Burkina Faso - The Dancing Masks Festima Festival

Burkina Faso - The Dancing Masks Festima Festival

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 10 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers


Day 1 – Ouagadougou

Arrive in Ouagadougou, the lively capital of Burkina Faso, and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at Hotel Le Grand Calao or similar.

Day 2 – Kassena region - Po (150 km approx. 3 hours)

We begin the day with a city tour of Ouagadougou taking in the noises and colours of the streets. The suburbs are home to a number of craftsmen and it is a great opportunity to appreciate their skills. In the afternoon we head south from Ouaga to the Kassena region and Po. Overnight at Hotel Envol or similar (BL)

Day 3 - Po to Leo (190 km approx. 4 hours)

We drive from Po to Leo, passing villages which are home to the Kassena people, who are famous for their beautifully painted houses, Their society is divided along lines of gender; the men are responsible for construction and build the houses, and the women then take over and paint the intricate and colourful frescoes. Overnight at Auberge de la Sissili or similar. (BL)

Day 4 – Leo to Gaoua (250 km, approx. 5 hours)

We drive through a remote region, inhabited by the Dagarti people, which see few tourists. They have always kept strong ties to the invisible world of Spirits, represented by fetishes, shrines and sacred sites. They build fortified houses to protect their family as well as all their belongings. In the afternoon we visit some of the villages of the Lobi people. They are a shy and secretive tribe but with the help of local guides we are able to visit their fortress style houses dotted around this region. The men still move around armed with bows and arrows and the older women often wear a small disc in their lower lip. Overnight at Hotel Hala or similar (BL)

Day 5 – Gaoua - Loropeni

Continue exploring the region around Gaoua, including the mysterious ruins at Loropeni, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We may encounter communities of gold miners along the way to the village of Obire with its tombs of previous kings. This is home to the Gan Dynasty and we may be lucky and meet the chief. The Gan live in polygamous groups with their homes built around a courtyard- each man lives in a rectangular hut, and each of his wives in her own circular house. Overnight at Hotel Hala or similar (BL)

Day 6 – Bobo-Bwa Masks- Gaoua to Bobo Dioulasso. (300 kms, approx. 5 hours).

Today we drive to the region of the Bwaba across the lands of the Dagarti people. In the afternoon we will attend a performance of the Bobo-Bwa Masks, or Dance of the Leaves. Every year, in every village in Burkina, these masks are created in great secrecy outside the village. After being received by the fetish priest they enter the village and sweep every corner to fully cleanse it. This is a purification ceremony for the entire village and it is believed to lead to its total regeneration. After this we continue to Bobo Dioulasso. Overnight at Auberge de Bobo or similar. (BL)

Day 7 – Bobo Dioulasso

We begin our exploration of Burkina’s second city with a visit to the old quarter of the city, dating back many centuries and with separate quarters for the different religions, such as Moslems and animists that live here. Bobo’s most famous landmark, and one of the most impressive in West Africa, is its Grand Mosque, a whitewashed mud built building with the typical logs jutting out from all angles. This evening we head out to join the local crowd at one of the city’s excellent live music venues. Overnight at L’Auberge de Bobo or similar (BL)

Days 8 - Gourounsi Masks- Bobo to Dedougou (180 kms, approx. 3 hours).

We make an early start for the drive to Dedougou. We will witness a display of the Gourounsi Masks dance – the masks represent the spirits of the bush and often take on animal forms. The dancing is colourful and dynamic and some of the dancers often fall into trances. Overnight Hotel Diarra or similar.  (BL)

Day 9 – Dedougou to Ouagadougou (225 kms, approx. 4 hours)

Today sees us return to Ouaga stopping at several villages along the way. On arrival there will be time for some last minute shopping before transferring to the airport in the evening for your flight home. (BL).

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