Last weekend my family and I drove up north to the annual horse festival here in Burkina Faso. We’ve been before but this was the first time in five years and with two small children in tow. Traditional horse reins are the inspiration for SAHEL Design bags so it was the perfect place for a fashion shoot. We took a friend of a friend along as a model.
As usual the event was hot, dusty, and too heavy on speeches ― but wonderful at the same time. Seeing the Fulani horsemen all dressed up and bowing their steeds to the chief continues to awe the crowds and inspire a thousand photos with every move. It’s so far off the beaten track that the number of foreign visitors is never usually more than ten.
We have made the journey before but we still got lost. After two and a half hours of driving through the bush we finally found Barani, and have noted the GPS co-ordinates for anyone thinking of going another year. They are N 13° 10.175’ W 003° 53.494’
There is still no guesthouse in the village but it is usual for the Mayor to offer hospitality for travellers with no where to stay. This year we chose to commute to the two-day festival from Noona, the nearest town which is an hour’s drive away. We stayed at a guesthouse called Le Touba which we booked in December as it often gets full during the FECHIBA. The co-ordinates for Le Touba are N 12° 44.043’ W 003° 51.507’
To give you a taste of what the weekend was like for us we’ve made a short video. If you are interested in visiting contact the organiser Mamadou Sidibe (+ 226 70285191) for confirmation of dates. The event usually takes place at the end of February but prepare to be flexible as it is usual for the dates to change a few weeks beforehand. The event is free but it is customary to contribute towards the costs and to pay individual horse men or event goers for portrait photos as they don’t get paid to participate.