Burkina Faso/Benin: Paradises in the Savannah

We now offer our bestselling Burkina Faso tour with an extension to Pendjari National Park! Set in the rolling grasslands of Northern Benin, the National Park has the best wildlife-spotting opportunities in West Africa including four of the “Big Five”: lion, elephant, leopard and buffalo! The park even still holds a small cheetah population. From experiencing close animal encounters to spending time with indigenous tribes and witnessing their unique cultures and architectural styles this trip also takes you to the bustling cities of Ouaga and Bobo and to breathtaking waterfalls, wetlands and rock formations.
Day 1: Arrival at Ouagadougou Airport Meet and greet with your tour leader and transfer to the hotel (5 km). (-/-), Overnight at Ouagadougou, Hotel Le Grand Calao or similar Day 2: Ouagadougou - Bobo Dioulasso After breakfast, depart Ouagadougou and its friendly people heading towards Bobo Dioulasso. The road is lined with strange-looking baobabs and huge mango trees. In Sabou we’ll see the sacred crocodiles. Legend has it, that a local hunter got lost in the forest surrounding the village and was saved by the crocodiles. Since that time they are revered and protected by the villagers. At Boromo, cross the Mahoun or Black Volta, one of West Africa's largest rivers. Arrive at Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second-largest city, in the late afternoon. There may be time to explore the colourful central market, the Catholic cathedral and the train station, a splendid example of French colonial architecture (370 km). (B/D), Overnight at Bobo Dioulasso, Hotel Auberge or similar Day 3: Bobo Dioulasso - Banfora This morning you discover the town’s famous mud-stick mosque and its old quarters before departing to Banfora, which we reach after one and a half hours. Upon arrival, we explore the stunning surroundings of this town set in beautiful scenery of sugar-cane fields and tree-lined hills. Explore the magnificent rock formations of the Dômes de Fabédougou and the picturesque Karfiguela waterfalls (100 km). (B/D), Overnight at Banfora, Hotel Canne à Sucre or similar Day 4: Banfora - Sindou - Banfora Day excursion to the village of Sindou, reached by a newly improved road, which we follow from Banfora for about 50 km. The area is known for its craggy chain of castle-like rock formations, left behind when the surrounding softer rocks eroded away. Spend 3 to 4 hours walking through this tranquil wonderland of rocks. In the afternoon boatmen take us out on to the lake Tengrela, a great location for hippo-spotting and bird watching (100 km). (B/D), Overnight at Banfora, Hotel Canne à Sucre or similar Day 5: Banfora - Gaoua Heading east to Gaoua, we reach the land of the Lobi and spend the day with a local guide to learn more about the profoundly animistic culture of this tribe. En route, explore the mysterious ruins of Loropeni, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009. You will also spend some time in a Lobi settlement to meet the locals and explore their fortress- like houses. At the small village of Kouekouera we experience the secret and sacred world of a féticheur, a traditional healer. Before check-in at the hotel, get a final glimpse of Lobi artifacts and historical photographs at the well-kept museum of Gaoua, set up by French anthropologist Madeleine Père (250 km). (B/D), overnight at Gaoua, Hotel Hâla or similar  Day 6: Gaoua - Nazinga Ranch After breakfast, we depart Lobi country heading north-east to Nazinga Ranch, which offers great opportunitíes to see elephants up close. This small park contains 39 mammals including buffalo, different kinds of antelope, warthogs and primates such as red monkeys and baboons. Cautious walking in the park is allowed, and late afternoon is the best time to track the wildlife and take great photo shots (345 km). (B/D), Overnight at Nazinga Ranch Day 7: Nazinga Ranch - Tiébélé - Ouagadougou Wake up early for a morning game drive to view elephants and other animals, and return for a solid breakfast at the ranch. Next, embark on a new journey through farmlands and lush woodland savannahs to reach Tiebéle, a Kassena village famous for its fortress-like, windowless houses. Visit the Royal Court decorated in geometrical patterns of red, black and white by the Kassena women. Arrival at Ouagadougou in the afternoon (250 km). (B/D) Overnight at Ouagadougou, Hotel Le Grand Calao or similar
Day 8: Ouagadougou - Lake Kompienga Next, your journey takes you to the sweeping, sparsely populated plains of eastern Burkina. The scenery is dry and Sahelian, with wooded savannah, elephant grass and scattered mud hut villages mainly of the Gourmantché ethnic group. If time allows, we will visit one of their large family compounds. Near the border of Benin, passing the town of Pama, we reach the quaint and picturesque Lake Kompienga, your place of retreat for the next day. A boat will take you to the small island in the lake where your lodge is located (380 km). (B/D), Overnight at Hotel Thialy Day 9: Lake Kompienga Spend a day at your leisure. The charming hotel offers amazing views of the lake and the surrounding wilderness, a perfect place to re-charge your batteries. With a little luck you may spot some elephants, which often come to the lake to drink and bathe. In the afternoon, don’t miss out on a boat ride across the lake. The Oualé River is dammed at the village of Kompienga near the border with Benin. The large hydro- electric station located here supplies most of the capital's electricity. (B/L/D), Overnight at Hotel Thialy Day 10: Lake Kompienga - Pendjari Nationalpark This morning your journey takes you back to Pama and then we cross the Benin border and arrive in the small town of Tanguiétà, the gateway to Pendjari National Park, known to be the best spot in West Africa to see big game including lions, leopards, buffalos, baboons, hippos and elephants (200 km). (B/D), Overnight at Hotel Pendjari or Pendjari Lodge inside the park . Day 11: Pendjari National Park Spend the whole day exploring this splendid, isolated wildlife park. The morning and the afternoon are dedicated to game viewing near the water holes and gallery forests along the Pendjari River. (B/L/D), Overnight at Hotel Pendjari or Pendjari Lodge inside the park Day 12: Pendjari National Park - Fada N’Gourma This morning we leave the National Park and visit the nearby Tanougou Falls before our drive back to Burkina Faso. En route, we stop at a Gourmantché village. The Gourmantché tribe still live a traditional existence in round adobe houses with thatched roofs. Their villages are surrounded by millet and cotton fields. (250 km)  (B/D) Overnight at Fada N’Gourma, Hotel Panache or similar Day 13: Fada N’Gourma - Ouagadougou Today we continue our drive back to Ouagadougou. In the village of Laongo, at the gates of the city, we visit the Sculpture Park. Discover an outdoor gallery where artists from all over the world have carved huge sculptures from pieces of granite, and the nearby Opera Village, an arts education project initiated by the famous film director Christoph Schlingensief. (220 km) (B/D) Overnight at Ouagadougou, Hotel Le Grand Calao or similar Day 14: Ouagadougou - end of the tour In the morning, explore Manega museum, in a rural setting about 50 km north of Ouagadougou, hosting one of the country´s best ethnological collections including masks and musical instruments of the region, tombstones and other archeological artefacts. At the end of your journey visit the Village Artisanal, an artisan centre on the outskirts of the city, dedicated to the skill and artistry of hundreds of local craftsmen. (ca. 110 km). (B), Day-use rooms at Ouagadougou, Hotel Le Grand Calao or similar Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended.
Ouagadougou: Africa’s film capital Manega: Interesting ethnological museum Bobo Dioulasso: Sudanese-style mosque, Banfora: Rocks, waterfalls and hippos Sindou Peaks: Breathtaking rock formations Loropeni: Pre-European, mystical stone ruin Gaoua: Animistic Lobi culture Nazinga Ranch: Elephant viewing Tiébélé: Decorated, fortress-like houses Lac Kompienga: Perfect relaxation in             splendid surroundings    Pendjari Nationalpark in Benin: 4 of the            “Big Five”
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