Burkina Faso at a Glance
Moving to Burkina Faso
Expatriates moving to Burkina Faso will likely find themselves living in the south or center of the country. The nation is divided up into 13 administrative regions, each of which has a Governor. Nature-loving expatriates will enjoy the varied wildlife to be found in Burkina Faso, including elephants, lions, leopards, lynx, and buffalo, which thrive in four national parks in the country.
The Land and Its People
The landlocked nation of Burkina Faso has been independent from France since 1960 but French remains the language of the government. The population is estimated to be around 17.3 million, with most people residing in the center and south of the country, although numbers fluctuate with many Burkinabe migrating regularly to neighboring countries for agricultural work. There are two main tribes in Burkina Faso: the Voltaic Mossi and the Mande. The Mossi make up around half the population and the Mossi language of Moore is spoken by about 40% of people.
Around 70 languages are spoken within the country, with the governmental official language being French. It is thought that around 50–60% of the population practices Islam, with another large percentage being Christian. The land is predominantly flat with some rolling hills. Burkina Faso was previously called Upper Volta on account of the three rivers that flow through it: the Black Volta, White Volta and Red Volta. Expatriates living in Burkina Faso will experience two distinct seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season brings up to 900 mm of precipitation and lasts from May to September. During the dry season, a hot, dry wind, called the harmattan, blows across from the Sahara.
Visas for Burkina Faso
Visas are required to enter Burkina Faso, and while most expatriates will be provided one on arrival, it may be prudent and less expensive to organize this in advance. Some other West African nations are exempt from requiring a visa at all, and these details can be checked online. Proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination may be required, and it has been known that unvaccinated visitors be vaccinated at the airport on arrival, or charged a fee.
Getting to Burkina Faso
A number of international airlines, including Air France and Brussels Airlines, fly to Burkina Faso, and it is possible to reach the country from Casablanca, Dakar, Paris and Addis Ababa, among other places. There is a national flag carrier; Air Burkina, which flies to other countries in West Africa, as well as a few other European destinations. It is not uncommon to make stop overs in route to collect passengers from other countries. It is possible to enter Burkina Faso by land, but this can often result in extra fees. There is also a train line into the country.