Orodara, in the Black Volta Region of Burkina Faso, is capital to the Siamou ethnic group – but other ethnic groups that live in the area include the Tousian, and the more distant Sambla (further along the road to Bobo) the Turka and Samogo, and the Senoufo.
The region is rolling/hilly, and there are a few barrages (resevoirs). One barrage is in Dieri as you head towards Mali border, but it's small. There is a giant lake 7 KM behind Mussodougou worth a camping trip to see, fish in, possibly swim in. The road to get to the lake is a dirt track.
The languages spoken most frequently in Orodara are French, Jula, Siamou, Senoufo, and Tousian. Orodara has lots of fruits and vegetables in most all seasons (due to old fruit tree projects, and the general availability of year round river water in the area). There is a large bakery to the west of the marketplace that sells baguettes.
If you want to get in and out of Orodara, there are various "taxi brousse" (privately operated mini-vans) options coming from Mali like Yi HOUCHEE and Sogebaf – but my recommendation is to avoid them if you can, and get on the bus company busses: TCV or Rakieta. Either TCV or Rakieta will get you to Bobo Dioulasso in about one hour from Orodara. During holiday seasons it is wise to book ahead, or go directly into Orodara to get your ticket – as they don’t have room always to stop for passengers who wait on the side of the road. Also note that the market day in Orodara is always Saturday – so if you are coming from Bobo Dioulasso on Saturday morning or leaving Orodara on Saturday evening you will run into difficulty getting on the bus. The TCV and Rakieta busses run on schedules. Please see their ticket windows for time lists. The price is approximately 1000 CFA (local currency) for a ride from Orodara to Bobo Dioulasso. Extra money will be paid for having the bus transport a bicycle, motorcycle, or large packages.
The best way to get around Orodara is on foot, on bicycle, or motorcycle. There are a number of neighborhoods that surround the main street (National Route 8) that runs through the "town center." Most all neighborhoods have small stores that will sell some dry goods like spaghetti, matches, hard candies, and other various items. The homes in these neighborhoods are almost all exclusively made of mud brick.
Though there is a Cinema, it works infrequently. There are places to dance during the evening (I am imagining most of them are all around the Marche area and not out in the neighborhoods – which quickly become very rural if you ever explore them.
If you are not familiar with the area, it's always a good idea to see if you can find a local "guide." Orodara is not set up in general for tourists. Visiting the resevoirs (barrages) is always a plan — and the one in Mussodougu and Dieri are possibilities. For the adventurous types with dirt bikes, riding the un-named road towards Banfora is scenic and a work out (at nearly 60 kilometers or 40 miles).
If you like Mangos — you will be in luck in Mango season which typically runs from May to July. There are many varieties.
The market is always open (you can’t miss it off the main road — RN8 – on the right hand side if you are coming in from Bobo Dioulasso). You can get most anything in the mini markets (boutiques) embedded in the market. Saturday is market day – and all sorts of other goods like used clothes and chinese faux brand sneakers, radios, the works come in barrels.
Lots, as well as paper stores (note the French word "librarie") for paper and small office supplies – just wander on the outskirts of the market and ask locals.
West Africa's answer to fast food are the women who sit in the market, or at stations along the road and sell plate fulls of achekeh (grated, fermented, steamed manioc — that has the taste of sourdough bread — but looks like couscous) fried fish, rice and peanut sauces, rice and fish sauces, spaghetti, and much more. The food is delicious. Also for sale in season are fried sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and taro root with a tomato based sauce, or oil sauce. There are also usually "coffee bars" or small wooden stalls where coffee (Nescafe brand) is sold with sugar, or sweetened condensed milk. You can usually order an omlette or egg also. Plastic bags of yogurt and juices (bissap, ginger based juice, tamarind based juice) are sold through out the market and in the coffee bar stalls. If you like pork — right next to the District Sanitaire (Medical district office — NOT the hospital) there is a bar and a pork roasting oven that swells packets of cooked meat. For those who don't like eating from food stalls as previously mentioned, Orodara doesn't offer much. Check out the one large hotel in the area for food options that cater to more western styles.
There is one that is favored by locals right in front of the Cinema (movie theater). There are several places for drinking sodas and beers and restaurants. They always have a pig roasting in that bar as well (previously mentioned).
Street food and snacks
A favorite is always the achekeh (manioc served with fish, onions, tomatoes, sauce, and hot pepper) Rice and various sauces are available everywhere. Also a nice place to get fresh bread is the bakery (just on the other side of the Cinema on the same RN8 road). If you time it right – you get a hot baguette.
Ubiquitous "buvettes" or places to sit and have a soda or beer are all along the market and RN8
Hotel Prestige is pricy, but is on the north eastern end of town. It serves more western style food. There are several hotels across from the market that are more reasonable — and will offer a room with a mosquito net, squat toilets, and a sink.
Right next to the mosque on the road to Tin/Diguera. Hours of operation 7:30AM-Noon, and 3:00PM – 5:00PM. Christian and Gaston are the post office attendants who work there – along with an adorable post office cat. They are helpful and friendly, as is the post office guard. You can get money out of this post as well if you have a bank account through the Burkina Faso Postal system. Expect letters to take about 2 weeks to reach the East Coast of the USA, maybe a little longer for the West Coast of the USA.
There are two options for internet access in town, both of which are somewhat unreliable, with slow connections. Hotel Prestige has a cyber cafe open most days, and there is another run by the NGO SOS Enfants, located on the Eastern end of town. Both cost 500 cfa per hour.