The West African Burkina Faso is a former French colony and lies below the Niger Arc and the Sahara. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world – but on the one hand there are clearly integrative and liberal aspirations and on the other hand the country has a unique cultural and ethnic wealth. In addition, there is a rich spectrum of shapes and colors due to the around 1,700 plant species. For the most part, the landscape forms a flat, undulating plateau. In contrast, the Missiplateau with its island mountains, granite rocks, depressions and knolls is more interesting in terms of landscape. The Burkina Faso natural area also contains several national parks. The well-known ones are the Pô and W National Park, Mare d’Oursi and Arli National Park. Also worth seeing are the Banfora waterfalls near the capital Ougadougou. The latter is a great way to discover the country’s ethnic diversity and learn something about its eventful history. The National Museum in the Lycée Bogodogo is worth a visit, as is the Snake and Dyer Museum. There are also a number of Islamic buildings and other sacred buildings, traditional Mossi buildings and, last but not least, the large Marché Rood-Woko. A popular destination is also the second largest city of Burkina Faso: Bobo-Dioulasso, where you will encounter, among other things, the neo-Sudanese style and an old mosque in clay architecture. However, the different settlements of the various peoples are also worth discovering. Small round houses and narrow granaries await you in the Senufo villages, and old, artistically painted adobe buildings with large roof terraces and family castles decorated with fetishes for the Lobi hunters. Country trips to the land of the sincere, which means Burkina Faso, are an encounter with a diverse and pulsating country made up of over 60 ethnic groups, with traditional and party-loving people and with considerable ingenuity in art and culture.
Located in the southern border area near the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo, the ruins of Loropéni are now one of the most visited main attractions of Burkina Faso. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the reference number 1225, the ruins of Loropeni have been part of the list of the most protected places in the world since 2009 as the first sight in Burkina Faso. It was not until 2017 that the W-Arly-Pendjari National Park complex was added to the list of World Heritage sites in Burkina Faso. So what makes the place so special and why is this sight worth visiting?
Fortifications to protect the Trans-Saharan trade
With a core area of just over 1.1 hectares and a protection zone of almost 300 hectares, the ruins of Loropéni represent the largest and best-preserved part of a system of ten fortifications that were built with the purpose of safeguarding the Trans-Saharan trade. Over time, these fortresses fell into disrepair, leaving behind a cluster of noteworthy ruins. The walls of the ruins are up to six meters high and consist of imposing, large laterite stones.
More than 1,000 years old and so far largely unexplored
However, it did not stop there: Little by little, settlements were built around the ruins of the fortress, behind the construction of which the peoples of the Kulango or Loron are suspected. Presumably they invested funds from gold trading in these buildings. The ruins of Loropéni are still largely unexplored. Many parts of the more than 1,000 year old facility have not even been excavated to this day.
Despite everything, experts have no doubts about the eventful history of the buildings, the research of which can make a contribution to African historiography. Because of this, extensive research projects have been started with the declaration of UNESCO World Heritage, which are intended to get to the bottom of the history of the buildings. A trip to this region, whether as a tourist trip or as a study trip, is recommended and is sure to be impressively remembered.
Lake Téngréla is located in the southwest of Burkina Faso, right next to the small town of Téngréla. Few people live in this area, but every now and then some tourists get lost. The reason for this is the lake, which is considered a local tourist attraction as there are hippos in it. Thanks to its diverse flora and fauna, Lake Téngréla has been on the list of protected wetlands of the Ramsar Convention since 2009.
The residents of Téngréla have found a new source of income in tourists and offer boat tours on the lake to get to know the particularly charming places of the lake. With small wooden canoes that can accommodate three to four people, they go out onto the calm water, meander between the water lilies that are well worth seeing and come within a few meters of the mighty hippos. There are even said to be several families of hippos in the lake. If you are lucky, you will see the animals when they come out of the water. Most of the time, however, the hippos are in the water. You can only see their eyes, noses and ears.
When the boats get too close to the huge animals, the giant mammals snort and warn people in this way. Hippos can be very dangerous, so be careful not to get too close. But if you find yourself in one of the local canoes, you have no choice but to submit to the judgment of these experienced boaters. With a little luck, you can take wonderful photos when one of the 30 or so hippos pokes its head out of Lake Téngréla.
Visiting a Dagara village is part of a trip to Burkina Faso and Ghana and thus a safari through West Africa. This part of the African continent offers a fascinating fauna and an equally fascinating culture. The Dagarti tribe contributed to this.
The Dagara village is on the border with Ghana. The culture of the village is unique in Africa in its originality: The village is characterized by ritual places that are dominated by altars and shrines. A cult of death, ancestor worship and belief in rebirth, which is barely understandable for Europeans, dominates a culture that has at best been touched on by Christian missionaries.
A cult around fetishes that seems cryptic to us rounds off the picture of a wild and pagan magic, which is as natural here as the ringing of church bells with us.
The village of the Dagara is at the same time a journey into a sunken, or at least sinking world, because in times of worldwide communication one can hardly imagine that such traditions will survive for a long time. With this, part of human history will perish without having been adequately researched beforehand: a sacrifice of modern times.
It is up to us to preserve the village of the Dagara for ourselves and for posterity through our polite visit.