Tiebele, decorated Kassena houses
Tiébélé is situated in the heart of the Gourounsi country, Tiébélé is famous for its nicily painted kassena houses. The houses are built of local materials: earth, wood, straw and dung. The traditional windowless houses, the so-called sukhala, are built like a fortress. The front doors are very low. It keeps not only the sun out, but also makes it difficult to enter. You have to bend, so if needed the residents can easily beat or kill the intruder.
The Kassena women decorate the walls with coloured mud and white calcium. They use guinea-fowl feathers to paint the walls in red, black and white.The geometrical patterns, motifs and symbols are from daily life or from religion for example: calabash, bats, sparrow wings, boa, crosses, tortoise, sun, moon or lizards. After painting the final layer involves a sticky red brown glaze, made of pounded laterite, water and boiled seeds of the nere tree.
The highlight of Tiébélé is the chief’s compound, theTièbèle's Cour Royale in the centre of the town. You can only enter with a guide, because you are in a private property and will visit the innercourts of houses.The admission is CFA2000.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Nazinga Ranch: elephants in Burkina Faso
With 500-800 elephants you are almost sure to see elephants in Nazinga game Ranch of 97.000 hectare . Besides elephants the park has antelopes, monkeys, warthogs, crocodiles and birds. Best chance to see the elephants is during the dry season from January to end March.
We visited the park end of February. Just after we arrived in the afternoon at the campement Akwazena we saw two bathing elephants in the lake in front of the restaurant. Very exciting. Later in the afternoon we did a game drive and saw groups of elephants just beside our car. The next day on our way out the camp we saw elephants again. And big surprise, when we drove back to Ouaga we saw even elephants along the main road north of Po.
We stayed for one night at the campement at the west gate. This campement Nazinga Ranch has basic huts with shower and toilet. It's a great place close to main water hole of the park to watch elephants.
There is also Campement de I'Elehpant - Nahouri Safari at the east gate. This campement has more luxury and has mostly hunters as guests, but tourists are also welcome. I learned that the protection of the nature and elephants in Nazinga Ranch is financed by hunting. In a special section the hunters can chase antilopes.Related to:
- Road Trip
Gaoua, in the heart of the Lobi country
Gaoua in southwestern Burkina Faso is a good base for exploring the Lobi country. To get the first introduction to Lobi culture and traditions you can visit the Musée de Poni in Gaoua. In front of the museum you you can enter a Lobi house and climb at the roof. Not far from the Lobi museum you have a nice viewpoint to overview Gaoua.
Around Gaoua we visited in Kampti the house of a diviner. On the way back from Kampti we visited Houli the basketvillage and Tambeli the woodcarving village. We visited also a Lobi traditional house in Ello, The Lobi are known by their rectangular houses, called Soukahla, built as a fort.
The Lobi preserved their own traditional animism. In and outside the houses you can see fetishes, family and ancestor altars with sacrifice remains.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Sindou, meaning fantastic rock formations, is located in the southwest of Burkina Faso. The spectacular Sindou Peaks are among the most spectacular landscapes of Burkina Faso,
The Sindou Peaks are a geological wonderland. The series of monumental rocks are sculpted in the long past by oceans and eroded by the beating of the rain and wind. The rocks are like sticks or fingers rising into the air.
The best moment to visit the area is at dawn or in the evening. We went to the peaks just before sunset. The colours of the rocks were fantastic in the late sunlight. Strolling between the monumental sculptures was like walking in fantasyland.
An easy trail leads up to the plateau between the rocks. You can take a short walk of one hour to get a good idea and feel of the great landscape, but you can also walk around for more hours.
The entrance fee is 1000 CFA. For your camera you pay another 1000 CFA.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Banfora, sugarcane, falls and domes
Banfora is situated in the middle of sugarcane fields. It's a green area with an escarpment, strange rock formations and waterfalls.
Higlights to visit in the area around Banfora are the bulbous rocks of Domes de Fabedougou, the Karfiguela Falls with shady mangotrees and the Lac Tengrela with hippos.
It is also worth to visit the women cooperation 15 km outside Banfora to buy fair trade and biological products like cashew nuts and dried mangos.Related to:
- Road Trip
Bobo-Dioulasso, the Grande Mosquée
Bobo-Dioulasso, meaning 'the house of the Bobo and Dioula' is Burkina Faso’s second-largest city. Bobo with its old quarters, the lively big market and tree-lined streets is a nice place to be..
The Grande Mosquée built in 1893 in Sudanese mud architecture was for me one of the highlights of the city. The white structure with conical towers and its dark wooden sticks for replastering looks spectaculair. Around the mosque is a shady area with trees, a well and prayer mats for worshippers.
It's posslbie to visit the mosque for an entrance fee of 1.000CFA. The son of the imam showed us around. We could also climb to the rooftop. For me it was the first time to see a mosque made of mud from the inside.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Children of Burkina Faso
When we crossed Burkina Faso in 1989 by truck, the children along the road were always very curious to look at us in the truck. They came running from their compounds to the track.
A pity that it was not always easy to talk with them in french.
Landscape with baobabs.
In 1989 I crossed Burkina Faso from the south from Togo to the north to Mali. In the north of the country the landscape looked to have variation than in the south. I especially liked the baobabs along the road. For me the baobabs are the most fascinating trees of Africa.
In 2013 I came back to Burkina Faso and dsicovered more fascinating landscapes in the southwest of the country with escarpments, peculiar rock formations and waterfalls.
Compounds in the south
On our way from Togo to Ouagadougou in 1989 we saw a lot small villages and compounds with round huts. When I was in Ghana I learned how cool the huts can be in this hot climate.
First in 2013 when I visited the south east of Burkina Faso I had a lot of time to visit the villages.
It was great with a local guide who knew the villages, the people and the local customs.
In Sahelian countries like Burkina Faso water supply is very essential.
In 1989 you could buy fresh water from watersellers at several places in Ouagadougou. Also we bought enough supply before we continue our route to the north of the country and to Mali.
In 2013 there was bottled mineral water at every corner in every shop or bar in every town.
Quite a difference with 1989. .
Ouaga, new buildings
When I visited Ouaga in 1989 there were a lot of building activities downtown. They built huge buildings in a big contrast with the older parts of the centre.
When I came back to Ouaga in 2013 I saw a lot more new huge buildings downtown. The citrycentre became a mixture of old and new.
South of the citycentre is the new futuristic suburb called 'Ouaga 2000' . In this suburb you can find embassies, ministeries and other expensive buldings.
Ouaga 1989, bicycle market.
When I walked aorund in the citycentre of Ouaga I stumbled at the bicycle market. Incredible, I saw about 100 small workshops for the repair and sale of bikes. Never I saw at one place so many bikes together in Africa.
When I came back to Ouaga in 2013 I still saw some bikes in the streets, but most people used mopeds. Ouaga turned into the city of the mobylette.Related to:
- Road Trip
Ouaga 1989, transport of wood.
Except water also wood is a very precious material in Burkina Faso.
In everydays live it's necessary it is not only neccessary to collect enough water fro drinking, but also wood for cooking. In Ouaga you can see people transporting wood and selling wood too.
Visit to Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou is an easygoing city.
The first time I visited Ouagadougou was in 1989. I walked around in the streets south of the big markets, chatted with local people, played table-footballl for 25 CFA with the boys, champions of the street. I had a lot of practice in table-football at the camping of my parents, but that was years ago. It was an exciting match: the Netherlands- Burkina Faso. BF won.
What to do more in Ouaga:
Buying souvenirs at the big market. Bargaining makes always a lot of fun.
After a long time in the bush: Ouaga was a place to visit the post-office & the bank and eat cake at the pastellaria La Bonbonniere.
In 2013 I came back to Ouaga. It is still an easygoing city, but there is a lot more of traffic, especially masses of mopeds where yoiu look.
In 2013 during my second visit to Burkina Faso I was able to visit the Loropeni Ruins which became the first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Burkina Faso in 2009. There is a small entrance fee and an additional fee for the use of a camera. A guide shows you around the complex.
The Loropeni Ruins are among the most impressive surviving stone ruins in West Africa. Most traditional buildings in Burkina Faso are made of mud, but the bricks of Loropeni are made of rock, stuck together by cement made from shea butter and honey.
The walls are 6-7m high, enclosing a space of about 40x50m. You still can see that the complex has three bigger compartments. There are still discussions about the origin of the ruins. Artefacts have been found from the 11th century. In the early 19th century the complex is deserted.
Acoording to UNESCO: " The property with its imposing stone walls is the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area and is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that bear testimony to the power of the trans-Saharan gold trade. The ruins are at least 1,000 years old. The settlement was occupied by the Lohron or Koulango peoples, who controlled the extraction and transformation of gold in the region from the 14th to the 17th century."Related to:
- Historical Travel
Burkina Faso Hotels
01 Bp 1603 Ouaga 01, OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 01
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
I stayed at 4 hotels in Ouagadougou. If this was a review by Goldilocks, I would say this hotel is...more
Ave de la Liberté, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Good for: Business
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