Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tourism in Banfora

It's been mentioned before, the tourism business in Burkina Faso is horrendous.  Due to the terrorist attacks in January in Ouagadougou, Burkina seems to have lost its glint as a destination.  The whole region is still suffering from the Ebola outbreak despite having finished, it's a sad state of affairs.

Arriving in Banfora in the dark, I negotiated for a moto-trike to take me to Hotel de la Comoe, having stayed here before on several occasions I decided to return for a quiet few days.  There wasn't anyone else staying here, I had a choice of several rooms at 6,500CFA but in the dark I couldn't get my bearings around its lovely courtyard.  The owner remembered me when he came out of his room and I was happy to have returned.  After a shower in a terrible bathroom with a loo that didn't flush & hadn't been cleaned in ages, I went out to a maquis a little further down the dusty road.  Wonderful maquis that did the most incredible goat brochettes, great staff that were very helpful; I had my dinner and wandered back for a much needed sleep.
Banfora was looking remarkably abandoned!
Unfortunately my sleep was broken most of the night, I realised the room I had was next to the road and from about 4am I was intermittently awake.  Finally at 7am I gave up, got up and went out to find breakfast.  On my return, I saw the owner again who asked how I slept, I said that it hadn't been that great & there were problems in the bathroom, would I be able to change rooms?  Unbelievably he went off into a fit of rage against me, yelling abuse that I had the nerve to tell him that the room was terrible, which wasn't exactly what I said.  It was appalling, I was horrified by his outburst and got ready to pack and find somewhere else. Amidou who works there during the day, also remembered me, he was standing there in horror at the scene of his boss and talked to me afterwards.  He persuaded me to stay, found me another room and moved my bags across the courtyard, he told me that his boss has been like this to many people.  Little wonder that the place was empty!
A totally changed McDonald's compared to my previous trips:
The following few days were spent walking around town, revisiting McDonald's restaurant which sadly has changed beyond recognition with it's food and front facade; getting lost one day which found me being driven back by a gendarme who decided I needed rescuing.  Making friends with Fatime who had a small restaurant down the road & would cook my breakfast, a lovely lady who was married to an Ivorian, since their divorce she had returned with her 3 children to Banfora.  We talked for hours about Ivorian and Burkinabe politics, West African culture and shared food; although I didn't go as far as eating the offered butterfly chrysalis, a step too far for my taste!  I spent each evening at the goat brochette maquis who totally spoiled me on my final evening.  However during all this time I didn't meet one other western tourist in town, it was sad that people are keeping away.
Butterfly chrysalis's with onions
Finally my final morning I went to get the bus to Ouagadougou, from next door to the best patisserie in town, lovely cup of coffee and croissant before departing on a long 6-7 journey in comfort.  We had a break at Boromo, another enjoyable Burkinabe town where I last stayed in 2014 but unfortunately I didn't have time to spend a few days at this time around.

Thankfully I discovered the wonderful patisserie on my final day in Banfora!

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