"Lobi Country Near Ghana-Ivory Coast Border" Gaoua by atufft
Gaoua Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 93 photos
The division of the Lobi tribal families into the nations of Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast is but one example of mistakes made by European imperial powers during the late 19th century, when simple geography, not language and culture, dictated territorial divisions within Africa. Today, in the Upper Northwest Region of Ghana, just outside the regional capital of Wa, along the east side of the Volta River, the Lobi live rather peaceful agriculturally focused lives in limited numbers. We found an old woman with the traditional lip plug sitting on a tree stump while her two adult daughters processed palm oil nuts the old fashioned way, while their husband was away. Our guide was very good and the meeting with Lobi woman relaxed and cordial. I was stymied in my efforts to find a transportation link from Wa, Ghana across the river and direct to Gaoua, Burkina Faso, learning that dispite the short distance as the crow flies, traveling distance would be quite large, even if transport could be arranged. There was no village on the opposite side of the river, and not even adequate dirt roads over which we could travel. So, we spent a full day traveling north to walk across the border into Burkina Faso in heavy rain, then we waited for two hours for a bus headed west. At a junction, we waited another hour for a bus headed south again toward Gaoua.
The these tribal groups known as the Lobi are very much more independent minded within Burkina Faso, and from our observation, apparently poorer. We found the Lobi children and adults outside Gaoua more likely to be in want of food than the Lobi we saw in Ghana. And yet, the town of Gaoua has a very lively market with plenty of agricultural produce rarely seen in Europe or the USA. The Lobi guides in Ghana speak good English, and the Lobi guides in Burkina Faso speak good French, but the average Lobi tribal person knows neither European language.
Traditionally, the women fashioned themselves with flat lip plugs, but this is only seen among the older women today. We did not observe any woman in the marketplace of Gaoua with a lip plug. Young men go through a rite of passage into manhood which involves self-multilation of the arms and legs, proving manly strength against pain, but again, these traditions are rarely discussed openly with tourists. The Lobi villagers at the marketplace are not highly sociable with outsiders, but within their own private villages outside of town, they can be much more animated and willing to talk.
However, a guide is necessary to visit the villages, and permission from the village "king" must be received before one can go from house to house visiting. Having a guide who is older, easy going, and yet able to make arrangements with locals is very important as we learned the hard way. A good guide can help your ability to get good portraits, for example, as these people are camera shy and unfamiliar with technology on the whole.
- In a nutshell:Gaoua's Lobi region is a must see are for those who love tribal Africa
There are scooter sales in Gaoua, and scooters can be rented. There's a gas station where everyone lines up. Prepare to... more travel advice
We managed to pay the guide some money and depart with another group who had invited us to join them for the ride back... more travel advice
atufft's Related Pages
Gaoua Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Lobi Country Near Ghana-Ivory Coast Border"
- "Gaoua - Market Town in the Black Volta Region"
- "Gaoua in the Lobi country"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Gaoua
- Hotels in Gaoua
- Transportation in Gaoua
- Restaurants in Gaoua
- Warnings and Dangers in Gaoua
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Gaoua
- 13 Reviews
- 52 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 7 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (85)
Have you been to Gaoua?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Gaoua
Photos in GaouaSee All Photos (52)
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination San Francisco Intro, 208 reviews, 788 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Yosemite National Park Intro, 63 reviews, 229 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Copán Intro, 48 reviews, 213 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Luxor Intro, 47 reviews, 198 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Detroit Intro, 41 reviews, 181 photos
- New York City Intro, 41 reviews, 155 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Columbus Intro, 41 reviews, 150 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument Intro, 33 reviews, 152 photos
- New Orleans Intro, 41 reviews, 134 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Udaipur Intro, 37 reviews, 137 photos