Bassari Country: Bassari, Fula and Bedik Cultural Landscapes
Bassari country is a window display of human endeavour and stunning scenery. Encompassing 50,000 hectares of Senegal’s south-east, the site is split into three distinct areas: Bassari-Salémata, Bedik-Bandafassi and Fula-Dindéfello. Between the 11th and 19th centuries, the three tribes (Bassari, Bedik and Fula) settled among the craggy hills, caves and floodplains, developing specific cultural practices that reflected their unique environment. Agricultural patterns include communal sowing, crop rotation and hill-to-savanna commuting, while rituals would involve Chameleon deities, ancient animist beliefs and an assimilation of the surrounding land. Bassari country is not the easiest to get to, but it’s not impossible. Renting a 4×4 and a driver is the most reliable method to get there, but the ubiquitous sept-places (converted station wagons that roam the country as taxis) also make their way to Kedougou from most cities. From here, you can easily find guides and information for exploring the surrounding villages, such as Ethiolo, Bandafassi and Iwol, with most of them require a vehicle to access. It’s best to go between December and April to avoid the rains and extreme heat.