Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A bit about Bobo

Bobo-Dioulasso, known as Bobo, is the second city of Burkina. It’s quite big, around half a million inhabitants, and about 10km across side to side. It's sprawling, even in the centre it’s not very densely occupied, with very little high rise. As you go out from the centre, it’s more like an agglomeration of villages. The main arterial roads are hard surfaced – in between the potholes that is – but the roads off are mostly unfinished red dust roads, and the roads off those even less well made, with lots of humps and bumps and, after rain, puddles of unknown depth. I live on a main road which has a tarmac finish, and lots of little roadside kiosks and enterprises under every tree – there are quite a lot of trees in Bobo, more so than in Ouaga.Just round the corner, there are animals – sheep, goats, cows (Zebu cattle with humps), a few horses – living in the street and in the courtyards off the street, and there are hens, chickens, cockerels everywhere, even on the edges of the main road. I’ll try and post some pics but am conscious of the need to be careful and avoid causing offence when photographing.

The traffic consists of a mix of pedestrians, handcarts, donkey carts, cyclists, mopeds, motorbikes, green taxis and a few private cars – not many coaches or lorries, although there are a few – I think they don’t really get in to town very much, but are common on the roads between towns.

If you want to have a look on Google Earth, the coordinates of the building where I live are something like

11° 10’ 58” N and 4° 18’ 45” W

And the building where I work, which is quite close by:

11° 10’ 23” N and 4° 18’ 31” W

In the centre of town there are hotels, restaurants, cafes, a huge market and lots of shops, some touting African Art and souvenirs to tourists, but more serving locals. And of course loads more roadside stalls, selling shoes (mostly flip flops/thongs or trainers), clothes, bags, kitchen equipment….. but more about shopping another time!


  1. Fascinating read. Really shocked to read the average life expectancy for Burkina Faso on Wikki.

  2. Yes, its very noticeable how different the balance between young and old is from back home

  3. Just wait till the Tories get in, they'll probably soon be on a similar par...!