Dominant Mossi ethnicity, but many other ethnicities are also here (Samo, Gourounsi, Lobi, etc).
Languages spoken: French, Moore, some Jula (derivative of Bambara).
Ouaga is served by its main international airport Ouagadougou Airport which is situated within the city center. The distance from the airport to the United Nations roundabout is no more than a 3 minute taxi ride. A shared taxi, the green ones, should cost no more than 500CFA, but many will ask for 1000CFA.
The airport is small and disorganized like many African airports. There are very few major carriers that travel to Ouaga. Air France offer a daily flight from Paris as do Air Burkina. Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Afriqiyah Airways also offer connections from Europe (though don't travel on Afriqiyah if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport), and Ethiopian Airways offer connections from Asia.
The small green taxi cabs ("taxi vert")travel on set routes throughout the city, most commonly to and from the large central market (French: Grand Marché, Moore: Rood Wooko), and a trip along this route has a set price of 300CFA during the day. At night, you'll have to bargain, but you should be able to get a trip on a set route for around 500CFA. If you want a taxi to deviate from its route, even if just by a few blocks, the price can rise substantially. When transporting people who seem unfamiliar with the city, even after negotiating a price, it's not uncommon for a cab driver to offer to take you to turn off the route to take you to your door without telling you that this will make the price skyrocket.
Be prepared to share the cab with as many people as can be crammed in (4 passengers in the back is not uncommon).
Be aware, that if you are loaded up with bags in the middle of the night and wanting to get to a far away destination, cabbies will try to milk you for as much as possible. In addition if you are obviously a foreigner or unfamiliar with the city, cab drivers will try to charge you more. If the price seems outrageous try saying "Ya nasara ligidi" (That's the white person price). If you can surprise the driver/make him laugh, he'll likely ask less.
Lastly, unlike in many parts of the world, the grand majority of cab drivers in Ouagadougou love americans and often are more open to negatiating a lower price with them. Even if you're not one, it's likely in you're best interest to pretend you are (surprise!). The French however are quite universally disliked, being seen as whiney, complicated, and disrespectful.
Another option are the yellow cabs ("taxi jaune") which run on a meter and are more expensive. However, they're reliable, you won't have to share them with others, and offer door-to-door service. They can be called 24/7 at (+226)126.96.36.199. They're a great option if you're trying to get somewhere late at night and can't find a green taxi.
"Bangre-Weoogo urban park in Zone du Bois (also called 'La Foret') has many trails for walking and running. It also has a small zoo inside (100-200 CFA for entrance) Bring binoculars to help you spot the crocodiles in the marsh near the bridge! The park is a natural preservation area and "sacred forest" dating from the pre-colonial era.
Another notable park in Ouagadougou is the L'Unité Pédagogique, which shelters animals in a semi-free state. This botanic garden/biosphere system stretches over 8 hectares (20 acres) and also serves as a museum for the country's history.
Jardin de l'amitié Ouaga-Loudun (Garden of Ouaga-Loudun Friendship), with a green space that was renovated in 1996, is a symbol of the twin-city relationship between Ouagadougou and Loudun in France. It is situated in the center of the city, near the "Nation Unies' crossroads".
Le Musee National a museum complex devoted to the many local cultures, but most of the buildings are empty. It is on the east end of the city and is open seven days a week.
National Museum of Music exhibits all the musical instruments of Burkina Faso.
Musée de Manega also exhibits musical instruments of Burkina Faso, Mossi rifles and other cultural items. Located 55 km (34 mi) northwest of the city
Naba Koom is a statue depicting a woman handling a calabash to pour water. The 6-metre (20 ft) high statue faces the railway station, welcoming travellers into Ouaga. The place bears the name of an important chief in Burkina Faso’s history.
Laongo, 30 km (19 mi) east of the city, features enormous granite slabs that were designed by various sculptors. The exhibit displays works of art from five continents.
La Place du Grand Lyon is a monument that reflects the relationship between Burkina Faso's capital and Lyon in France. It is located near the French cultural Center George Melies and features
Cineburkina (50 32 03 28) and Cine Reale are more comfortable/safer movie theaters
Café Zaka has live bands every night
The Moro Naaba ceremony is every Friday morning at 7:15am, 15 min ceremony symbolizing a Mossi historical event (preparation for battle against a rival king that stole his amulets, but being persuaded to keep peace). Ouagadougou was founded in the 15th century and became the capital of the Mossi empire. The historical palace of the Moro Naaba is located in the middle of the city.
French Cultural Centre, Proposes both local and imported concerts dance pieces and theater. The bar/retaurant there is a popular meeting spot. It also features an air-condtioned library where you can read newpapers and magazines. Located on the same road as the main post office
SIAO (International Art and Craft Festival) Africa's most prominent craft fair, it is held for 10 days in every even-numbered year. Artisans from all over Africa attend and sell their wares. Next one coming up in late October/November 2010.
Village Artisanal of Ouagadougou (VAO). This outdoor "shopping mall" of local arts and crafts is a gem. You can buy there from a huge selection with far less hassle than on the street. It also features a shady café in the courtyard.
FESPACO - PanAfrican film festival . Africa's most prestigious film festival is held every two years in February and showcases some of the best movies from across the continent. The 2013 festival will be held February 23-March 2 with the theme of “African Cinema and Public Policy in Africa”.
Central Market a major attraction, burned in 2003 and reconstructed in a modern style. New stands are opening up all around it, though, so it's still worth a visit, especially if you are buying textiles.
Gounghin Market a fun place to explore, buy fabric and fruit
Go to Marina Market (50 31 09 65) or Scimas downtown, near the grande mosque (same street, maybe three blocks apart) for all cheese, meat, ice cream, other needs (closed from 12 to 3).
DIACFA- kind of behind SCIMAS, across from the Grande Marche. PAGES - downtown, somewhat near the grand poste
Dune, a block up from ISO on lefty side of street, turn up dirt road, great Mauritanian tissue vendors next door;
Anna's Fashion near Paradisio and Petrofa station
Issaka (76 67 69 79) and Victor (70 25 18 57) make house calls
Have had the best luck at ADC near Marina Market. Lotte Photo across from Scimas takes a bit longer, but also does a good enough job.
(Dec 2010) ATMs for Visa cards are available. Banque Atlantique is the only bank linked to the Maestro/Mastercard network but its ATMs *only* take cards issued by Banque Atlantique.
Most larger cafés have food in the afternoons and evenings, but here are a few notables from the recommendations of Bobo Stage Goers and others:
Café Zaka - somewhat expensive, downtown near Scimas supermarket, live music and cool craft shop inside)
Gondwana (somewhat expensive, Zone du Bois, great atmosphere)
African vegan - Ouagadougou boasts the 4 vegan restaurants of Burkina Faso
La NASA - cheap, near Pharmacie Sacré-Coeur
La Colombe - cheap, serves excellent tofu brochettes @ 1200 logements, avenue Babanguida, porte n°974 - just before the Rond-point des Artistes and in front of the Stade de France (+226 60 36 24 70 / 78 62 77 12)
La Mayer-somewhat expensive, near the Grand Cathedral) 50 30 70 87
Verdoyant-somewhat expensive, near the Place de Nations Unites, serves excellent Lasagne (50 31 54 07) - beware purse-snatchers and swindlers around the exit
Les Pilliers -somewhat expensive, Zone du Bois) 50 36 19 52
La Paillote (somewhat expensive, great pizza, delivers 50 31 87 34)
Chez Simon (cheaper, Kwame N Krumah, near Jimmy's 50 33 21 46). Also International food - burgers, pizza etc.
Veranda Lebanese and international. Opposite Chez Simon on Kwame N Krumah.
Baratapas (cheaper, fun, homemade rum, near STMB gare)
Restaurant du Chine (somewhat expensive, downtown)
L'Orient- (Zone du Bois, on Babanguida towards the Route de Fada 50 36 15 01)
Hamburger House (cheaper, delivers 50 34 54 41)
ISO (cheaper, delivers 50 36 21 67)
Showbiz (across the street from Hotel Splendid- great milkshakes)
American Rec Center at the US embassy
Le Jardin Bambou, (Route de Fada towards Zone du Bois, 50 31 35 14)
Kim Son (cnr Kwame N'Krumah / Av de l'Aeroport) good but somewhat expensive
Coq Bleu (expensive, Kwame N Krumah 50 30 01 93)
Vert Galant (expensive, Ouaga 2000)
l'Eau Vive (somewhat expensive, run by Catholic nuns)
Street food and snacks
All usually ~ 250 CFA per plate on the street, depending on quantity or if there is meat: Rice and Beans (Benga), Rice and Sauce (Riz Sauce), To and sauce, Atteike, Spaghetti, Rice and tomato sauce (Riz Gras), Snacks- Peanuts and dates everywhere, semi-easy to find dried mangoes.
There are many bars. Here are the favorites from the Bobo Stagieres (these are all bars you can dance in):
Music Hall (reasonable prices, often has a European crowd, somewhat near the grand post, towards the zone du bois)
New Jack's (more expensive, great mirrors, across from Hotel Splendid)
Cactus Bar (expensive, pool tables, Eurpoean crowd, across from Hotel Splendid)
Le Prive (more expensive, downtown, nice atmosphere)
The Sahel (often has live music, great atmosphere, cheaper)
Bar DeNiro (local prices on drinks, good pool tables 500CFA per game)
L'Axe (Peace Corps favorite on the Route de Fada, local crowd, cheaper)
Le Citadel (cheaper, local crowd)
The New Acropoli, Zogona (just off the Circulaire near the Total Station, cheaper, local crowd)
Paladium (cheaper, downtown, local crowd)
Gazoum (local crowd, racy, always a big crowd, Babanguida)
Pavillon Vert, quartier Dapoya, next to Point Afrique office
Hotel Zamdogo, Zogona (50 30 10 69)
"The Mission", FEME near the Meat Palace on the Route de Fada
Ouaga Dream, Quiet and clean place close to the airport, English spoken by friendly owner and there's great food. It's at Rue 6.43, close to crossroads av Bassawarga and av De la Revolution
Hotel Continental across from CineBurkina (50 30 43 60)
SIL near Gare de l'Est on the Route de Fada, no drinking or smoking allowed in compound (50 36 48 51)
CACS(Centre d'Acceuil et...): On the route de Fada.
Pension Sarah Located in Cite An II, good place to meet fellow travelers, good food
Hotel Splendid, Kwame N Krumah
Hotel Yibi, Kwame N Krumah (Opposite Hotel Splendid), . A good budget option. Rooms have air conditioning, wireless internet and TV. There is a nice cool pool and bar/restaurant.
Silmande, Zone du Bois, near the barrage
Hotel Palm Beach, 10 Avenue Kwame N'krumah, ☎ +226 50310991.
Hotel Ricardo, (50 31 17 17) near the barrage
Hotel Independence, downtown, surrounded by art/artifact vendors, also offers haircuts, pedicures (5000 CFA), massages (50 30 60 60).
Iledeben, Somgande, near the barrage, . Low cost for good comfort.
Grande Post (Sonapost) downtown, right on the Place des Nations Unies (M-F 8am-12pm, 3pm-5pm; Sat 8-12. No withdrawing money on Saturdays). Other post offices seem to follow the Monday-Friday schedules, but possibly closed on Saturdays. (If you don't have a box, there is a man who packages things to be shipped for 500-1000 CFA. Coming in the entrance, ask at the desk on the right.) There are also post offices in Dassasgho at the corner of Charles de Gaulle and the Circulaire, and on Charles de Gaulle near the intersection with Babanguida, just down from Surface Alimentation.
Dependable connections next to the grand post (across the street from the Verdoyant) and diagonal from Café Zaka (next to the fish market). *Hole in the wall places everywhere, just ask. 500-1000 CFA/hr.
Loads of touts, purse snatchers and faux types at the Grand Marche. Don't go without local assistance.
If you are a foreign woman, don't tell anyone (except trusted friends) where you are staying unless you want everyone you meet to show up at your hotel or home.
When travelling, take the STMB busses; they drive slowly, but safely. SOGEBAF has the most crashes.
BBC World Service radio broadcast in English and French in Ouagadougou on 99.2MHz.
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