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Sub Saharan Africa

Burkina Faso Flag of Burkina Faso

Still current at: 27 August 2009
Updated: 23 June 2009

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Crime section (change of e-mail address). The overall level of the advice has not changed.


(see travel advice legal disclaimer)


Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its Pandemic Threat Alert Phase to Level 6. The WHO website at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html has further details. Check Swine Flu for further information.

  • There is no British Embassy in Burkina Faso.  In case of an emergency you should contact the British Embassy in Accra, Ghana. There is an Honorary Consul in Burkina Faso, but they can only offer limited consular assistance.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Most visits to Burkina Faso are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Burkina Faso in 2007 was for replacing lost and stolen passports.

  • Before travelling, you should seek medical advice and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  See the Health section of this advice for more details.

  • You should carry some form of identification with you at all times.

  • We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a low threat from terrorism.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public places, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

For further information and advice see Terrorism Abroad.

Crime

There have been incidents involving armed groups stopping vehicles (including public buses) to rob them in various parts of the country, particularly at night.  You should avoid all travel between towns by road at night.  See local travel section for further details.
 
Street crime poses high risks for visitors.  Most reported incidents involve opportunist snatches of purses, wallets, jewellery and other valuable.  Thieves are particularly active in crowds.  The areas near and around the UN Circle and the former Central Market in Ouagadougou experience the highest amount of street crime.  You should take sensible precautions.  Do not carry valuables in public places or walk alone at night.

British nationals resident in the UK and European nationals are increasingly becoming targets by scam artists operating in West Africa. The scams come in many forms: romance & friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities, the facilitation of money (for internet dating scams see below), and can pose great financial risk to victims. Relatives or friends in the UK should first check with the person who has travelled to West Africa before becoming involved in the transfer of money. If you are concerned about a British national who has travelled to Burkina Faso you should contact the Consular Section of the British High Commission, Accra (E-mail: High.Commission.Accra@fco.gov.uk). Schemes in operation by West African criminal networks are designed to facilitate victims parting with money.

British nationals are also being targeted by West African scam artists through internet based dating sites. The scam artists assume the false identity of a foreign national (sometimes British) working and living in West Africa. In some instances the impostor has informed their foreign friend that they have been hospitalised or arrested and need money quickly. In other cases foreigners have come to West Africa to meet the person with whom they have been in contact only to be kidnapped and become the victim of financial extortion.

You will wish to treat with considerable caution any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa. For further information on advance fee fraud please see: http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert.

For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.
 
Political Situation

Burkina Faso Country Profile

The political situation is generally stable. 
 
There are occasional demonstrations in Ouagadougou about political or economic grievances; it is wise to avoid these.
 
A dispute between police and military forces led to exchanges of gunfire in Ouagadougou on 20 December 2006. There were civil demonstrations in Bobo Dioulasso in February 2008.
 
Local Travel
 
As mentioned in the Crime section, there have been incidents involving armed groups stopping vehicles (including public buses) to rob them in various parts of the country, particularly at night.  You should avoid travel between towns by road at night.  This applies particularly to roads from Bobo Dioulasso to Ivory Coast, and Fada to Benin and Togo, due to a history of incidents in these areas.
 
You should avoid all travel by road from Ouagadougou to Po as banditry in these areas has worsened since the start of 2007.  Incidents are not confined to principal routes: Secondary roads (notably roads in the east to Benin, Bogande and Gayeri) are also affected.
 
You should exercise caution travelling by road between Burkina Faso and Niger. There have been reports of bandits using land mines to attack lorries travelling on the road from Ouagadougou to Niamey. You should travel in convoy where possible and seek local advice before setting out.  Where possible you should follow a police patrol.
 
Road Travel
 
You can drive in Burkina Faso on a UK driving licence.

Travel at night, especially outside towns, should be avoided.  With a few exceptions, roads are poor with few street lights.  There is the risk of banditry and also of hitting stray livestock.  Road conditions off the main roads are often difficult, especially in the rainy season (June-September).  Vehicles do not always have headlights and are often in unsound mechanical condition.

It is advisable to stay on clearly marked roads or tracks (and to avoid minor roads in remote areas) unless travelling in convoy.  If you break down off a main road you may not be able to attract help.  Carry sufficient drinking water to last you if you break down.

For more general information see Driving Abroad.

Air Travel

You should reconfirm onward/return flights 72 hours in advance.

The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.  You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel - European Commission Transport - Air.
 
For more general information see Airline Security.

Local laws and customs

If you commit a criminal offence, for example, drug trafficking, you can expect to be subjected to local law.  Local prison conditions are harsh.
 
You should not photograph military or other government installations.
 
Homosexuality is illegal.

You should carry ID (passport or residence permit) at all times, particularly when driving or taking a taxi outside Ouagadougou, when you are likely to have to produce it.
 
You should carry ID (passport or residence permit) at all times, particularly when driving or taking a taxi outside Ouagadougou, when you are likely to have to produce it.

For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

Entry requirements

Visas
 
British nationals require a valid visa and a certificate of vaccination against yellow fever to enter Burkina Faso.  Burkina Faso is represented in the UK on a non-resident basis from its Embassy.  The Embassy's website provides details of visa requirements.  The Honorary Consul of Burkina Faso to the UK, Mr Colin Seelig (01306 627 225), may also be able to assist with applications.  It may also be possible to obtain visas from the Burkina Faso Embassy in Paris (159 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008, Paris, France; Phone: +33-1-4359-2185/+33-1-4359-9063; Fax: +33-1-4256-5007; Email: amba.burkina.faso@wanadoo.fr; website URL: www.ambaburkinafrance.org - in French).

Health

Medical facilities in Burkina Faso are very limited.  For serious medical treatment, evacuation to Europe is necessary.

Malaria and other tropical and water-borne diseases are common.  You should consider taking protections against malaria and using insect repellent.

Burkina Faso suffers from an annual meningitis epidemic from January to May.  It spreads quickly, then is rapidly stopped by the onset of the rainy season.

Safe drinking water is scarce in Burkina Faso.  You should drink only boiled/bottled water and you should take adequate supplies of drinkable water if travelling in rural areas.

In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 120,000 adults aged 15 or over in Burkina Faso were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 1.6% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%.  You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Burkina Faso and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

For more general health information see Travel Health.
 
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
 
The World Animal Health Organization (OIE) has confirmed that there has been an outbreak of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in poultry at a farm near Ouagadougou.  No human infections or deaths have been reported.
 
The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low.  As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

You should read this advice in conjunction with Avian and Pandemic Flu, which gives more detailed advice and information.

General

Insurance

We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. This should include cover for medical treatment and evacuation, accidents, cancelled flights and stolen cash, credit cards, passport and luggage. For more general information see Travel Insurance.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is How We Can Help.
 
Consular assistance and registration
 
There is no British Embassy in Burkina Faso.  The British Ambassador to Burkina Faso resides in Accra.  Our Honorary Consul, Mr Patrick de Leland, can only offer limited consular assistance in an emergency.  His contact details are:
 
Mr Patrick de Lelande
Honorary Consulate of the UK in Burkina Faso
01 BP 6490 Ouagadougou 01 BURKINA FASO
Based at ICI, Initiatives Conseil International
Impasse Thévenoud, 330
Tel: +226 50 30 88 60
Fax: +226 50 31 25 43
E-mail: consulat-uk@fasonet.bf
 
The office is situated 150 metres from the Cathedral going towards City Hall on the right hand side. We recommend that British passport holders travelling to Burkina Faso register with the British High Commission in Accra using the  LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.

Money

Visa cards are accepted by a few of the larger hotels and restaurants in Ouagadougou (as are travellers' cheques denominated in Euros).  You are unlikely to be able to use them anywhere outside the capital.  Other brands of credit cards are not accepted.  There are a few ATMs in Ouagadougou (Visa only).  Travellers' cheques are exchangeable in banks in Ouagadougou.  Euro travellers' cheques are exchanged at the fixed rate prevailing between the CFA Franc and the Euro; exchange rates on other currency travellers' cheques can be poor.  In general, and in particular outside Ouagadougou, you should ensure you have enough cash to cover any eventuality.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

Ghana, Accra, British High Commission

Address:

British High Commission
Osu Link
off Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue
PO Box 296

Telephone:

(00) (233) (21) 221665
(00) (233) (21) 7010650
(00) (233) (21) 7010721 Visa section

Fax:

(00) (233) (21) 7010655
(00) (233) (21) 221715 Visa Section

Email: high.commission.accra@fco.gov.uk

Office hours:

Main Office:
Monday to Thursday 07:45 - 15:45 hours
Friday: 07:45 - 13:45 hours

Consular section opening hours:
0800-1400 Mon-Thurs and 0800-1000 Friday

Website: http://ukinghana.fco.gov.uk/en/



 

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