Tour To Burkina Faso: Festima, Masks Festival

In the animistic realty, the masks are entrusted to act as intermediaries able to communicate directly with the Gods.  At FESTIMA festival, masks gather to perform great ceremonies. We will recognize among them the antelope, hare, caiman, duck, monkey, snake, and tortoise. All the inhabitants of the savannah will be gathered together along with their spirits ready to perform their dance for our greatest pleasure. As Westerners, we will be fascinated by the beauty of the masks as well as by the complex choreography performed by the dancers, but to the locals this ceremony is a real cult with its share of cheerful exclamations and ovations. The masks have the power to open a breach in the present and make the village slide into another dimension, a world of transcendence.

 

Enjoy these photos to have an “avant-gout” of this festival: https://www.flickr.com/photos/transafrica-togo/sets/72157648972592558/

  • Duration: 10 days
  • Guide: english speaking
Price from 2.234 € Send request
Map

map burkina faso

Day 1

Ouagadougou

Arrival in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2

Sahelian town

Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, lies in the middle of West African savannah. Life happens in and around the streets, in a unique fusion of village and town ambiances: old taxis, bicycles, scooters, donkeys pulling chariots, porters carrying big loads on the heads, traders selling colorful goods, small open air restaurants with loud music, chickens and goats everywhere eating spilled food, a colorful hand-painted board advertising a local «coiffeur» in the shade of a mango tree etc. In street markets colors are brilliant and smells very strong. In the suburbs there is a large area dedicated to the exhibition of the craftsmen’s work, a great opportunity to appreciate artists’ skills and the beauty of African craftworks.

Day 3

African frescoes

In the southern savannahs we meet with the Gurunsi tribe living in adobe fortified buildings decorated with amazing black, red and white African frescoes. Their society is organized around gender: men are in charge of constructions while women take care of painting and decorating, using natural colours on an okra background. Men build houses by putting different layers of clay over support pillars and arches, walls and terraces are then made waterproof by spreading a mixture with zebu dung. It is at this point that women take over and paint amazingly beautiful and intricate frescoes.

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Day 4

Fortified villages

Day dedicated to the exploration of a region rarely visited by tourists. Here we meet with the Dagarti people who share the same environment with the Lobi and just like them they build fortified houses. In the afternoon visit of some Lobi villages. The Lobi of Burkina are the shiest members of this tribe who has spread throughout Burkina Faso, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Here in Burkina they also appear to have the most characteristic villages – probably their shy behaviour has helped them keep their traditions more intact.

Day 5

Traditional Chiefs

We continue our visit of the Lobi fortified villages and also stop at Loropeni Ruins, a “mysterious” place. Loropéni figures on the UNESCO World Heritage List and covers an area of 10 sqkm. Its array of stone walls is one of the best preserved examples of fortified settlement in West Africa and it probably dates back to many centuries, when gold mining was at its peak. At Obire we will possibly meet with the traditional Chief of the Gan Dynasty and his court – a great opportunity to personally ask questions on the role of traditional chiefs in modern Africa.

Day 6

Colonial atmosphere

Bobo Dioulasso, the second largest city in Burkina after Ouagadougou, is a charming African city, certainly the greenest in the country. Many of its neighbourhoods have maintained a peculiar colonial atmosphere while the train station was built in Neo-Moorish style. In a radically different style is the mosque, built in purely Sudanese style in 1880 (now under renovation). Despite being a big city, life here still moves at a slow pace and the rich diversity of its inhabitants creates a unique charme.

In 1891, French explorer Crozat used these words to describe the importance of trade in Bobo Dioulasso: “the caravans coming from the South bring cola nuts and fabric; the Northern ones come loaded with salt; iron tools and glass beads come from the East while Gold arrives from Lobi country”.

Day 7

Rocks and waterfalls

We remain in the region of Banfora which so rich of surprises. Across vast sugar cane plantations, we reach the “Les Domes de Fadébougou”, a location where millennia of water and wind erosion have given rocks the shape of a dome overlooking the plain. And from the top we will enjoy a beautiful panorama. We then continue to Kerfiéguela Waterfalls to have the opportunity to jump into the water and freshen up, always enjoyable when surrounded by arid savannah.
Back to Bobo. Free time to visit some antique shops which offer wonderful wooden masks in the most diverse shapes: butterflies, owls, alligators etc

DAYS 8 & 9

FESTIMA

Great mask festival attended by around 40 villages, each of them represented by their own group of masks. For days the masks dance in the middle of hundreds of people who all came to appreciate their shapes and movements. Masks dance from morning to night time. They are never tired. At that point the festival turns into a collective moment of socialization. There is also the “market of the communities” as well as the cabaret nights when various “griots” (storytellers) are in competition to reveal their own talent.

Day 10

Granaries

Drive to Ouagadougou.
On the way we will stop to see interesting villages, with giant granaries, which remind us the Dogon granaries, with the entrance on the side.
Arrival in Ouagadougou.
Free time for last shopping

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