonialism, belonged to the Mosse chiefs. Considering it a sacred forest, many went there for traditional initiations or for refuge. The French colonists, disregarding its local significance and history, established it as a park in the 1930s. In 1985, renovations were done in the park. In January 2001, the park was renamed “Parc Urbain Bangr-Weoogo,” meaning "the urban park of the forest of knowledge."

Another notable park in Ouagadougou is the “L’Unité Pédagogique”, which shelters animals in a semi-free state. This botanic garden/biosphere system stretches over 8 hectares (20 acres) and also serves as a museum for the country’s history.

“Jardin de l’amitié Ouaga-Loudun” (Garden of Ouaga-Loudun Friendship), with a green space that was renovated in 1996, is a symbol of the twin-city relationship between Ouagadougou and Loudun in France. It is situated in the center of the city, near the “Nation Unies’ crossroads.”

Other sites

Ouagadougu in late December 1930 or early January 1931. Air photo taken by Swiss pilot and photographer Walter Mittelholzer.

“Naba Koom” is a statue depicting a woman handling a calabash to pour water. The 6-metre (20 ft) high statue faces the railway station, welcoming travellers into Ouaga. The place bears the name of an important chief in Burkina Faso’s history.

“Laongo”, 30 km (19 mi) east of the city, features enormous granite slabs that were designed by various sculptors. The exhibit displays works of art from five continents.[2]

“La Place du Grand Lyon” is a monument that reflects the relationship between Burkina Faso’s capital and Lyon in France. It is located near the French cultural Center George Melies and features an imposing lion. A zoo called “Parc Animalier de Ziniaré” is located 30 km (19 mi) east of the city in the hometown of the president.

Social life and education


Though literacy in Ouagadougou is not high, there are ten universities in the city. The state University of Ouagadougou was founded in 1974. The official language is French and the principal local languages are More, Dyula and Fulfulde. The bilingual program in schools (French plus one of the local languages) was established in 1994.[2]

Sport, culture, and leisure

A wide array of sports, including association football, basketball, and volleyball, is played by Ouagadougou inhabitants. There are sports tournaments and activities organized by the local authorities.

There are a number of cultural and art venues, such as the Maison du Peuple and Salle des Banquets, in addition to performances of many genres of music, including traditional folk music, modern music, and rap.[2]

Art and crafts

A Burkinabé man transporting chickens

Several international festivals and activities are organized within the municipality, such as FESPACO (Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou), which is Africa's largest festival of this type, SIAO (International Art and Craft Fair), FESPAM (Pan-African Music Festival), FITMO (International Theatre and Marionnette Festival) and FESTIVO.[2][5]


A side street.

Ouagadougou has both state and private hospitals. The two state hospitals in the city are the Centre hospitalier national Yalgado Ouedraogo (CHNYO) and the Centre hospitalier national pédiatrique Charles de Gaulle (CHNP-CDG), but there are also private hospitals. Despite that, the local population still largely trusts traditional local medicine and the “pharmacopée.”[2]


The city's automobiles are generally small and inexpensively made, using a small two-stroke cycle engine. Ouagadougou's citizens also travel in green cabs, which take their passengers anywhere in town for 200 to 400 CFA, but the price is higher after 10:00 p.m. and can then reach 1000CFA.[citation needed]

Ouagadougou Airport serves the area with flights to West Africa and Europe.

Ouagadougou is connected by rail to Côte d'Ivoire and to Kaya in the north of Burkina Faso. See Rail transport in Burkina Faso.

International relations

Housing in Ouagadougou

Twin towns — Sister cities


  1. ^ a b National 2006 census final results
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Commune Ouagadougou (2005). Mairie de Ouagadougou. Retrieved March 19, 2006 from Mairie de Ouagadougou (French)
  3. ^ "Contact-us." Air Burkina. Retrieved on 19 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Contactez-nous." Air Burkina. Retrieved on 19 October 2009.
  5. ^ La Girafe (2004). Ouaga-ca-bouge. Retrieved March 19, 2006 from Ouagadougou au Burkina Faso (French)
  6. ^ "Partner Cities of Lyon and Greater Lyon". © 2008 Mairie de Lyon. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  7. ^ Ouagadougou and Taipei establish sister cities link
  8. ^ Sister city list (.DOC)

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : West Africa : Burkina Faso : Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou's Grand Mosque
Ouagadougou's Grand Mosque
Ouagadougou is the capital of the West African nation of Burkina Faso.


Dominant Mossi ethnicity, but many other ethnicities are also here (Samo, Gourounsi, Lobi, etc).

Languages spoken: French, Moore, some Jula (derivative of Bambara).

Get in


Ouaga is served by its main international airport Ouagadougou Airport which is situated within the city center. The distance from the airport to the United Nations roundabout is no more than a 3 minute taxi ride. A shared taxi, the green ones, should cost no more than 500CFA, but many will ask for 1000CFA.

The airport is small and disorganized like many African airports. There are very few major carriers that travel to Ouaga. Air France offer a daily flight from Paris as do Air Burkina. Aside from that you'll have to travel to some other West African country and take your chances with the unreliable African carriers.


  • Ghana- STC (50 64 44 42/ 50 62 25 88)
  • Benin- STMB (50 31 44 72 or 50 31 13 63), SOTRAO
  • Togo- TCV runs buses to Lomé
  • Niger- SOTRAO
  • Mali-STMB, SOGEBAF, TCV (50 39 88 77)

Get around

By taxi

The small green taxi cabs should cost no more than 200CFA per person during the day, but be prepared to share the cab with as many people as can be crammed in. Cabbies may attempt to charge foreigners far more. If you have a lot of baggage, expect to pay more indeed.

Prices go up at night somewhat, but you should never pay more than 500CFA, which is negotiable if you have a lot of people in your group to share the cab.

Be aware, that if you are loaded up with bags, in the middle of the night, and wanting to get to a far away destination, cabbies will try to milk you for as much as possible.

There are also white taxi cabs that are much more expensive, but much more reliable, and you don't have to share seating with others going to different destinations.

  • "Bangre-Weoogo urban park in Zone du Bois (also called 'La Foret') has many trails for walking and running. It also has a small zoo inside (100-200 CFA for entrance) Bring binoculars to help you spot the crocodiles in the marsh near the bridge! The park is a natural preservation area and "sacred forest" dating from the pre-colonial era.
  • Cineburkina (50 32 03 28) and Cine Reale are more comfortable/safer movie theaters
  • Café Zaka has live bands every night
  • The Moro Naaba ceremony is every Friday morning at 7:15am, 15 min ceremony symbolizing a Mossi historical event (preparation for battle against a rival king that stole his amulets, but being persuaded to keep peace). Ouagadougou was founded in the 15th century and became the capital of the Mossi empire. The historical palace of the Moro Naaba is located in the middle of the city.
  • French Cultural Centre, Proposes both local and imported concerts dance pieces and theater. The bar/retaurant there is a popular meeting spot. It also features an air-condtioned library where you can read newpapers and magazines. Located on the same road as the main post office
  • SIAO (International Art and Craft Festival) Africa's most prominent craft fair, it is held for 10 days in every even-numbered year. Artisans from all over Africa attend and sell their wares. Next one coming up in late October/November 2008.
  • Village Artisanale of Ouagadougou (VAO). This outdoor "shopping mall" of local arts and crafts is a gem. You can buy there from a huge selection with far less hassle than on the street. It also features a shady café in the courtyard.
  • FESPACO - PanAfrican film festival [2]. Africa's most prestigious film festival is held every two years in February and showcases some of the best movies from across the continent. 24 Feb - 3 March 2007.
  • Central Market a major attraction, burned in 2003 and awaits reconstruction. New stands are opening up all around it, though, so it's still worth a visit, especially if you are buying textiles.
  • Le Musee NationaleA brand new museum complex devoted to the many local cultures. It is on the east end of the city and is open seven days a week.
  • Gounghin Market a fun place to explore, buy fabric and fruit



  • Go to Marina Market (50 31 09 65) or Scimas downtown, near the grande mosque (same street, maybe three blocks apart) for all cheese, meat, ice cream, other needs (closed from 12 to 3).


  • DIACFA- kind of behind SCIMAS, across from the Grande Marche. PAGES - downtown, somewhat near the grand poste


  • Dune, a block up from ISO on lefty side of street, turn up dirt road, great Mauritanian tissue vendors next door;
  • Anna's Fashion near Paradisio and Petrofa station
  • Issaka (76 67 69 79) and Victor (70 25 18 57) make house calls

Film developing:

  • Have had the best luck at ADC near Marina Market. Lotte Photo across from Scimas takes a bit longer, but also does a good enough job.


  • (Jan 2009) ATM's for both Visa and Maestro/Mastercard are available. The newly opened 'Banque Atlantique' is the only bank linked to the Maestro/Mastercard network. Since Oct 2008 the ATM is out of order.


Most larger buvettes have eats in the afternoons and evenings, but here are a few notables from the recommendations and favorites of Bobo Stage Goers:


  • Café Zaka - somewhat expensive, downtown near Scimas supermarket, live music and cool craft shop inside)
  • Gondwana (somewhat expensive, Zone du Bois, great atmosphere)


  • La Mayer-somewhat expensive, near the Grand Cathedral) 50 30 70 87


  • Verdoyant-somewhat expensive, near the Place de Nations Unites, serves excellent Lasagne (50 31 54 07)
  • Les Pilliers -somewhat expensive, Zone du Bois) 50 36 19 52
  • La Paillote (somewhat expensive, great pizza, delivers 50 31 87 34)
  • The Belvedere (somewhat expensive, amazing pizza, near the US embassy) 50 33 64 21

Middle Eastern

  • Sindibal's (cheaper, downtown, delivers50 30 58 74)
  • Chez Simone (cheaper, Kwame N Krumah, near Jimmy's 50 33 21 46)
  • Baratapas (cheaper, fun, homemade rum, near STMB gare)


  • Restaurant du Chine (somewhat expensive, downtown)
  • L'Orient- (Zone du Bois, on Babanguida towards the Route de Fada 50 36 15 01)


  • Hamburger House (cheaper, delivers 50 34 54 41)
  • ISO (cheaper, delivers 50 36 21 67)
  • Showbiz (across the street from Hotel Splendid- great milkshakes)
  • American Rec Center at the US embassy


  • Le Jardin Bambou, (Route de Fada towards Zone du Bois, 50 31 35 14)
  • Kim Son (cnr Kwame N'Krumah / Av de l'Aeroport) good but expensive


  • Coq Bleu (expensive, Kwame N Krumah 50 30 01 93)
  • Vert Galant (expensive, downtown)
  • l'Eau Vive (expensive, run by Catholic nuns)

Street food and snacks

All usually ~ 250 CFA per plate on the street, depending on quantity or if there is meat: Rice and Beans (Benga), Rice and Sauce (Riz Sauce), To and sauce, Atteike, Spaghetti, Rice and tomato sauce (Riz Gras), Snacks- Peanuts and dates everywhere, semi-easy to find dried mangoes.


There are many bars. Here are the favorites from the Bobo Stagieres (these are all bars you can dance in):

  • Music Hall (reasonable prices, often has a European crowd, somewhat near the grand post, towards the zone du bois)
  • New Jack's (more expensive, great mirrors, across from Hotel Splendid)
  • Cactus Bar (expensive, pool tables, Eurpoean crowd, across from Hotel Splendid)
  • Le Prive (more expensive, downtown, nice atmosphere)
  • The Sahel (often has live music, great atmosphere, cheaper)
  • Bar DeNiro (more expensive, pool tables)
  • L'Axe (Peace Corps favorite on the Route de Fada, local crowd, cheaper)
  • Le Citadel (cheaper, local crowd)
  • The New Acropoli, Zogona (just off the Circulaire near the Total Station, cheaper, local crowd)
  • Paladium (cheaper, downtown, local crowd)
  • Gazoum (local crowd, racy, always a big crowd, Babanguida)


Please note: All Peace Corps Volunteers from the Africa region are now welcome to stay at the Peace Corps Ouaga Transit house in Zone du Bois, off of Avenue Charles de Gaulle, for 4000 CFA a night.

  • Pavillon Vert, quartier Dapoya, next to Point Afrique office
  • Hotel Zamdogo, Zogona, near Peace Corps hostel (50 30 10 69)
  • "The Mission", FEME near the Meat Palace on the Route de Fada
  • Ouaga Dream, Quiet and clean place close to the airport, English spoken by friendly owner and there's great food. It's at Rue 6.43, close to crossroads av Bassawarga and av De la Revolution
  • Hotel Continental across from CineBurkina (50 30 43 60)
  • SIL near Gare de l'Est on the Route de Fada, no drinking or smoking allowed in compound (50 36 48 51)
  • CACS(Centre d'Acceuil et...): On the route de Fada.
  • Pension Sarah Located in Cite An II, good place to meet fellow travelers, good food
  • Hotel Splendid, Kwame N Krumah
  • Silmande, Zone du Bois, near the barrage
  • Hotel Palm Beach, 10 Avenue Kwame N'krumah, +226 50310991.  edit
  • Hotel Ricardo, (50 31 17 17) near the barrage
  • Hotel Independence, downtown, surrounded by art/artifact vendors, also offers haircuts, pedicures (5000 CFA), massages (50 30 60 60).


Post Office:

  • Grande Post (Sonapost) downtown, right on the Place des Nations Unies (M-F 8am-12pm, 3pm-5pm; Sat 8-12. No withdrawing money on Saturdays). Other post offices seem to follow the Monday-Friday schedules, but possibly closed on Saturdays. (If you don't have a box, there is a man who packages things to be shipped for 500-1000 CFA. Coming in the entrance, ask at the desk on the right.) There are also post offices in Dassasgho at the corner of Charles de Gaulle and the Circulaire, and on Charles de Gaulle near the intersection with Babanguida, just down from Surface Alimentation.


  • Dependable connections next to the grand post (across the street from the Verdoyant) and diagonal from Café Zaka (next to the fish market). *Hole in the wall places everywhere, just ask. 500-1000 CFA/hr.

Stay safe

The empty, grassy stretch just west of Ave. Kwame Nkrumah and south of the Grande Mosque is reputed to be very dangerous after dark.

If you are a foreign woman, don't tell anyone (except trusted friends) where you are staying unless you want everyone you meet to show up at your hotel or home.

When travelling, take the STMB busses; they drive slowly, but safely. SOGEBAF has the most crashes.

  • Canada, 586 Agostino Neto Street 01 P.O. Box 548 Ouagadougou 01, (226) 50 31 18 94 (, fax: (226) 50 31 19 00), [4]. Monday to Thursday: 08:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 Friday: 08:00 – 13:30.  edit
  • British Honorary Consulate, Based at ICI, Initiatives Conseil International, Impasse Thévenoud, 330, Secteur 01, (226) 50 30 88 60 (fax: (226) 50 31 25 43).  edit
  • United States, [5].  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:





  • IPA: /ˈwɑ:gəˈdu:gu:/

Proper noun


  1. The capital of Burkina Faso.


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