Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso

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Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso

Region: Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso

Geographic Coordinates: 11.783300, -0.366700
Climate: Data not available.
Population: 58600
Language: Moore

Tenkodogo is a vibrant and culturally rich city located in the Boulgou Province of Burkina Faso, West Africa. It serves as the capital of the province and is situated approximately 150 kilometers southeast of Ouagadougou, The country’s capital. With a population of around 50, 000 people, Tenkodogo offers a unique blend of traditional African charm and modern development. One of the highlights of Tenkodogo is its captivating architecture. The city boasts an impressive array of mud-brick buildings with intricate designs that showcase the traditional craftsmanship and artistic skills passed down through generations.

These structures include mosques, Houses, And community buildings that reflect the local Mossi culture. At its heart lies Tenkodogo’s bustling market square – a vibrant hub where locals gather to trade an array of goods ranging from fresh produce to handmade crafts. The market offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the daily life and vibrant atmosphere while experiencing authentic Burkinabe culture. For history enthusiasts, Tenkodogo has several historical sites worth exploring. The Royal Palace Ruins are remnants from an ancient Mossi kingdom that once thrived in this region.

Visitors can wander through these ruins to get a glimpse into Burkina Faso’s regal past. Nature lovers will find solace in nearby natural attractions such as Lake Tengrela or Lake Paradise. Located just outside Tenkodogo, This serene lake provides breathtaking views surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque landscapes. It serves as a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts or those seeking tranquility away from city life. The local cuisine in Tenkodogo reflects both traditional Burkinabe flavors as well as influences from neighboring countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Visitors can indulge in delicious dishes such as riz gras (spiced rice with meat), Tô (a staple made from fermented millet or sorghum), Or fufu (a dough-like dish made from cassava or plantains) paired with a variety of flavorful sauces. Tenkodogo also hosts a range of cultural festivals throughout the year, Providing visitors with an opportunity to witness traditional music, Dance performances, And colorful parades. The most significant festival is the Fête de la Moisson (Harvest Festival), Which celebrates the region’s agricultural heritage. During this festival, Locals showcase their farming skills through various competitions and traditional ceremonies.

Tenkodogo is a captivating city that offers an authentic Burkinabe experience. From its stunning architecture and historic ruins to its vibrant markets and natural beauty, Visitors are sure to be enthralled by all that this unique destination has to offer. Whether exploring the city’s rich history or immersing oneself in local traditions and cuisine, Tenkodogo provides a memorable experience for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Burkina Faso.

Important Landmarks

  1. Royal Palace of Tenkodogo: Also known as the Koulpelgo, this palace was built in the 19th century and served as the residence for local chiefs. It is an important historical site and offers insights into traditional Burkinabe architecture.
  2. Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace: This Catholic cathedral is one of the most prominent religious buildings in Tenkodogo. Its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere make it worth a visit.
  3. Market Square: Like many African cities, Tenkodogo has a bustling market where you can experience local culture, shop for traditional crafts, fresh produce, and interact with friendly locals.
  4. Laongo Sculpture Symposium: Located about 20 kilometers from Tenkodogo, this open-air museum showcases contemporary sculptures created by artists from around Africa during symposiums held every two years.
  5. Sacred Crocodile Ponds (Boulbi): A short distance from Tenkodogo lies Boulbi Village, known for its sacred ponds inhabited by crocodiles that are considered sacred by locals. Visitors can observe these reptiles from a safe distance while learning about their cultural significance.
  6. Ruins of Gourcy: Although not technically located within Tenkodogo itself (around 80 km away), these ancient ruins are worth mentioning due to their historical importance. The ruins consist of old stone structures that were once part of an ancient village dating back centuries ago.

While these attractions may not be on par with some major tourist destinations worldwide, they offer visitors to Tenkodogo an opportunity to explore local history and culture while enjoying the city’s laid-back atmosphere.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: The region is known for its production of crops such as millet, sorghum, maize, cotton, peanuts, and shea nuts. Farmers engage in subsistence farming as well as commercial agriculture.
  2. Livestock: Animal husbandry is another important industry in Tenkodogo. Cattle rearing for milk and meat production, sheep/goat farming, and poultry are common activities.
  3. Food processing: There are several small-scale food processing units that process agricultural products like millet into flour or shea nuts into butter.
  4. Handicrafts: Tenkodogo has a rich tradition of handicrafts including pottery making, weaving (especially cotton), basketry, leatherwork (such as shoe-making), and blacksmithing.
  5. Trading and commerce: The town serves as a regional trade center where goods from surrounding rural areas are bought and sold. Local markets play a crucial role in the economy.
  6. Services sector: As the administrative capital of Boulgou province, Tenkodogo has government offices providing various services such as education (schools), healthcare (hospitals/clinics), banking services (branches of national banks), transportation services (taxi stations), etc.
  7. Construction: With ongoing urbanization and development projects taking place in the region, construction companies have emerged to cater to infrastructure needs like building roads or houses.

It’s worth noting that while these industries contribute to the local economy of Tenkodogo significantly; they may not be on a large scale compared to industrialized regions elsewhere due to its predominantly rural nature with limited access to resources and technology.

Noteable History



Historical Events:

  1. French Colonial Era: Tenkodogo was part of French West Africa during the colonial period.

  2. Independence Movement: Like the rest of Burkina Faso, Tenkodogo played a significant role in the struggle for independence from France. Many local leaders and activists participated in protests and demonstrations.

  3. Political Unrest: In recent years, Tenkodogo has witnessed political unrest and demonstrations against government policies.

Notable People:

  1. Thomas Sankara (1949–1987): Born in Yako, near Tenkodogo, Sankara was a prominent Burkinabé military officer who later became the President of Burkina Faso from 1983 until his assassination in 1987. He led a revolutionary government that implemented progressive policies focused on social justice, women’s rights, education, healthcare, and self-reliance.

  2. Joseph Ki-Zerbo (1922–2006): Ki-Zerbo was an influential Burkinabé historian, writer, politician, and Pan-Africanist. He played a crucial role in promoting African history and culture through his writings.

  3. Saye Zerbo (1932–2013): Born near Tenkodogo in Gourcy village but raised there by relatives after losing his parents at an early age; Saye Zerbo served as the Head of State of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) from 1980 to 1982 following a military coup.

These notable individuals have had a significant impact on both national politics within Burkina Faso as well as their contributions to African history and Pan-Africanism more broadly.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Royal Court of Tenkodogo: This historical site is the former residence of the Mossi chiefs and kings. It showcases traditional Mossi architecture and offers insights into the region’s history.
  2. Tenkodogo Grand Mosque: As one of the largest mosques in Burkina Faso, this mosque is an important religious and cultural landmark in Tenkodogo. Visitors can admire its beautiful architecture and witness local religious practices.
  3. The Cathedral of St Anne: This Catholic church is another significant religious site in Tenkodogo, known for its unique blend of traditional African art with Christian motifs.
  4. Laongo Sculpture Symposium: Located about 15 kilometers from Tenkodogo, this open-air museum displays large-scale contemporary sculptures created by artists from around Africa during symposiums held every two years.
  5. Market Day at Tanwalbougou Village: Every Sunday morning, Tanwalbougou village near Tenkodogo hosts a vibrant market where locals trade various goods such as food products, textiles, crafts, and more. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
  6. Sissili River Basin: If you’re interested in nature and outdoor activities, exploring the Sissili River Basin can be an enjoyable experience near Tenkodogo. You can take boat trips or simply enjoy picnics along the riverbanks.

Remember that while these attractions offer cultural experiences specific to Tenkodogo or nearby areas within Burkina Faso, they may not be as extensive or well-known as those found in larger cities like Ouagadougou or Bobo-Dioulasso.

Sports Teams

  1. ASFB (Association Sportive du Faso de la Boucle): This football club is based in Tenkodogo and competes in the Burkinabe Premier League. ASFB has a modest history, participating in national leagues and occasionally qualifying for national cup competitions.
  2. USO (Union Sportive de l’Oubritenga): Another football club from Tenkodogo, USO has been competing at various levels of Burkinabe football since its establishment. It has had some success at the regional level but hasn’t made significant achievements on the national stage.
  3. AS Sonabel: This sports club is primarily known for its basketball team but also participates in other disciplines like athletics and handball. While not specifically based in Tenkodogo, they have represented the region in various tournaments.

It’s worth noting that these teams may not have extensive histories or notable achievements compared to more prominent clubs from larger cities or regions within Burkina Faso.

Cultural Events

  1. Nako Festival: This is a traditional festival celebrated by the Naba people of Tenkodogo. It features music, dance performances, traditional wrestling matches, and other cultural activities.
  2. FESPACO: Although not specific to Tenkodogo, it is worth mentioning that the city hosts the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) every two years. This event attracts filmmakers from all over Africa and showcases African cinema.
  3. Moro-Naba Ceremony: This is an important cultural event held in Tenkodogo’s Royal Palace. It celebrates the Moro-Naba, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Mossi people. The ceremony includes traditional dances, drumming performances, and rituals.
  4. Koudougou-Tenkodogo Cycling Race: Held annually between Koudougou (another city in Burkina Faso) and Tenkodogo, this cycling race brings together both professional cyclists and amateurs for a thrilling competition.
  5. National Day Celebrations: On December 11th each year, Burkina Faso celebrates its National Day with various events across the country including parades, fireworks displays, cultural performances showcasing different ethnic groups’ traditions.
  6. Traditional Music Festivals: Throughout the year in Tenkodogo and surrounding areas there are numerous local music festivals celebrating traditional Burkinabe music genres such as Balafon or Kora playing competitions.

These are just a few examples of cultural events and festivals that take place in Tenkodogo; there may be others depending on specific community celebrations or religious holidays observed by different ethnic groups residing in the area.


  1. Rood-Woko: This restaurant is known for its authentic Burkinabe dishes, including Tô (a staple dish made from millet or sorghum), Riz Gras (rice with meat and vegetables), and Poulet DG (chicken cooked with vegetables in a spicy sauce).
  2. La Terrasse: Offering a mix of Burkinabe and international cuisine, La Terrasse is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Their menu includes dishes like Yassah (spiced grilled meat skewers), Fufu de Banane Plantain (mashed plantain balls served with sauce), and Poisson Braisé (grilled fish).
  3. Chez Dodo: This cozy restaurant specializes in traditional Burkinabe food such as Riz Sauce Arachide (rice with peanut sauce), Sauce Gombo avec Viande de Bœuf ou Poisson (okra stew with beef or fish), and Soupe de Feuilles de Manioc avec Viande de Chèvre ou Poulet (cassava leaf soup with goat or chicken).
  4. Restaurant Le Relais: Located near Tenkodogo’s city center, Le Relais serves both local specialties like Tô National accompagné d’une variété de sauces (National Tô served with various sauces) as well as European-inspired dishes.
  5. Maquis Chez Momo: A typical African maquis, this casual eatery offers affordable meals such as Brochettes Mixtes (mixed grilled skewers) featuring beef, chicken, or goat meat.
  6. Restaurant Bar la Paillote: Known for its relaxed atmosphere and live music performances on weekends, this restaurant serves classic Burkinabe dishes like Poulet Yassa (marinated grilled chicken) and Riz Sauce Djoukouya (rice with spicy tomato sauce).

These are just a few examples of the popular local cuisine and restaurants in Tenkodogo, Burkina Faso. Exploring the local markets and street food stalls can also provide unique culinary experiences.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Parc Urbain Bangr-Weoogo: This park is located in the capital city of Ouagadougou, which is near Tenkodogo. It offers walking trails, picnic areas, and a zoo with various animal species.
  2. Parc de la Léraba: Located in the nearby city of Bobo-Dioulasso, this park features lush greenery, playgrounds for children, and open spaces for relaxation and picnics.
  3. Mare aux Hippopotames: Situated approximately 100 km from Tenkodogo near the town of Bala, this natural reserve is home to a large population of hippos. Visitors can take guided boat tours to observe these magnificent creatures.
  4. Cultural Festivals: Tenkodogo hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year that showcase traditional music, dance performances, and local crafts. These events provide an opportunity to immerse oneself in Burkina Faso’s rich cultural heritage.
  5. Sports Activities: Many locals engage in outdoor sports such as football (soccer), basketball or cycling at local sports fields or designated areas around Tenkodogo.

Please note that while there may not be specific public parks within Tenkodogo itself as it is a smaller town compared to larger cities like Ouagadougou or Bobo-Dioulasso, these nearby options offer recreational activities for residents and visitors alike.


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