The town of Banfora is easily Burkina Faso’s biggest tourism center, and there is good reason why. While the town of Banfora itself is quite pleasant, it is the surrounding region that is full of worthy tourism gems. The best part is that all of the places are easy to visit and hassle-free. From waterfalls, to hippos, to the beautiful Sindou Peaks, there’s enough excitement around Banfora to keep you in the area for at the very least a couple days. This town has all the makings of a backpacker’s paradise, and I have to think that if it manages to cling somewhat to what it is now, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a much larger tourism destination than it already is.
Time Needed: 3-4 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: $35-45 USD a day
Things to Do and See in Banfora
Well there isn’t a whole lot for tourists to do in town itself, within the outlying areas there are plenty of worthy sites and activities. If you have your own vehicle, you can do many of these activities on your own in one day. However, if you’re relying on public transport you might find yourself waiting more than enjoying. My recommendation if you don’t have a vehicle is to rent a scooter. Ask in town, but there are quite a few places that rent them out.
- Tengrela Lake: About 10km outside of town on the road towards Sindou, Tengrela Lake is home to quite a few hippos. In the dry season they are really visible, but in the wet season high waters make them a tricky spot. However, if you go early in the morning you’re almost guaranteed a sighting.
- Karfiguela Waterfalls: This is a series of waterfalls, and while they’re not Niagara Falls, they are impressive. The geology of the falls is interesting, and the falls make a great place for a picnic. There is a parking lot with security and guides available if you need one.
- Domes de Fabedougou: Near the Karfiguela Waterfalls these hills are quite interesting. You can get to the hills on your own, or you can actually take a guide from the waterfalls.
- The Sindou Peaks: It’s a bit of a long day trip, but it’s completely possible to visit the Sindou Peaks in a day trip from Banfora.
Where to Eat in Banfora
There are quite a few expat style restaurants in town, and most of them also sell local foods. Most of the hotels also have good restaurants attached. Below are a couple of my favourite restaurants in Banfora:
- Calypso: A good restaurant kind of hidden down a dirt road. Theyserve pizza and well priced local food in a pleasant courtyard.
- Hotel la Canne a Sucre: Great restaurant with a higher class feel to it. They have great steaks and properly homemade ice cream which is expensive but worth it.
Where to Stay in Banfora
There is actually a surprisingly good assortment of accommodation in Banfora and much of it is quite reasonably priced.
- Le Calypso: Though owned by the same people as the restaurant, it’s in a different part of town, just off the highway towards Bobo-Dioulasso. They have dorms and private rooms. It’s good value as they have wifi as well. This is where I stayed.
- Hotel Le Canne a Sucre: Even though it’s quite fancy, the price is actually quite reasonable as you can get a single room with a fan for about $20.
- Camping Siakadougou: You’ll likely need your own vehicle to stay out here since it’s a ways out of town, but if you do it’s good value at $4 per person to camp. They also have rooms from about $6.
Getting out of Town
There is plenty of transport leaving Banfora as it’s a bit of a hub. Traffic from here leads to Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and to the interior of Burkina Faso. Getting to Bobo-Dioulasso or Ouagadougou is a piece of cake as there are constant buses to the cities. Getting to places like Sindou or Niansogoni is more difficult but generally leave every morning around 7-8am.
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