Although Bobo-Dioulasso is the second largest city in Burkina Faso, it still feel like a small town. It’s completely walkable, quiet, and in comparison to other cities in West Africa it’s completely tame. Completely agreeable, Bobo-Dioulasso is the cultural center of Burkina Faso with brilliant artwork, deep cultural history, and some of the best music in all of Africa. The city known locally simply as Bobo is a great place to hang out on the weekend, although the street-side maquis are packed every single day of the week.
Time Needed: 2-3 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 30-40 USD a day
Things to do and see in Bobo Dioulasso
Bobo is one of the few cities in West Africa which actually have quite a lot to offer tourists. You don’t need to escape to the surrounding areas to find activities, you can definitely find plenty of entertainment in the city.
- The Grand Mosque: This is one of the more impressive mud-brick mosques in all of West Africa. This also where a swam of guides hang out. Thus, if you want a guide this is the place to go. You can get into the mosque if you go with a guide though officially it’s off limits to non-muslims.
- The Ancient City: In the shadows of the grand mosque, the ancient city seems a world apart from the rest of town. There are few cars, just narrow walkways and mud built buildings. You’ll need a guide to get in, and even if it weren’t it would be worth it to get one.
- Music Museum: If you’re into African music this is a great, albeit small, place to get in touch with the musical side of Burkinabe life.
Where to Eat in Bobo-Dioulasso
There are lots of maquis in town that offer food and a couple good expat-type restaurants. You definitely won’t starve in Bobo.
- Don Gregori’s: Though Italian sounding, this place is all local. If you come around lunch time it will be packed. If you can grab a seat you’ll get a meal and a soda for about $2.
- Dankan: Still African in fare, Dankan serves more upmarket local dishes. It’s a good place for dinner and the service is awesome.
- L’Eau Vive: This is at a Catholic mission of sorts. The food is really good, although quite expensive.
- Villa Rose: You’ll have to be a guest, but if you let the know you want dinner they’ll likely spoil you with a nice dinner and a glass of wine.
Where to Stay in Bobo-Dioulasso
There is a good bit of accommodation in Bobo. Most of the guesthouses in town are fairly small but well looked after.
- Villa Rose: Just off the railroad tracks but still near all the attractions, this place is great. I got a private single room with an ensuite for 8,000 CFA ($16) a night. They also have wifi and food if you order in advance.
- Casafrica: Decent if you’re on a really tight budget. It’s simple, but at the very least it’s clean.
- Villa Bobo: A favourite of some, for me it was a bit of a pain as there are only 4-5 rooms. They told me they had space and to just turn up, and when I did they were full. In the end, I was glad to be at Villa Rose despite the fact that Villa Rose has a pool.
Getting Out of Town
It’s not an issue getting out of Bobo-Dioulasso as it is well connected. There is transport to anywhere in Burkina Faso. Moreover, you can get to Ghana, Mali or Cote d’Ivoire using public transport out of Bobo.
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