Falaise du Bandiagara

Dogon Travellers

Travel to Falaise du Bandiagara – In the Heart of Dogon Country

Bandiagara is a small town located 60 kilometres east of Mopti, on the western edge of the great Bandiagara escarpment (Falaise du Bandiagara). It is in the centre of the so called “Pays du Dogon” – Dogon Country – a part of Mali where the Dogon people live.

Thanks to its scenic villages, unique architecture, and splendid cliffs, Bandiagara and the escarpment is a must-see while visiting central Mali. Dogon treks, walking holidays in Dogon Country and exploration by 4×4 are popular activities here. The cliffs of Bandiagara have been designated a World Heritage Site.

Bandiagara was founded in 1770 by Nangabanu Tembély, a Dogon hunter. In 1864, Tidiani Tall, El Hadj Umar Tall’s nephew and successor, chose Bandiagara as capital of the Toucouleur Empire.

The Bandiagara cliff extends for nearly 100 kilometres and overlooks a broad valley. In the past, the cliff-dwellers, called Dogon, and the valley-dwellers have often been rivals, and the Dogon successfully resisted Islamisation until the 20th century. In 1895, following the conquest of Ségou and Timbuktu, the French stationed a military officer to Bandiagara.

Bandiagara features a unique architecture, ranging from thatched flat-roofed huts to distinctive tapering granaries each capped with thatch. The escarpment abounds in a whole series of cliff cemeteries reached by Dogon-style ladders.The name of the town translates roughly to “large eating bowl,”referring to the communal bowl meals are served in.

Visit the scenic villages on the Bandiagara Plateau and below the Bandiagara cliff. Among them, there is Niongono, Nando, Sangha, Dourou, and Benemato. Visitors to Bandiagara can also Trek in Dogon Country and hike for several days along the escarpment.

In April the spectacular Festival of Masks (Fête des Masques) takes place.

To reach Dogon Country, take a 4×4 with driver, walk from Bandiagara, or take a bush taxi.

  • Meander and soak up the rhythm of local life in Dogon country.
  • Discover unique architecture in dramatic settings.
  • Enjoy trekking and hiking along the Bandiagara escarpment.

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