Dogon Country in Mali is a nice place to explore if you happen to be in West Africa. It has lots of interesting sights and even more interesting culture.
Dogon Country is mostly flocked by visiting tourists all throughout the year because it is a community of people who have managed to retain their culture and traditional lifestyle sans the modernization of the world. It is definitely a must-see if you are out to explore the world and the different cultures that thrive in it.
The Dogon people, for example, are known for their mask dances, their wooden sculptures, their animist beliefs, and their architecture among others.
Location and How to Get There
A trip to Dogon country means a hike up the rocky trail. It is located at the eastern part of Mali, to the Burkina Faso border. It is near the Bandiagra Highlands, the Niger River, and the Seno-Gondo Plains.
From the airport, you have to take a bush taxi to get to the Dogon villages. To get around the villages, you may need to ride taxis, cow cart, and go on a hike.
What to See There
There are different Dogon villages. Each has a different sight to behold. There’s Sangha, where Dogon woodcarvings can be found. Then there’s Neni, where masked ceremonies are held. The Youga villages are challenging climbs altogether. But since they are rich in architectural and Dogon traditions, they are all worth the effort. Next
Aside from villages, there are also notable buildings that can be found in Dogon Country. There’s the House for Menstruating Women, which was constructed by women and is considered of lower quality than the other buildings. This is where women having their periods (they are considered unclean while they are menstruating and thus, should live away from the family home) stay for five consecutive days. There’s also Togu Na, a building that’s exclusively for men. They rest, discuss their affairs, and make important decisions here.
The Dogon people were placed in the Bandiagara Escarpment as a consequence of the ethnic group’s refusal to convert to Islamic beliefs about a thousand years ago. There are many oral histories regarding the origin of the Dogon people. What is clear though, among historians, is that the Dogon people came from different groups of diverse origins who came together by one goal: to escape Islamization.
Since the Dogon country has become one of West Africa’s more important tourist attractions, the cost of traveling to this isolated area is quite expensive. Goods are also priced high so if you intend to bring home a few items that will best explain your experience with the culture, you better be ready to spend a couple of hundreds of dollars.