Burkina Faso: between rituals and masks
9 days/ 8 nights
Trip stages/ Highlights
When to visit
The best time to visit Burkina Faso is winter, especially the months from December to February: the weather is good, it's hot but the air is dry.
To attend the Festima masks festival, the period is at the end of February.
Type of the trip
A trip to Burkina Faso is a dive into an incredible reality, full of ethnic groups and masks; in animistic cultures the masks are entrusted with the role of intermediaries, able to communicate directly with the Gods.
Our journey starts from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, that still retains the charm of an ancient village, with colorful markets and tasty street food, freshly prepared.
In the local markets, that have an old-fashioned charm, there are people from different ethnic groups: the jeweled Peul women, the Tuareg in their fluctuating blue dresses and the veil on their faces, the barefoot Bella who push the camels and the goats, the Songhai who sell tobacco, cereals and vegetables.
We will then move to the Southern savannahs, where we will meet the Gurunsi, who build and fresco large fortified dwellings, the men take care of the construction of the buildings while the women deal with the finishing realizing large frescoes, using natural red, white and black pigments , on the ocher background of the clay walls; they are geometric designs that recall ancient traditional symbols.
On the go we will meet the Peul, this population is still partly nomadic; they breed cows, goats and camels, roaming around the territory with their herds in perennial search for water and pastures.
We will meet the Lobi who have kept intact their animistic faith: in front of their fortified houses are the fetish protectors, to whom they offer libations and sacrifice of chickens and goats.
Their famous "buthida", statuettes-amulet, are found in the interior rooms of the house to protect the soul of each Lobi, alive or dead; the cult of the dead and of the ancestors permeates their culture and their daily life.
The itinerary continues in the Banfora region with immense sugar cane plantations and the "domes" of Fadebougou, here water and wind have shaped the rocks like domes, these conformations dominate the plain.
The region of Banfora offers lunar landscapes of rocks carved by time in the form of peaks and spiers and the Tengrela Lake where, on board a pirogue, one goes in search of the hippos that have elected the place as their residence.
Then we will witness the incredible spectacle of the dancing masks, polychrome masks representing animals, buffaloes, antelopes, monkeys, birds, in addition to the large flat mask of the butterfly, at least two meters long; all the masks embody the spirits of nature, to which fertility and health are asked and are thanked after the harvest.
Most of the population in Burkina Faso is still animist and the dance of masks is a moment of joy that marks the life of the fields, sowing and harvesting, village life, initiations, weddings and funerals.