Three days in the Dogon country is only just enough time to gain a small insight into the fascinating culture of the Dogon people who inhabit the small villages along the Bandiagara escarpment.
The escarpment, a sandstone cliff up to 500m high runs for 150km. It is at the foot of this escarpment that many of the Dogon people live, as they have for centuries.
It was the little known Tellem people who originally lived high up in the cliffs. High up to escape wild animals that were common in the region. They were displaced in the 15th century however when the Dogon arrived and no longer exist.
Over time, as the wild animals were hunted and became less of a threat, the Dogon moved from their precarious cliff-side location and set up villages on the valley floor. Here, water is more accessible and life therefore easier.
Many of their traditions have survived and continue to be practised. One of these is the funeral masquerade which I was privy to while visiting Djiguibombo, a Dogon village at the southern end of the escarpment.
I shall post a few pictures from the masked dance next…