If you're looking to do more with less, take a page out of Burkina Faso's book. Although limited by a lack of natural resources and a standard of living somewhat below western norms, Burkina Faso is one of the safest places to visit in West Africa and full of the friendliest people you can find anywhere.
From its vowel-laden capital Ouagadougou to the borders with other nations, Burkina Faso is primed for cultural exchange. This is the perfect destination for someone looking to doff their western pride, shake out their hair and really experience the traditions and customs of a people who have no reservations about sharing their way of life.
What to do
You don't go to Burkina Faso for the tourist attractions, you go there for the culture and the experience of living like the locals. There are some beautiful spots along the Moulhoun River and a Snake Museum in Ouagadougou that is worth exploring, but most of the few tourists who do end up here are more anthropologically curious than looking for a close up with a cheetah.
Flights to Burkina Faso arrive from all over the world including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Paris and land at Ouagadougou airport. Most travelers need a visa before arriving in the country and there is a small tax to pay upon arrival.
Where to stay
Hotels for travelers in Burkina Faso are found almost exclusively in Ouagadougou. Outside of the main city, you'll have to find individuals or families to take up residence with. Finding a place to stay shouldn't be a problem, the people of Burkina Faso are typically quite accommodating.
For more information on Burkina Faso, the message boards have got answers to most of your travel questions. Check them out before your trip and read a travel story or two about Africa before you go.