The travel itinerary in the Ivory Coast
Our journey begins from the economic capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan, a metropolis of 5 million inhabitants that stretches between lagoons, beaches and the Atlantic Ocean.
At Abidjan we have a first approach with the Ivorian tribes and their culture and traditions; in fact, the National Museum offers numerous examples of local art, with precious statues and masks, divided according to the ethnic groups of belonging.
We leave Abidjan and, a short flight, takes us to the heart of the country at Bouake, here the landscape changes completely; these are the lands of the Baulé, a tribe who proudly keeps its traditions and ceremonies alive.
We witness the ceremonial dances of the Baulè, we let us be carried away by the rhythm of the percussion and the hypnotic atmosphere, while the masks dance at an impressive speed.
At Korhogo we deepen the knowledge about the Senoufo, their sculptural skills are known throughout the continent and, visiting their traditional villages, you can discover the ritual symbols placed to protect the barns or sacred buildings and, having the luck to assist at the Dance of the Virgins, it is inevitable to be fascinated by the movements of the dancers and the feticheur.
The Senoufo are also skilled smiths, we go back in time and we witness a procedure that the locals consider a sort of miracle, that is the extraction of iron from stone.
Then we move to Kong, a small town located in the sub-Saharan region, the area of the Sahel, a wooded savannah.
At Kong there are two sublime examples of Sudanese religious art: two splendid mud mosques that rise proudly overlooking the centuries that have passed; the heat is intense as well as the admiration for the builders of similar architectural masterpieces.
The Northern territories are also the places where the nomadic people of the Fulani live; the women, with the typical traditional tattoos on their faces, wear colorful clothes and take care of the village, while the men have the task of leading the herds to pasture.
At Odienne, on the border with Guinea, one enters the territory of the Malinkè, descendants of the ancient empire of Mali; here we meet the Dozo warriors, a sort of local police unit who combines the courage of ancient warriors with mystical powers.
Climbing to the top of a hill, one has the honor of admiring the surrounding territory from above and observing the house of the protector spirit of the region, two huge boulders at whose feet the Dozo celebrate sacrifices and sing ancient songs.
We also witness the dances of these mysterious figures, dances to the pressing rhythm of the drums alternating with tests of resistance to fire.
In the forests, that mark the border between the Ivory Coast and Liberia, there is the territory of the Dan or Yakuba, famous for their traditions and their initiatic rituals, such as the construction of liana bridges and the dances of acrobatic masks on stilts.
Crossing the liana bridge is not only a fun travel episode but also getting in touch with one of the most sacred traditions of the Dan, the bridge is considered sacred because it is believed to be built during one night by the spirits.
The villages are characteristic and come alive when the masks begin their acrobatic vaults, the whole village participates playing, singing, helping and encouraging masks.
Going South, not far from Man, we meet the Guéré, a sub-group of the larger Wé group, we witness the forest mask dance, a dance in which the mask drives away the evil spirits of the village bringing order.
Continuing South you reach Yamoussoukro, the capital of the country where the grandeur of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace contrasts with the surrounding "desert", a copy of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, a symbol of Christianity but also of the waste of money .
The journey ends at Grand Bassam, here you can breathe the French colonial atmosphere, beautiful colonial buildings, even if marked by time, flank long avenues while the Atlantic Ocean bathes the golden beaches of this relaxed town that, for a short time, was the capital of the French colony.
An exciting journey, rich in culture and traditions, of smiling people who always welcome visitors with curiosity and kindness; the masks and dances are spectacular and unique and the handicraft shopping allows you to bring home very beautiful and special items.
This is a wonderful journey that we will carry forever in our heart, if you want information on this trip ask here.