Tour to Burkina Faso : masks festival

Every year with the arrival of the rainy season, many villages, especially in the region around Bobo Dioulasso, organize incredible masks festivals to “call” for good rains.

The animistic view in fact entrusts “masks” to act as intermediaries of the Gods.

All inhabitants gather together, along with their spirits in the shape of masks – antelopes, hares, caimans, ducks, monkeys, snakes and tortoises – to perform their dances.

As Westerners, we are fascinated by the beauty of the masks and the complex choreography of the dancers, however to locals this is a “spiritual” ceremony, with its share of cheerful exclamations and ovations.

Masks have the power to open a breach in the present thus taking the village into a whole new transcended dimension.

  • Duration: 10 days
  • Guide: English speaking
Price from 2.062 € Send request
Day 1


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

Day 2


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


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.  An excellent example of African art where architecture and painting merge and give life to a “fluid” masterpiece, the kind of sculptural architecture that highly influenced the work of Le Corbusier.

Continuation to Leo, visiting villages on the way.

Day 4 & 5


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.  Each family lives in a big fortified building made out of clay and they carve wooden statues for the cult of their ancestors.  During our visit we will be accompanied by a guide speaking the Lobi dialect and this will enable us to overcome their innate distrust and make us welcomed.

Day 6


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 7


The region of Banfora is 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. 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.

Visit to Turka villages, surrounded by dozen granaries, in red laterite.

Day 8 & 9


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.  Despite being a big city, life here still moves at a slow pace and the rich diversity of its inhabitants creates a unique charme.

Free time to visit some antique shops which offer wonderful wooden masks in the most diverse shapes: butterflies, owls, alligators etc.

During the week end we attend spectacular dance of Bobofing masks. These masks represent different characters related to their myths. They embody the spirits of the village, the ancestors and Mother Nature. Some stand for animals, others represent bush spirits.

Everybody put on the best traditional outfit for the ceremony and, in the middle of the village, waits for the masks. It is “the” event. All of a sudden drums announce the dance and the Spirits arrive in many shapes.

Day 10


In a small village we assist to an incredible performance of the Bobo-Bwa masks. These wooden masks represent different characters related to the myths of their families and clans. They embody the spirits of the village, ancestors and Mother Nature. Some stand for animals while others represent bush spirits. The “plank masks”, with a styled face topped by a tall rectangular plank, are very impressive and tend to be painted on both sides with awesome geometrical patterns. Like all masks of the Volta region, also the Bwa ones are chromatic with white, red and black as predominant colors. The audience participates in the ceremony with their songs, comments and laughs. It is a form of street theatre that puts together sacred ancestral traditions and cheerful entertainment.

The Bwa of Burkina Faso are the farmers of the savannah and most of them have remained faithful to their traditional religion where masks are regularly used to celebrate their myths. Their society is also divided into specific corporations: peasants, blacksmiths and “griots” (term indicating “story-tellers”, those who have the task to tell the events of the past, to recount history).

In the afternoon arrival in Ouagadougou and in the evening transfer to the airport for the flight out.

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