Burkina Faso: How to Get Around Safely

West Africa is not a place for the easily upset traveller. Roads, rail and general public transport suffers the same ills as most African nations.

To be honest, reliable public transport doesn't really exist as most travellers are used to in their own country. This fact usually provides the most challenges for anyone trying to enjoy this region.

And as always in West Africa, when you are trying to get around there are a number of risks to consider. Read on.

Exercise caution on Burkina Faso's roads

If you do decide to take on the roads of Burkina Faso, make sure you exercise extreme caution.

Aside from the bad conditions your face when driving, bandits and thieves are a common threat for anyone travelling.

Burkina Faso's road hazards

Several major urban and intercity roads are paved, which may come as a surprise travelling through West Africa, but don't get too excited and think this is the norm.

Despite being paved they are plagued by huge potholes and can be very narrow. This is a problem affecting most African roads. Some of the so-called "potholes" are more like small craters which will put a quick end to your road trip.

Driving across Burkina Faso also requires special attention. Other drivers using the road can be extremely careless and it's not uncommon for head-on collisions.

So stay alert and be ready for anything.

And while other drivers will always add some problems on the road, there are various obstacles you'll need to watch out for.

Broken-down vehicles are usually abandoned on the road. Roadside assistance doesn't exist, so be prepared to avoid cars just left in traffic.

This sort of thing is common on rural roads. This coupled with poor conditions and stray livestock means roadways outside of the major cities can be a headache for any travellers.

At night, there is a high volume of truck traffic passing through the country and pedestrians, bicycles, and carts pose a major hazard on unlit, unmarked roads.

Do yourself a big favour, and when night does fall stay indoors. Night driving is advised against in most African countries.

The best advice take your time and watch out.

Limited emergency services in Burkina Faso

For most Western travellers, police are never too far away to enforce road rules. But when it comes to Burkina, don't expect to see police out in force.

Authorities rarely enforce traffic laws and are virtually absent from rural roads.

This may sound good to some, but it means if you get into trouble you are quite possibly on your own.

This goes for ambulance assistance as well. So don't rely on emergency services and help - you may be waiting a long time.

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