Burkina Faso - The Land of Honourable Men
Burkina Faso - The Land of Honourable Men
To use an oft quoted cliché, Burkina Faso simply has to be one of Africa’s best kept secrets. This small landlocked country is home to a diversity of landscapes and peoples that many of the better known destinations would find it hard to rival. Starting from Ouagadougou we head south, to the intricately patterned villages of the Kassena people, and travel from there to Burkina’s western region, to its unusual rock formations, traditional cultures and the fortified villages of the Lobi people, one of the last ethnic groups to accept colonial rule. We explore mud built mosques, and immerse ourselves in Burkina’s contemporary life in the amiable cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. Fall in love with Burkina Faso on this journey of surprises.
Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●●● | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●○○○○
- The busy cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulaaso
- The intricately decorated houses of the Kassena people
- The UNESCO designated Ruins of Loropeni
- Experience a performance of the Bobo Bwa Masks Dance
Accommodation: Comfortable hotel accommodation with private facilities
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum group size 16 (you may be joined by travellers from companies other than Undiscovered Destinations).
Start Point: Ouagadougou
End Point: Ouagadougou
Transport: Minibus or 4W Drive
Countries: Burkina Faso
Tour Itinerary Notes
While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.
Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.
Day 1 – Ouagadougou
Arrive in Ouagadougou, the lively capital of Burkina Faso. Overnight at Hotel le Grand Calao or similar (B)
The evocatively named Ouagadougou, Burkina’s capital, grew up around the palace of the Mossi ruler, the Moro Naba, in the 17th century. It is a small and relatively compact city, with about one and a half million inhabitants. Although Ouaga is lacking in a plethora of traditional sights, it gives a great insight into a modern West African city and is a pleasant place to stroll around. It is dotted with small open air bars and restaurants which are very popular meeting places for local Ouagalais and a great place to sit, relax and watch the world go by.
Day 2- Kassena region - Po (150 km approx. 3 hours)
We begin the day with a city tour of Ouagadougou taking in the noises, smells 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 basic standard (BLD)
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 Hotel de la Sissili or similar. (BLD)
The Kassena are a relatively small ethnic group who live both in Burkina Faso and Ghana. They are primarily farmers but the men often use dogs for hunting nearby wildlife. They believe in a supreme creator god, a shrine to which will be found in every Kassena village. Above all the Kassena are known for the murals, patterns and decorations that adorn the outside of their houses. These are often made up of geometrical patterns, representing creatures such as bats, hawks, snakes and tortoises, which hold special significance within Kassena society.
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 will 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 (BLD)
Day 5 – Gaoua – Loropeni - Gaoua (150km, approx. 4 hours).
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 you may be lucky and meet the chief. The Gan live in polygamous groups with their homes built around a courtyard- the man lives in a rectangular hut, and each of his wives in her own circular house. Overnight at Hotel Hala or similar (BLD)
Day 6 – Gaoua - Banfora (220km, approx. 6 hours)
En route to Banfora we will likely meet communities of gold miners. We end our day with a cruise on the Tengrela Lake where we may see hippos. The area is calm, pretty, and very green despite the arid savannah surrounding it. Overnight at Hotel Canne a Sucre or similar (BLD)
Banfora is a medium sized town in the far south west, not far from Ivory Coast and on the rail line from Ouagadougou to Abidjan. The countryside around is full of sugarcane plantations, the climate in this region being ideal for farming with more rain than other parts of the country.
Day 7 - Banfora to Bobo Dioulasso (150 kms, approx. 3 hours)
Crossing vast sugar cane plantations we reach the site of the Domes of Fabedougou, and you will be able to walk over the rocks to enjoy the spectacular views. From there we continue to the pretty Kerfieguela Waterfalls where you can take a refreshing dip in the water. We then continue to Burkina’s second city, Bobo Dioulasso. Overnight at L’Auberge or similar (BLD)
Bobo, in Burkina’s south west, is the second city of the country and a fantastic place to spend a couple of days. Quiet and leafy, it is home to an excellent live music scene and colourful nightlife. Its name means ‘house of the Bobo and Dioula’ after two ethnic groups that settled here centuries ago. Bobo’s Grand Mosque is one of Burkina’s most impressive sights, a low, whitewashed mud mosque built in the late nineteenth century that is a focal point for the city’s Muslim population. Nearby is the old quarter of Dioulassoba, with narrow winding dust streets, women pounding millet outside their homes, holy fetishes and a river containing sacred catfish. Bobo also has an unusual (and rather underused) railway station, built by the French colonists in an imitation of Sudanese architecture. Bobo is an easy place to find your way around and a very pleasant city for a wander, with large shady trees lining wide boulevards and plenty of pavement cafes to while away the odd hour or two. As well as this, Bobo is a fantastic place to buy traditional arts and crafts at very reasonable prices.
Day 8 - Bobo
Visit the old quarter of the city, dating back many centuries and with separate quarters for the different religions, such as Moslems and Animists, which 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 at all angles from the walls. You will have some leisure time to visit some of the antique shops offering wonderful wooden tribal masks in a variety of diverse shapes and designs. Overnight at L’Auberge or similar (BLD)
Day 9 - Bobo-Bwa Masks- Ouaga (360km, approx. 6 hours)
We will leave early in the morning for our return to Ouaga. On the way we will stop at a small village where we will experience one of the famous dances of the Bobo-Bwa masks. At more than two meters high, the "flat masks" of the Bobo-Bwa have white black and red geometric designs and are among the most spectacular in Burkina Faso. We will arrive in Ouagadougou this afternoon and we have rooms available to use until 1800 when we transfer to the airport (BL)
Arrival and departure transfers
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Any airport taxes