Burkina Faso, previously known as Upper Volta, is a developing West African country which borders the Sahara Desert. The official language is French. Facilities for tourism are not widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A visa is required. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Burkina Faso, 2340 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 332-5577. There are honorary consuls for Burkina Faso in Decatur (Georgia), Los Angeles and New Orleans. Overseas inquiries should be made to the nearest Burkina-Faso embassy or consulate.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Burkina Faso are limited. Medicine may be in short supply. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health care services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas and medical evacuation coverage has proven to be useful. Bottled water is available in urban areas, but is not widely available in rural areas. For additional health information, travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Some petty crime occurs. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad," and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa," provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402.

Photography Restrictions: A valid photo permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Tourism; the Ministry's list of photo restrictions are expected to be observed. The U.S. Embassy can provide information on specific photography regulations.

Currency Information: Credit cards are rarely accepted. Travelers checks can be cashed at local banks.

Use of Telephones: Local telephone service is excellent but expensive. International calls cannot always be made from hotels. It is often necessary to make international calls from a post and telecommunications office where calls must be paid for in local currency only. Collect calls are not possible.

Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strictly enforced. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou on Avenue Raoul Follerau, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Burkina Faso. The mailing address is 01 B.P. 35, Ouagadougou. The telephone numbers are (226) 30-67-23/24/25; the fax number is (226) 31-23-68.

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