Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Geography

By | October 23, 2023

Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, is located in West Africa, in the Sahel region, a transitional zone between the Sahara Desert to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. The geography of Ouagadougou is characterized by its flat terrain, arid climate, and the presence of several rivers and water bodies that flow through the city and its surroundings. In this essay, we will explore the geography of Ouagadougou, focusing on its geographical features, water bodies, and the environmental challenges it faces.

Location and General Geography:

According to wholevehicles.com, Ouagadougou is situated in the central part of Burkina Faso, approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of the border with Ghana. The city’s strategic location has made it the country’s political, economic, and cultural center.

Flat Terrain:

The most prominent geographical feature of Ouagadougou and its surroundings is its flat terrain. The city is located on a vast, mostly flat plain, which extends across much of Burkina Faso. This flat landscape, while providing easy access for development, also poses challenges related to water resources and agriculture in an arid environment.

Kadiogo River:

Ouagadougou is not directly on the banks of a major river, but it is influenced by the Kadiogo River, a tributary of the larger Nakambé River. The Kadiogo River flows through the city and plays a vital role in providing water resources for the local population.

Water Supply: The Kadiogo River serves as a source of freshwater for Ouagadougou. The city’s water supply relies on this river, which can experience fluctuations in flow depending on seasonal rainfall patterns.

Urban Development: The Kadiogo River also influences urban development in Ouagadougou. The city’s layout and expansion have historically been influenced by the availability of water from the river.


Ouagadougou’s climate is influenced by its geographic location in the Sahel region, characterized by a semi-arid climate with distinct wet and dry seasons.

Dry Season: The dry season in Ouagadougou, from November to May, is characterized by low humidity, minimal rainfall, and hot temperatures. The harmattan winds, which carry dust from the Sahara, are common during this period.

Wet Season: The wet season, from June to October, brings relief from the dry conditions. During this period, Ouagadougou experiences sporadic but heavy rainfall, which contributes to the growth of vegetation and agricultural activities.

The climate, shaped by its geographical location in the Sahel, has a significant impact on agriculture, water availability, and daily life in Ouagadougou.

Environmental Challenges:

Ouagadougou and Burkina Faso face several environmental challenges, including those related to water scarcity, desertification, and deforestation.

Water Scarcity: Water scarcity is a significant challenge in Ouagadougou due to the semi-arid climate and the limited availability of water resources. The city relies on groundwater and surface water, including the Kadiogo River, for its water supply.

Desertification: Ouagadougou is at risk of desertification, a process in which fertile land becomes desert due to factors such as drought and overgrazing. Efforts are underway to combat desertification and promote sustainable land use.

Deforestation: The region around Ouagadougou has experienced deforestation due to the demand for firewood, construction, and agricultural expansion. Forest conservation is essential to protect the environment and preserve biodiversity.


Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, offers a unique geography characterized by its flat terrain, the influence of the Kadiogo River, and the challenges related to water scarcity, desertification, and deforestation in the Sahel region. Understanding the geography of Ouagadougou is essential for appreciating the city’s importance as the capital of Burkina Faso and the environmental challenges it faces in a semi-arid environment. Ouagadougou’s commitment to sustainable development and efforts to address water scarcity and land degradation reflect its dedication to being a resilient and vibrant city in the heart of West Africa.