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Introduction

When thinking of a trip to Burkina Faso, think of a place busting with much to do and even more to learn about. Think of a place that has wonderful art, music and wildlife museums that will entertain any historian and all who wish to learn about the strong wealth in history and culture that Burkina Faso has. Think about the nightclub scene that has beautiful women, gorgeous men and the booming African and International music that demands that you hit the floor with all the moves you've got! Then think about the truly great investment it would be if you treated yourself to a vacation to one of the friendliest places in all of Africa.

Burkina Faso, home of the extremely proud Mossi people, has a strong reputation for defending their religious beliefs despite forcible attempts to convert the people to Islam. Late in the 19th century, the French claimed the land and called it Upper Volta and made it a separate French colony from the Côte d'Ivoire. After years and years of political pressure, even after World War II, the French had submitted and passed the Basic Law (Loi Cadre) in 1956. While Upper Volta was autonomous, it was only to a mediocre extent as the French continued to control much of the economic policies that the people had. Upper Volta finally achieved complete independence on August 5, 1960 with Maurice Yameogo as the first president. After a string of coups and laws that banned multi-party rule, a coup in 1983 proved to be a turning point in history. Following the coup, the regime was under the National Council for the Revolution with Capt. Thomas Sankara as the president. Upper Volta's name was changed to Burkina Faso meaning "the country of honorable people" and a huge development program was launched. Meeting much disagreement with the strict provisions of the programs, civil unrest began brewing and Sankara's popularity was diminishing. By 1987, the tension had festered into a violent coup that claimed Sankara's life. Blaise Campaore led the coup and assassination and took office vowing to maintain a platform that would rectify where he saw Sankara had faulted. Blaise Campaore remains in office as he has ruled with an iron hand. Most recently a coup attempt ended in the execution of the leader as well as those close to the conspirer. Sadly, tensions between the population and the Burkinabe government remains a problem as international concern for human rights, economic empowerment and the illegal smuggling of diamonds has grown over the years.

Today, Burkina Faso is the home of close to 14 million people and the official language that is spoken in French, even though other indigenous languages are spoken. Even though about 50% of the population practices Islam, indigenous belief systems follow closely behind commanding about 40% of the population. The other 10% of the people practice Christianity. There is a huge emphasis in Burkina Faso put on visual art, song and dance. This can be attributed to the commanding presence of indigenous belief practice as much the original culture prior to European or Islamic influence remains in tact. They are most famous art work is their craft with silk as they are known to make purses, clothing and other accessories out of silk. The Burkinabes are known most for their laid back and optimistic attitude.

Flights out of Europe usually fly out of Paris or Brussels into the capital city Ouagadougou, however if you are flying from out of the United States, you may have to catch a connecting flight from Paris, Abidjan, or Dakar. Crossing the border from a neighboring African country is fairly easy and cheap. Buses and vans run consistently through Ghana, Togo, Niger and Mali. Also available for navigating in, out and around the country are minibuses, vans and taxis, which are relatively cheap. Renting or driving your own car is also a good option, as the roads are in fairly good driving condition.

There are several local resorts available in Burkina Faso, but the Sofitel Ouagadougou Silmande Hotel has an outstanding reputation. This resort comes with a great selection in restaurants and bars, two vibrant nightclubs, convenient location to a golf course, a horseback riding outlet, tennis courts and this resort also has a full sized swimming pool complete with pool-side service. When pondering a trip to Burkina Faso, there really is nothing to think about as Burkina Faso promises not to disappoint in the vacation experience that awaits you.

 


Introduction

Burkina Faso, a hub of Africa's filmmaking scene, boasts a diverse artistic community, museums and a landscape that will satisfy anyone with an interest in West African history and culture.

Home of the Mossi people, late in the 19th century the French claimed what is now Burkina Faso and called it Upper Volta. It gained independence in 1960. After a string of military takeovers and single-party rule, a coup in 1983 proved the turning point. The National Council for the Revolution under the presidency of Capt. Thomas Sankara took control and Upper Volta's name was changed to Burkina Faso, meaning ?the country of honorable people?. A coup in 1987 claimed Sankara's life. Blaise Compaore led the coup remains in office. International observers say elections have been mixed in terms of the government's commitment to fairness and democracy.

Burkina Faso is home to 14.3 million people and French is the official language, although other indigenous languages are spoken. Approximately half the population practices Islam, 10 percent follow Christianity and the other 40 percent adhere to indigenous beliefs. The people of Burkina Faso place heavy emphasis on visual art, song and dance. The Burkinabe are famous for their artwork as well as their skill with silk - making purses, clothing and other accessories.

Burkina Faso has three national parks. At the Nazinga Ranch, a game reserve just south of the capital, Ouagadougou, visitors can view elephants, monkeys, baboons and more. Southwest of Bobo-Dioulasso are the Karfiguela waterfalls. In the city of Bobo-Dioulasso itself a guide can take visitors through the Kibidwé where some of the town's musicians live and perform.

There are direct flights from Paris or Brussels into Ouagadougou, although it is also possible to transit through Abidjan or Dakar. Crossing the border from a neighboring African country is fairly easy and cheap. Buses and vans run consistently through Ghana, Togo, Niger and Mali. Also available for navigating in, out and around the country are minibuses, vans and taxis. Renting a car is also a good option, as the roads are in fairly good condition.

There are several local resorts in Burkina Faso, but the Sofitel Ouagadougou Silmande Hotel has an outstanding reputation. This resort comes with a great selection in restaurants and bars and has two vibrant nightclubs. It also offers a golf course, horseback riding, tennis courts and a full-sized swimming pool complete with pool-side service.


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