Burkina Faso: Geography

Burkina Faso: Elephants along Mouhoun River (Photo: Yvan Perré)

Burkina Faso: Sahelian Steppe  (Photo: Yvan Perré)

Burkina Faso: Sahelian Steppe (Photo: Yvan Perré)

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country located in the middle of West Africa’s “hump.” It is geographically in the Sahel–the agricultural region between the Sahara Desert and the coastal rain forests. Most of central Burkina Faso lies on a savanna plateau, 200 meters-300 meters (650 ft.-1,000 ft.) above sea level, with fields, brush, and scattered trees.

The largest river is the Mouhoun (Black Volta), which is partially navigable by small craft. Burkina Faso has West Africa’s largest elephant population. Game preserves also are home to lions, hippos, monkeys, warthogs, and antelope. Infrastructure and tourism are, however, not well developed.

The Burkina Faso sahel is the northern zone of hot, scrubby land that borders the desert. The word "sahel" means "shore", referring to the "shore of the desert"

Annual average rainfall varies from about 100 centimeters (40 in.) in the south to less than 25 centimeters (10 in.) in the north and northeast, where hot desert winds accentuate the dryness of the region. The cooler season, November to February, is pleasantly warm and dry (but dusty), with cool evenings. March-June can be very hot. In July-September, the rains bring a 3-month cooler and greener humid season.

Black, White & Red Volta rivers

Black, White & Red Volta rivers (Burkina Faso was previously named Upper Volta)

More Quick Facts

  • Natural resources: manganese, limestone, marble; small deposits of gold, phosphates, pumice, salt
  • Land use: arable land (17.66%), permanent crops  (0.22%) & other (82.12%)
  • Natural hazards: recurring droughts
  • Environment – current issues: recent droughts and desertification severely affecting agricultural activities, population distribution, and the economy; overgrazing; soil degradation; deforestation

3 responses to “Burkina Faso: Geography

  1. Olivia Thomas

    Awesome Melissa! I’m looking forward to following you 🙂

  2. Amazing Melissa!

    And I thought I was adventurous visiting my inlaws at Red Hill 🙂

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