Here some video and pictures from some of my most impressive trips.
Trip to West Africa in 2000
The trip through Mali, Burkina-Faso and Ghana was organized by the travel agency “Background Tours AG” in Lucerne in collaboration with local agencies in Mali and Ghana.
The trip started with a flight from Zurich to Bamako, the capital of Mali. We drove with a Toyota Land Cruiser to the west into a small village; form there we drove in south-eastern direction towards the inner delta of the river Niger until Kanga.
From Kanga we continued to the famous old city of Djénne; than we drove on to Mopti with its highly-prized mudbrick mosque.
After visiting a goldsmith’s shop in Mopti, we observed mailers working in shipyard at the Niger. Than we drove on to the land of Dogon’s to Bandiagara, where we stayed in its futuristic Kambary hotel. We visited its modern medical center build with American aid. What a contrast to the sand grid of the old fortune-teller who is planting little wooden rods in its sand figures representing possible outcomes. Later during the night, a prescient fox will march over the figures and conveniently knock over some of the rods thereby answering some of the questions.
In the proximity of Ende of local dancing group demonstrated some of the traditional dances of the Dogons.
Here detailled views of the masks.
After visiting the Falaise (the flank of the Dogon’s high plateau) and the village of Ende, we drove on sandy road and reached the neighboring state of Burkina-Faso with its large man-made water reservoirs. After visiting the capital Ogadoudou we drove on to the village of Tibilli with its artistically painted house walls and reached finally the state border to Ghana.
In Ghana we arrived at Bolgatango with its great market. Electrical mills replace the stampers we have seen at work in Mali. Further in the south we visited a Swiss farmer collaborating with the University of Accra. He plants beans in his sorghum fields to increase their crop: bacteria living in the beans root tubers produce nitrate fertilizing the sorghum.
After the due visit to the chief we were allowed to visit a village of the Dacombas. Traversing the Black Volta we reached the city of Tamale. We drove on to Kumasi, the former capital of the Ashanti kingdom. We visited a kempte weaving shop, a dyeing facility and a very big sawmill. Farther in the south, we walked through a cacao plantation and observed women repairing roads.
We reached the Cape Coast with its fortified city of Elima which formerly serves as port of export for slaves. We enjoyed a canopy walk in a surviving part of Ghana’s rain forest. After visiting Cape Coast Castle, another fort used as a trading facility for slaves, we finally enjoyed Ghana’s seaside. Before flying back to Zurich, we visited Accra’s famous coffin maker.