We passed into Burkina Faso from Benin on a Wednesday afternoon. Burkina is a land-locked country in the Sahel region.
Burkina was for years called Upper Volta, or Haute Volta in French. The new name means ‘country of `honest men’ a name given it by highly admired president in 1973 by a President who was later taken out and shot by the military following a coup. Dry and poor, it is ranked 173 out of 178 countries on the UN Human Development Index (HDI). I had heard that despite, or perhaps because of, the geographical and environmental challenges Burkina had developed some good agricultural and water management practices that compared very favourable to Ghana so I was interested to see it.
The border crossing was without any hassle. Staff on both sides were very pleasant, although the facilities on the Burkina side extremely basic. We sat in a shabby room with a nice gentlemen in uniform who was watching television (just like Ghanaian Immigration staff were when we left to go into Togo) surrounded by discarded office furniture as we came in. He stamped our passports and wished us a pleasant stay in Burkina.
We spent the first night in a pleasant rural hotel restaurant run by a French couple near a town called Pama. They gave us a great spot to set up camp on their lovely grounds just far enough away from the goat pen. We took advantage of their restaurant for supper and endured one of the longest Celine Dion sets ever known, which was presented by the DJ for the benefit of the visiting Canadians. The next morning we took advantage of their water pump to do laundry and clean the worst of the Pendjari dust from the interior of the Defender.
We were on the road to Ougadougou by early afternoon.