Living in Ouahigouya as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Ouahigouya Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Ouahigouya

Ouahigouya, also known as Bmissingouré, is a bustling city with traditional charms and modern amenities. The city's history dates back to the mid-19th century when it served as a strategic trading hub for gold, ivory, and slaves. Today, it's a dynamic economic center, home to a diverse mix of businesses in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services. Its strategic location as a gateway to neighboring Ivory Coast and Mali has also led to growing commercial opportunities. Ouahigouya is also rich in cultural heritage, showcased through its colorful markets, traditional dances, and unique art and crafts. The city attracts many expats, especially those looking for affordability and a relaxed lifestyle.

Tips for expats in Ouahigouya

Visa requirements

Expats moving to Ouahigouya generally require a work or business visa, depending on their intended stay. Applications can be submitted at the Embassy of Burkina Faso in the expat's home country. Documents required may include a valid passport, a completed visa application form, a recent police record, a copy of the expat's employment contract, and a return ticket.

Language resources

French is the official language in Burkina Faso, including Ouahigouya. Expat Coffee provides access to online language learning resources, such as Duolingo and Babbel, as well as in-person language classes offered by organizations such as the Alliance Française. Radio France Internationale and TV5 Monde also provide broadcasts in French.

Cost of living for expats in Ouahigouya


The affordability of housing costs is a significant attraction for expats in Ouahigouya. Rent for a room in a shared house ranges from $100 to $200 (~60,000 to 120,000 CFA) per month. A one-bedroom apartment costs between $250 to $400 (~150,000 to 240,000 CFA) per month, while a two-bedroom apartment ranges from $400 to $700 (~240,000 to 420,000 CFA) per month. A three-plus-bedroom house costs around $700 to $1,500 (~420,000 to 900,000 CFA) per month.


Food prices in Ouahigouya are comparatively low thanks to the abundant availability of locally grown produce. Basic foodstuffs such as rice, vegetables, and fruit cost around $0.20 to $0.60 (~110 to 360 CFA) each. Meat, poultry, and seafood costs around $2.50 to $5 (~1500 to 3000 CFA) per kilogram. Alcohol and cigarettes are also relatively affordable.


Transportation costs in Ouahigouya are generally affordable. A regular bus fare costs around $0.20 (~110 CFA), while a ride in a taxi costs between $0.50 to $2 (~300 to 1200 CFA) depending on distance. The cost of car rental is affordable, starting at $20 (~12,000 CFA) per day.

Climate in Ouahigouya

Ouahigouya boasts a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F to 90°F) throughout the year. The rainy season lasts from June to October, resulting in high humidity levels and frequent rainfall. December to February are the driest months, and March to May brings cooler temperatures and refreshing breezes.

Job market in Ouahigouya

Ouahigouya's thriving economy has created ample job opportunities across various industries, contributing to a lower unemployment rate compared to other cities in Burkina Faso. Key sectors in Ouahigouya include agriculture, mining, trade, services, and manufacturing. The government has created policies tailored to attract foreign investment, such as tax breaks and streamlined business registration processes.

Healthcare in Ouahigouya

Ouahigouya is home to several public and private healthcare facilities that offer high-quality medical services. The Hospital Regional Dramane Dayé, affiliated with the University Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, provides advanced treatments and has a well-equipped laboratory, intensive care unit, and operating rooms. Private clinics include Clinique Sahel and Clinique Lumière. A network of Community Health Centers (CSPs) covers rural areas. Ouahigouya is making strides in healthcare with medical training institutions such as the Postgraduate School of Medicine.

Transport in Ouahigouya

Ouahigouya's city center is easily navigable on foot, and major inter-city transportation arteries run through the city. The National Road 1 passes through Ouahigouya, linking it to Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second-largest city, and other neighboring countries. The intercity bus terminal in the city center serves routes within Burkina Faso and neighboring Ivory Coast and Mali. Taxis and tro-tros (minibuses) are available at various points around the city.

Safety in Ouahigouya

Ouahigouya's crime rates are relatively low compared to other cities in Burkina Faso. However, travelers should exercise caution and avoid carrying expensive items in crowded areas. Areas near the provincial governor's residence and the border with Mali have experienced violence in the past, and it's advisable to check the latest security updates before visiting.

Neighborhoods in Ouahigouya

  1. Korhogo

    Korhogo, also known as Korhogui, is the cultural capital of Burkina Faso. The neighborhood is known for hosting the annual Dugu Festival in January, a vibrant celebration that lasts for weeks. Korhogo's traditional crafts market stands out for authentic souvenir shopping experiences. The area is also home to some of the best restaurants in Ouahigouya, such as Les Mots a Manger.

  2. Barko

    Barko, located south of the city center, is a residential neighborhood known for its natural beauty and green spaces, including the Mamutoni Park. The neighborhood has an array of affordable housing options, ranging from apartments to houses. The area is relatively quiet and peaceful.

  3. Birmogo

    Birmogo, located southeast of the city center, is a bustling commercial and residential area, home to the city's largest market, the Marché Sida Kaba. The market sells everything from fresh produce, clothing, and household goods to electronic items. The area is also home to some of the city's best restaurants, such as Les Cocons and L'Hippocampe.

Attractions in Ouahigouya

  1. Musée de l'Art et de la Culture (MAC)

    The Musee de l'Art et de la Culture (MAC) is a state-funded museum located in the city center. The MAC showcases over 1,000 pieces of traditional and modern Burkinabe art, including sculptures, masks, paintings, and textiles. The museum also hosts cultural events and performances.

  2. Club Awa

    Club Awa is an upmarket leisure complex located in the Korerou neighborhood. The complex features a hotel, an international restaurant, a bowling alley, a gaming arcade, a gym, and a tennis court. Awa is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a lively ambiance with friends and family.

  3. Le Palais du Roi Ours

    Le Palais du Roi Ours is a historically significant palace located in the Korhogo neighborhood. The palace served as the official residence of the reigning monarch during Burkina Faso's monarchy era. Today, it's a cultural heritage site that preserves the country's rich historical past.

International Schools in Ouahigouya

  1. International School of Eastern Burkina (ISEB)

    Birmogo neighborhood

    ISEB is an accredited international school that follows the British curriculum for students from pre-K to grade 12. The school is equipped with modern learning facilities, including a library, computer lab, science lab, and playground. ISEB's dedicated team of experienced teachers provides a nurturing and stimulating learning environment that fosters academic excellence, leadership skills, and cross-cultural understanding.

  2. Ecole Italienne Banfora

    Cocandy neighborhood

    Ecole Italienne Banfora is an accredited international school that follows the Italian curriculum for students from pre-K to grade 12. The school is run by an experienced team of Italian and Burkinabe teachers. The school's core emphasis is on providing a bilingual education that balances academics, arts, and sports, creating a holistic learning experience for students.

  3. German International School (GINAS)

    Korhogo neighborhood

    GINAS follows the German curriculum for students from pre-K to grade 12. The school's core emphasis is on providing a bilingual education in German and French. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program that develops critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills. GINAS's modern facilities include a library, computer lab, science lab, and playground.

Useful expat resources in Ouahigouya

Expat destinations in Burkina Faso