In Burkina Faso, the climate is tropical, with a rainy season in the summer months due to the African monsoon, and a dry season in winter. In the north, the rainy season is shorter and less intense, so the climate is semi-arid, while in the south the rains last longer and are able to feed a lusher vegetation, in fact there are nature reserves, which have the flora and fauna of the savannah.
The temperatures in Burkina Faso are high throughout the year. In winter, the air is dry because of the prevalence of the northeast winds, and highs are around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F) in the north and 32/33 °C (90/91 °F) in the south, even in the coolest months, ie December and January, but sometimes they can be higher. The prevailing wind, called Harmattan, blows from the north-east and is able to lift dust, making the sky whitish, but it can also cause real sandstorms. Storms can also occur in spring because of the clash with moist air masses that come from the ocean and advance towards the interior.
Starting from February, the temperature begins to rise, and the heat becomes scorching. In the south, the first rains occur quite early, and are able to increase the humidity but also to hinder the increase of temperature; on the other hand, in the north and partly in the center, the heat increases until April and May, when highs reach normally 40/42 °C (104/108 °F). In May and June, the first significant rains coming from the south may be preceded or accompanied by whirlwinds and tornadoes, which are caused by the clash with the preexistent dry air masses.
Between July and September, when the monsoon manifests its greatest effects, the temperature drops everywhere, with highs about 28/32 °C (82/90 °F), but high humidity makes the heat uncomfortable. However, even in summer there can still be some scorching days, in the pauses between the rainy periods, especially in the north, where the monsoon is less intense and consistent.
In October and November, the heat starts to increase again with the withdrawal of the monsoon, more in the north, where highs return to about 40 °C (104 °F), than in the south, where they remain around 35 °C (95 °F).
As we said, in Burkina Faso, it's hot all year round; however, in winter, sometimes it can get a bit cold at night. The cold records are around 6/7 °C (43/45 °F) in the north and 10 °C (50 °F) in the south. The highest recorded temperatures are impressive, especially in the north, where they are around 47/48 °C (117/118 °F), and has been recorded in April and May, while in the south they are around 42/44 °C (108/111 °F), and has been recorded between February and April, and even in January in the extreme south, where the sun's rays in winter are stronger because of the proximity to the Equator.

The center-north

The northern part of Burkina Faso belongs to the climate zone of the Sahel, in fact, the northernmost region is called "Sahel Region", where less than 600 millimeters (23.5 iches) of rain fall per year.


In Dori, rainfall amounts to only 500 mm (20 in) per year, and it exceeds 50 mm (2 in) per month only from June to September, with a peak in August. Here is the average precipitation.
Dori - Average precipitation

In Dori, temperatures are high all year round; the hottest periods, which are often scorching, are those that precede and follow the rainy season, that is, March-May and mid-September to November. Here are the average temperatures.
Dori - Average temperatures
Min (°C)151722262827252424241815
Max (°C)323639424239363436393733
Min (°F)596372798281777575756459
Max (°F)90971021081081029793971029991

Northern Burkina Faso


In the capital, Ouagadougou, located in the center of the country, the rains amount to nearly 750 mm (30 in) per year and are concentrated from May to early October, while in the rest of the year they are sporadic, especially in winter, when it hardly ever rains, as happens in the rest of the country. Here is the average precipitation.
Ouagadougou - Average precipitation

In Ouagadougou it is hot all year round as well, but from April to October the temperatures are a bit lower than in the north, because it is more easily reached by humid air masses from the south, especially in the rainy season. Here are the average temperatures.
Ouagadougou - Average temperatures
Min (°C)171924262624232222232017
Max (°C)333638393835323133363633
Min (°F)636675797975737272736863
Max (°F)919710010210095908891979791

In Ouagadougou, the sun shines all year round; however, in the rainy season, and in particular from July to September, the sunshine duration decreases a little. In the extreme south, where it rains more often, this decrease is more evident.
Ouagadougou - Sunshine

The south

In the south, the rainfall exceeds 1,000 mm (40 in) per year, and the rainy season is longer.


In Bobo Dioulasso, the second city of the country, precipitation amounts to 1,000 mm (40 in) per year, while in Gaoua, it amounts to 1,200 mm (47 in) per year.
Here is the average precipitation in Bobo Dioulasso.
Bobo-Dioulasso - Average precipitation

In Bobo-Dioulasso, the scorching heat is rarer in the dry months, while from July to September, the maximum temperature does not go above 29-30 °C (84-86 °F) on average. So, paradoxically, the south is not as hot as the north.
Bobo-Dioulasso - Average temperatures
Min (°C)192124252422212121222119
Max (°C)323536363432302930333432
Min (°F)667075777572707070727066
Max (°F)909597979390868486919390

The Karfiguela falls are located in the south, near Banfora, in the rainiest region of the country.


Best Time

The best time to visit Burkina Faso is winter, especially the months of December and January: the weather is good, it's hot but the air is dry. Sometimes at night it can be a bit cold, especially in the north, while during the day it can get hot everywhere, but especially in the south. By February, the heat increases and becomes intense starting from the south, then spring is very hot everywhere. Summer is rainy, and particularly intense showers can sometimes cause flooding. All in all, even November, which is a hot month, can be chosen because it is not so different from December and January, especially in the south.

What to pack

In winter: bring light clothes for the day, long, loose-fitting and of natural fabric (cotton or linen), a desert turban for the wind-borne sand and dust, sunglasses (even graduated instead of contact lenses), a jacket and a sweater for the evening, desert boots or sandals.
In summer: bring light, tropics-friendly clothes, a light sweatshirt, a light raincoat (or umbrella) for the rain showers.

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