Dori is located between two very large barrages (stream barriers). One barrage is very old, and the other one is under construction. (It should be finished in 2005.) There are also other slightly smaller barrages that form all over town during the rainy seasons. They make Dori a difficult place to navigate in the rainy season. Sand is another obstacle encountered when moving around in Dori. It is difficult to ride your bike through the sand during the dry season.
Several languages are spoken in Dori. Most people speak Fulfulde (the language of Africa's Fulani societies), but there is also a lot of Mooré spoken around. Lots of children speak French -- at least well enough to ask white girls for gifts, candy, and/or money. You can also find people of various ethnicities; hence, many other languages are spoken in different neighborhoods ("cartiers", in French). There are Peuhls, Mossis, Songrai (Songhay), Bella, Gulmance, Tauregs, people from Mauritania, and others.
To Dori from Ouagadougou There are 3 options: SOGEBAF, TSR, and STMB. SOGEBAF and TSR go from Ouaga to Dori twice daily. SOGEBAF goes to Gorom and Markoye, and will occasionally add more busses for Ouaga if there is a demand. SOGEBAF and TSR leave both from the Sankariare gare (Fr. for “station platform”) de SOGEBAF. The TSR station is next to the SOGEBAF station. They both leave at 7h and 16h. The Ouaga – Dori bus trip costs 5000 CFA. Each Wednesday both companies send a bus to the marché of Gorum-Gorum. This bus leaves at 10h and can be very crowded. On Sundays, they send a bus to Markoye, at the same time. STMB goes from Ouaga to Dori, but only once a day. The bus leaves from the main STMB bus station at 15h. It costs 5000 CFA.
From Dori to Ouagadougou: There are the same 3 options, but the times of departure vary slightly. SOGEBAF leaves at 7h and 13h30m every day from their gare, which is past the round point on the left, and it costs 5000 CFA. TSR leaves from their gare, which is on the other side of the block from SOGEBAF. They leave at 6h30m and 13h00 and cost 5000 CFA. STMB leaves only once a day, at 8h00m, from the gare next to the marché, and it costs 5000 CFA.
From Dori to other parts of the Sahel Go to the gare routière de (“bus station of”) Dori. It is actually the same place as the gare de STMB. At the gare you will see lots of bush taxis going to all sorts of destinations. It is uncertain where or when they go. It can be said that they don’t go to other parts of the Sahel that often. Marché day in Dori definitely provides more road transportation options to the Sahel. Good luck.
From Dori to Gorom-Gorom Go to the TSR gare and ask about anything going to Gorum. There is almost always at least one camion (“truck”) per day going to Gorum. The rainy season will make the trip a lot more difficult, with fewer vehicles, and, depending on the water level, the road can be impassable in places. Alternatively, as stated earlier, SOGEBAF and maybe TSR go from Ouaga to Gorum on Wednesdays at 10h and to Markoye on Sundays at 10h. The bus goes to Gorum and Markoye, respectively, the night before the Marché day, then leaves and goes back to Ouaga, supposedly the following morning; usually, it takes a little longer before the bus sets off from the Marché.
Le Marché (the market) is on the left, after the STMB Station. Marché day is Friday, but you can buy almost anything on any day of the week. There is a decent selection of fruits, vegetables, meat, and peanut butter. There are also assorted leaves, rocks and dirt.
The blankets are the specialty of the marché in Dori. They are all handmade in a small village near Dori. Also available are turbans, boubous (West African sleeved gowns), and pagnes (loinclothes) of all varieties.
Bathilly’s Boutique is the world-famous Peace Corps boutique in Dori. They provide things much close to our acquired tastes. They are very nice people, who have lots of supplies and own other locations in the Sahel. Theirs is the best selection in Dori -- frozen goods, butter, eggs, oatmeal, and tuna. Bathilly's is past the Marché, on the right. The other boutiques in the vicinity have the standard selection.
Dori has many tailors but not many who can make top quality outfits. There are many tailors, in the middle of the marché, who get curtains or clothes hemmed. However, for more detailed tailoring you should go to Ideal Couture. You pass Bathilly’s on your right, with the marché on your left. Keep going until it seems you get into a neighborhood, and Ideal Couture should be on your left, across from a hardware and construction supply store (quincaillerie, in French). This taylor has made stuff for generations of Peace Corps volunteers.
Almost every Peace Corps volunteer owns a famous Dori blanket. Look for Amadou in the middle of the marché. Also, you can pick up a turban to complete your Tuareg look for the dusty season. No Tuareg look would be complete without the silver jewelry. For authentic Tuareg silver accessories, go straight from the round point towards the marché. Make the next right after passing the end of the marché. The little workshop (basically, a hangar with guys working in it) will be 50 meters up on your left.
There are some small sand dunes in the small village of Djamga, at 7 km from Dori. You can bike out there, or you can take camels. If you hire camels, the prices should be in the range of 10 to 15 mille francs (10,000-15,000 CFA) for a half-day trip, and 15 to 20 mille francs for an overnight trip.
Porc au four — best pork in Dori, excellent atmosphere, friendly staff. They make pork almost everyday, but be there early as it goes fast. You can place your order in the morning, but it is usually ready by 10h30m, and the pork supply is finished shortly thereafter. It is directly across the street from the local prison and L'Auberge.
Tele poulet — rotisserie chickens, stuffed with couscous. Very good, usually only in the evenings. Again, they go quick, and on certain nights of the week you should order in advance. Turn right at the round point, and it is ahead, on the right.
Le Relais — excellent brochettes, fried chicken (Kentucky fried!), French fries, green beans, peas, and a seasonal "salade" (French for "salad"). Almost always open for lunch and dinner. Turn right at the roundpoint and walk to the end of that road. It's pretty far, but at the end of the road Le Relais will be across the street, to the right.
Mouton au four — available between 10h and 12h at the Ambiance Seno. From the round point walk through the "gare de STMB" and turn right. Walk a while, and the Ambiance will be on the right.
Restaurant togolais — FuFu and other West African delicacies. Next to the Ambiance Seno.
Crepuscule — a convenient restaurant, next to the "gare de STMB" and across from Ryan’s internet place. They serve rice with a variety of sauces every day. They may also serve a daily special ("plat du jour"). They make an excellent yogurt, have lots of ice cold water on hand, and the people who work there are very nice.
L'Auberge- located next to the local prison, provides convenient lunches and dinners, although slightly more expensive than the other restaurants in the area. But you can almost always find something to eat there -- chickens, brochettes, couscous, spaghetti, and rice and sauce. The people there are not the friendliest, but sometimes you've got to eat.
You'll find an excellent street food across the street from L'Auberge -- meat and omelet sandwiches in the morning and through lunch. There is a really nice guy that makes them next to the bakery. At night, they grill excellent chickens, too.
There are lots of options for grilled meat across the street from SOGEBAF.
Dori attracts many of Ouagadougou's world-renowned rappers, and they come up to give concerts on a pretty regular basis. Also, there are several festivals every year, the end of,, and the festival of the cows. All bring live music and interesting entertainment options.
Rev nightclub is the only place to find dancing in Dori on a regular basis, generally every Friday and Saturday night. Right at the round point, then left at the intersection with the billboard, then take the second right, and it should be some 5km ahead, on the right.
Auberge Populaire, next to the prison. The inmates get especially rowdy at night, and they can put on a show if given the right music.
There is a Satellite TV place where you can watch soccer games and watch VCDs. It is located straight down from the round point headed toward the marché, in between both Internet cafés. Also, there are DVDs available to watch at Ryan house, with rumored surround sound.
Every so often national stars make up the trip to Dori and perform. So, when you go to the internet, look for a poster to see if anyone is stopping through. On Fridays and Saturdays you can go to Le Rêve, the happening nightclub.
The festival of the cow is in December; it celebrate cows for a week.
Auberge Populaire -- 3000 CFA per night. Shared toilet with private shower, fan, and mosquito nets. If you are lucky you can hear the inmates next door. The hotel is on the road to Gorom-Gorom, next to the local prison.
Sahel Hebergement and Annex -- a 3 to 4km walk from the bus station if you don’t have a land cruiser. Air-conditioning and satellite TV. Turn right at the round point and go until the T, then turn left and go some 300 meters.
Hotel Oasis -- even further away from the bus station than the Hebergement. Ask a guide how to get there.
Its hours are 7h30m until 12h and 15h until 17h. It takes at least 30 minutes to cash a check, so plan to be there 30 minutes before closing. Straight at the round point past the prison, then turn right. Turn left at the church, then right at the T. The post office should be on the left.
Internet in Dori is a tricky thing. At both places the customer service is horrible, the computers are old, and it is hard to come by a computer that would read floppy disks and/or CDs.
Contact Service: Hours are 7h-22h Monday-Sunday. In theory a connection should be possible during the hours of operation, but you never know what might happen. Prices: 500 CFA for each 15 minutes, with price reductions available for multiple users who connect simultaneously.
La Colombe: This Internet cafe is much cheaper than Contact Service, but has the Cyber Café monitoring program that restricts your computer use. Besides, the keyboards there are really old, so it's hard to type emails fast and effectively. However, its 250 CFA price for 15 minutes makes it an attractive option. Hours are 8h-21h, and it is occasionally closed during the repos.