Short Travel Guide on How to Travel Around Banfora
Western part of Burkina Faso, around Banfora, is the most breathtaking area of Burkina for many travellers. The most famous are Sindou Peaks, Karfiguéla Waterfalls and Domes of Fabedougou. Below are some useful and practical information on things to do around Banfora Burkina Faso.
Banfora itself doesn’t have much to offer, except plenty of accommodation and restaurants. But because of its position – it lies nearby many of Burkinabé natural wonders – this small city is an unavoidable stop.
If you are departing from Bobo-Dioulasso by bus, take TCV (only one at 8 am) or better Rakiéta (8 daily, every 2 hours). Duration is 1h 30 mins – 2h. Should be the similar time schedule if departing from Ouaga, duration around 7h.
Accommodation in Banfora
In Banfora, there are many hotels and guesthouses (auberge) at all price ranges. If you are looking for a middle range, consider choosing La Cannes à Sucre, just few steps from Rakiéta bus station. Single room with fan costs 8 500 CFA, double room with a/c around 20 000 CFA. It is beautifully decorated, with a restaurant and good facilities.
If you are looking for lower prices and don’t mind spending time in more African environment, choose Auberge, where room (2 persons) costs 4000 CFA and hut (2 persons) 4500 CFA, both with bathroom, toilet and few lizards. Just next to the Auberge, there is a small local shop which offers few simple dishes and good breakfast (for less than 1 €!).
Domes of Fabedougou – Les Dômes de Fabedougou
Both, waterfalls and domes lie far from the Banfora main road and are therefore not reachable by public transport. When arriving to Banfora by public transport, local guides will not miss the opportunity to offer you a tour by motorbike and a guide.
This few hours tour to waterfalls and domes, which are located near each other, will not be that cheap. The first price they offered me was 15 000 CFA. After negotiating we agreed on 9 000 CFA + 2 000 CFA for entry fee (1000 each). It takes around 30 minutes on a dusty road to get there, with gorgeous sceneries of rice and sugar cane fields with big rocks in the background.
I first visited Dômes de Fabedougou, which lie about 3 km ahead from the waterfalls and about 1 km before the village of Fabedougou. For its local residents, these terrific rock are something ordinary since for me were just incredible natural creativity.
These limestone formations date back to 1.8 billion years, when the area was covered by sea, and were afterwards reshaped by erosion. For a greater view, climb on top of a stone. These formations strongly remind of Bungle Bungles in Australia, which attract hundreds of tourists every day, meanwhile Burkinabé’s still remain quite unspoilt and »free of tourists«.
Karfiguéla Waterfalls – Cascades de Karfiguéla
Around 3 km before domes lies and entrance point to the waterfalls. After parking motorbike, follow the short pathway, surrounded by mango trees.
After climbing up, you will reach the final (starting) point of the waterfalls. It is good to wear swimming suit so that you can dip yourself in a cool water. Me and my guide bought some simple food in Banfora and had a small picnic in the shade just by the waterfalls.
Sindou peaks Pics de Sindou
Sindou Peaks are another natural wonder. Similar to Domes of Fabedougou, these limestone formations had been sculpted by erosion. The chain of formations is 5 km long and 1 km wide and this valley used to be the ancient village for “Sindou residents”.
You can take a 45 minutes tour around the peaks (2 000 CFA) or a day/few days hiking tour (from 20 000 – 25 000 CFA/day with camping, depends on a group number), but you have to arrange it in advance.
Reaching Sindou peaks Pics de Sindou
A day tour with motorbike and guide costs around 25 000 CFA (try to bargain for lower!). Cheaper possibility is taking public transport, which is unfortunately not very frequent, and spend a night in Sindou village. Taxi-brousses (vans) run from Banfora to Sindou in the afternoon hours and leave when they get some passengers. Price for tourists is 2 000 CFA, for locals 1 500 CFA (you can negotiate again, I did not want to argue), duration around 1 hour (50 km).
If you want to spend a night or two in Campement Soutrala (if you use public transport there is no other option since the bus from Banfora leaves in the late afternoon and goes back in the early morning), inform the driver before and he will stop just in front of it. Going back to Banfora/Bobo-Dioulasso: every morning at 6 or 7 am, 8 or 9 am, ask staff in the campsite for the details.
Accommodation AroundSindou peaks Pics de Sindou
Campement Solidaire Soutrala lies 0,5 km after the entrance to the peaks and around 1 km before the village of Sindou. A room/hut costs 5 000 CFA/night, bathroom and electricity provided. It is not easy to find food around, but young and friendly staff can prepare good Burkinabé meals for you, so the best option is to let them in advance that you want to order a meal at the camp itself (breakfast 1 000, lunch/dinner 600 CFA, drinking water also available).
Soutrala as well as touring around the peaks is run by local tourism cooperative Association Djiguiya (for more information or booking call Tiémoko Ouattare on +22676084660 or email email@example.com
More Information and Travel Tips for Sindou peaks Pics de Sindou:
- Entrance fee for domes and waterfalls: 1 000 CFA; for peaks 2 000 CFA.
- For a greater view on domes and peaks, climb up the stone.
- Buy enough of water before you depart, there will not be any bottled water available on the way.
- If you know how to ride a motorbike, consider renting one for only 5 000 CFA/day (without fuel). Then you can freely wander around, even visit remote villages etc. The road to Sindou peaks is newly surfaced, to waterfalls and domes dusty and jumpy.
- Before Karfiguéla waterfalls, there is a small guesthouse, if you want to spend a night there. Very basic, cheap, no electricity, no shops, markets or any food to buy around, but the guesthouse does offer some drinks (not cold).
- If you are on a tight schedule, you can visit all three spots in the same day.
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