Around Banfora - Burkinas beautiful Landscape
The region around Banfora is without a doubt one of the tourist highlights when it comes to nature in Burkina Faso. In a confined space, you will find various scenic impressions at the so-called Chaéne de Banfora. Fascinating rock formations form here the Pics de Sindou and the Démes de Fabédougou. With lake Téngréla, you will also find a beautiful inland water way with the highlight of the hippos living here. In addition, the river Comoé, when it falls from the Chaéne de Banfora into the depths, forms the Cascades de Karfiguéla before making its long journey through West Africa. All these scenic beauties can be easily driven off in one day and you still have a lot of time to enjoy the surroundings in every place. For a day trip I can hardly imagine a more beautiful place on our planet.
The only problem for us was the journey directly from Ouaga, because we didn't really have too much time before the return flight to Germany and therefore had to make the journey as efficient as possible. Therefore, we decided to make the journey to Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city in the country and the necessary transfer place for the tour to Banfora by night bus. Unfortunately, it was impossible to really find some sleep on the track, as we were here shortly after the attacks in Ouaga in 2016 and there were regular military checks along the entire route. In the deepest darkness and of course completely tired we finally arrived in Bobo-Dioulasso and had to wait some time for the changeover. In some cases, we were not sure which bus was the right one and the communication without appropriate language skills was put to the test again. In the end, everything worked quite smoothly in the circumstances, but you can imagine that we didn't arrive in Banfora in the early morning. Luckily, there was fresh baguette with avocado and a decent coffee right at the arrival sitstop, which clearly helped to approach the day fully motivated. A guide to the planned tour was also found surprisingly quickly, although he had to call his brother as support, because he was powerful in English. But we were definitely very lucky with them. They designed the tour wonderfully and we managed everything in time and got a lot of exciting information.
Pics de Sindou
The Pics de Sindou are sandst information near the town of Sindou. It is the capital of the province of Léraba in the extreme southwest of Burkina Faso and has about 20,000 inhabitants. In the immediate vicinity is also the highest mountain in the country, for which unfortunately the time was not enough during our visit to the corner.
But this was not dramatic at all, because our tour around Banfora consisted of four stops and only the Pics de Sindou would have been worth the trip alone. I fell completely in love with this landscape and was impressed by these striking rock formations in the middle of the savannah. Individual rocks simply rise several meters high as columns and form a grotesque and graceful landscape at the same time. With a lot of imagination you can also discover different figures in the formations and the people here have a lot of imagination. As a result, different rocks have the most curious names here and you can always try to create the same associations in your head.
The great thing about the landscape is also the freedom with which you can move here. For the entrance you pay a small entrance fee, but inside you are not bound to paths and can even climb the rocks.
In the past, people lived here who used the rocks as natural protection and built their houses between them. With the remains of huts, which can still be found in the middle of the landscape today, one could therefore easily come up with the idea that these are the remains of these former settlements. In fact, these huts are only a little more than ten years old and come from a film set that was built in this rocky landscape at that time. However, they fit into the landscape really wonderfully and give the Pics de Sindou another special charm.
Even though at the end of the day I was even more impressed by the rock formations in the surrounding area, Lake Téngréla was the real reason for the tour to Banfora. In all the years before, during my visits to Ghana, I was not allowed to see wild hippos. Somehow, however, this point was on my imaginary list and when we were about to drive from Mole National Park to Wa in the Upper Western region for this very reason, we were informed that the specimens living there were unfortunately at this time. moved on. Here in Lake Téngréla, however, they belong to the fixed inventory and are clearly the tourist train horse. But even without the imposing animals, the lake itself and a boat trip on it are definitely worth a trip. Numerous swimming plants such as water lilies, sea cans, the water nut or the water hose make its surface an interesting microcosm.
In 2009, the lake, with a maximum length of two kilometres and a width of one and a half kilometres, was added to the Ramsar Convention's list of wetlands worthy of protection. This also officially underlines the impression of the great importance for the flora and fauna living here.
Cascades de Karfiguéla
As the name suggests, the Cascades de Karfiguéla are waterfalls named after the small village (about 900 inhabitants) in the immediate vicinity. While they themselves are named after such a small place, paradoxically they are also namesakes for the region (Cascades) in which they are located. The corresponding province again bears the name of the river, which falls here from the sandstone rocks of the Chaéne de Banfora into the depths: Comoé. This one is in its upper reaches, the source is not too far away. From here it still has a long way to go, its total length is a proud 1160 kilometers. It flows completely through the Ivory Coast and is one of the main rivers of the country before it flows into the Gulf of Guinea just east of Abidjan.
This enormous significance can only be glimpsed here at Karfiguéla and enjoy the exciting natural spectacle that it offers here. The biggest "problem" of the waterfall: You don't have an impressive view from below, as with most other waterfalls, here as a visitor. I would have liked a drone in this situation. For this you can stand quite close to the top of the largest cascade and watch the water fall into the plain. During our very intensive day of excursions it was also a welcome opportunity to take a refreshing shower at the small cascades above. In the weather, the clothes were dry again in no time and the cooling was more than welcome before it went back into the dryness of the last station of the day.
Domes de Fabegou
Just over half an hour's walk from karfiguéla waterfalls is the Démes de Fabegou, a landscape of limestone information. For our day trip around Banfora this was the last stage and an absolutely worthy conclusion. Of course, there are great scenic overlaps with the first station – the Pics de Sindou. But the shape of the rocks is a little different and so a different overall picture emerges. In part, the formations that were formed about 1.8 million years ago seem like numerous pancakes layered on top of each other. The surrounding area forms a typical savannah landscape.
Here, too, you can move freely between the rocks as a visitor and it would also be possible to climb the rocks if you have suitable footwear with you. One reads as a comparison for these rock formations everywhere from the Bungle Bungle in Australia, which actually look quite similar and are visited by numerous tourists. I realized again that we only met another small group of tourists during our trip. Otherwise we had this beautiful landscape almost for us. Unthinkable in other countries, this shows that Burkina is still completely underrated in terms of tourism. However, it is also a special attraction that is exactly what makes it so special.