Burkina Faso holiday, Festival of the Dancing Masks

“Sacred stones on Sindou Peaks, elephants and antelope in Nazinga and the costumes, music, stories and rituals of the Bwa Mask Festival - it's time to discover Burkina Faso.”


Ouagadougou | Tiebele | Nazinga game reserve | Dagarti and Gurunsi villages | Gaoua | UNESCO site of Loropeni | Banfora | Traditional Lobi villages | Dangriga | Sindou Peaks | Bobo Dioulassou | Tengrela Lake | Bobo Grand Mosque | 2 days at the Bwa Mask Festival |

Description of Burkina Faso holiday, Festival of the Dancing Masks

This nine day Burkina Faso holiday takes you to the hidden cultural heritage of West Africa where ancient traditions and proud tribal customs form the backdrop to a unique travelling experience.

Your Burkina Faso holiday starts in the country’s capital city of Ouagadougou where an urban environment and traditional West African lifestyles collide in a confusion of colour and excitement.

Departing for the West African bush takes this Burkina Faso holiday into the realm of the Kassena where characterful house decorations and adornments make for some highly impressive designs.

As this Burkina Faso holiday continues you’ll find yourself on wildlife drives looking for elephants, monkeys and antelope in Nazinga game reserve before heading through the polygonal compounds of the Lobi and Dagarti clans en-route to being introduced to the leader of the Gan people.

Towards the west of Burkina Faso the spectacular rocky crags of the Sindou Peaks provide a spiritual and sacred centre for local people and enable responsible travellers to further understand the customs and traditions related to the area as well as marvelling at some incredible rock formations.

Hippos wallowing in Tengrela Lake and visits to the laid back city of Bobo Dioulassou provide a precursor to the main event and as you enjoy two days amongst the wooden masks and tribal costumes of the Bwa mask festival you’ll get to experience an event that’s as uniquely entertaining as culturally enlightening.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates

2019: 30 Mar
2020: 27 Feb
Our top tip:
Giving gifts to local children can be a heart warming experience however, donations are preferred and can be organised via tour leaders and village elders.
Trip type:
Small group. Av. 12 people. No age limit.
Activity level:
Comfortable and characterful hotels with en-suite facilities.
Accommodation, transfers, listed entrance fees and tour guides.
6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners.
Single travellers welcome, solo room supps apply.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Burkina Faso holiday, Festival of the Dancing Masks


This tour travels through some very remote regions, many of which have barely been touched by the presence of humans, and we strongly believe in maintaining their pristine nature. The nature of this trip means that some nights are spent camping. We strive to ensure that we leave these areas as we find them and our team have been trained in strict no litter policies, meaning that we take all refuse to either be recycled or properly disposed of in nearby towns. We use gas for cooking, but on occasions may use firewood – but only where this does not deplete natural resources and deprive local communities from using this themselves. Washing of dishes is carried out well away from any water sources so as not to contaminate them.

Similarly, in conjunction with our local team we work with hotels and guesthouses to implement best practices when it comes to environmental matters – again in some places this is far behind what we might be used to in other parts of the world. This includes basic things like not replacing towels each day, as well as saving electricity and turning lights off.

Our travellers are specifically briefed on not to buy souvenirs made from endangered species – people in remote parts of the country do not always have the same respect towards wildlife as most travellers will have, and can
sometimes offer such things for sale. This also extends to bushmeat – it is quite common to find antelope, porcupine or even monkey served in restaurants, and we specifically advise our travellers against contributing to the depletion of local populations.

We also visit Nazinga Game Reserve on this trip, which provides a sanctuary for wildlife such as buffalo, antelope and West Africa’s largest population of elephants. The entrance fees that we include as part of this trip contribute to conservation efforts, and tourism here helps to provide local employment helping to ensure that wildlife is seen as something worth preserving in the long term rather than a short term resource to be exploited.


As with many of the trips that we offer, this tour has a strong focus on local culture and different ethnic groups. Where possible we try to ensure that local people benefit from our presence.

We spend time with the Bwa people to see their extraordinary mask dances, which involves staying near their villages. Through long association with this area, our local team has established solid relationships with certain Bwa villages and our presence here is very much welcomed – we feel that it is very important to be seen as guests here rather than outsiders come to merely look. We are able to spend time with the communities learning about their traditions and customs. To ensure that our presence has a benefit to the community we consult with tribal elders and make a suitable donation which they then use to further the interests of the local people. We do not recommend that our travellers give gifts to local children, but anyone wishing to make their own donation is advised to discuss this with the local guides to establish how this can be best distributed. While here, and when spending time with other ethnic groups, we employ locally based guides who can help us to understand the local cultures – this also helps to create small scale employment.

We also visit the Lobi people, who are a rather shy and reserved group, a legacy of their experiences with both the slave trade and colonialism. We employ a local Lobi guide who can provide an introduction to the community and also ensure that we are not seen as ‘invaders’ but rather guests.

These are very traditional areas with certain codes of behaviour, and the people here are not that accustomed to outsiders. We ensure that our travellers are appropriately briefed in order so as not to offend local sensibilities.

1 Reviews of Burkina Faso holiday, Festival of the Dancing Masks

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 07 Mar 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visting the Lobi villate of Kampti with all its fetishes in full display.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Drink plenty of fluids and bring plenty of money and storage space for all the souvenirs you are likely to buy. The quality and variety are amazing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Staying at local hotels, buying souvenirs and drinks (at inflated prices) definitely helped the local economy and local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Different and enjoyable.

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