Banfora is a sleepy town in one of the most beautiful areas in Burkina Faso. It has delightful accommodation and eating options and therefore makes an ideal base for exploring the lush surrounding countryside. The town itself has a lively Sunday market, with plenty of goods from nearby Côte d'Ivoire.
One of Burkina Faso's most spectacular landscapes, the Sindou Peaks are a narrow, craggy chain featuring a fantastic array of tortuous cones sculpted by the elements. Located about 50km west of Banfora, this geological fantasyland is ideal for hiking. Coming from Banfora, the main gateway is about 1km before the entrance to Sindou town.
Gaoua & Lobi Country
The small town of Gaoua (population 25,100) is a good base for exploring Lobi country, an area that’s culturally distinct. There are a couple of ATMs (Visa only) in town. For internet, head to the women-run Association Pour la Promotion Féminine de Gaoua in the centre.
Northern Burkina Faso is dominated by the desolate confines of the Sahel. It's certainly inhospitable at most times of the year, but it also features stupendously colourful markets, fascinating local cultures and traditions, and landscapes that are much less monotonous than you might imagine.
Tiébélé & Kassena Country
Set in the heart of the green and low-lying Kassena country, Tiébélé, 40km east of Pô on a dirt track, is famous for its sukhala, colourful windowless traditional houses. Decorated by women, who work with guinea-fowl feathers, in geometrical patterns of red, black and white, the houses offer an antidote to the monochrome mudbrick villages found elsewhere in Burkina Faso.
Réserve de Nazinga
This 97,000-hectare wildlife reserve, about 40km southwest of Pô near the Ghanaian border, has become a highlight on many a wildlife lover’s itinerary. The park has antelopes, monkeys, warthogs, crocodiles and plenty of birds, but elephants are the stars of the show. The best times to see them are December to April, although the chances of sighting are pretty good year-round.
Well off the beaten path – Niansogoni is 37km southwest of Sindou, near the border with Mali – this tiny settlement is a terrific place to experience local life. The scenery is gorgeous, with a series of limestone hills, cliffs and escarpmentlike formations that loom on the horizon.