Pack a picnic lunch. There's nowhere to eat once you're out of town and exploring the countryside.
Good to know
It's best to book your own driver for this trip. You can do it as a day trip from either Banfora or Bobo-Dioulasso. Your driver should be able to arrange a guide for your hike in the Sindou Peaks.
Recommended time of the year
It gets incredibly hot from February to April, so I would recommend avoiding this time of year, if possible.
You could drive rather than hire a local driver. However, this would require navigating police checkpoints on the highway and organizing the guide for the Sindou Peaks yourself prior to arrival.
About This Day
A trip to Southwest Burkina Faso with kids is like discovering a new world of nature and having it all to yourself. Most travelers looking for a West African family friendly vacation head to Mali, thereby leaving the beautiful sites in Burkina Faso relatively empty of tourists. This is what makes it so special, anywhere else in the world these locations would attract large crowds of tourists. Start off this Banfora day trip itinerary by wandering through the craggy Sindou Peaks, learning about the history of the area from a local guide. Once you've worked up a bit of a sweat hiking in the heat, cool off in the refreshing Karfiguela Waterfalls. Enjoy a picnic in the shade while listening to the calming sounds of the water around you. End the day clambering up the Domes de Fabedougou, a landscape similar to the Sindou Peaks, but a bit smaller and more rounded. The Domes de Fabedougou offer the opportunity to climb up for a fabulous view of the countryside. If you're lucky, you might even spot a herd of cows making their way through the domes, where you will feel as if you're lost in time.
The Sindou Peaks are an amazing spectacle of nature that seems to be frozen in time. It was surprising to me that something so beautiful was so void of other tourists, but that was part of what made it special. We had it all to ourselves.
The guide will walk you through the peaks and describe how the local Senufo people came to be in the area, how they lived and why they left the Sindou Peaks. It was lovely to get out in nature and learn about the local culture at the same time. The kids enjoyed being able to run free, chasing various insects that crossed their paths. Anywhere else in the world, a geological formation such as this would be busy with tourists. It was an interesting experience to be here alone.
DIRECTIONS The entrance to the Sindou Peaks is approximately 50 km (31 miles) west of Banfora on Highway 28. You'll need a guide for the approximately 45-minute to 1-hour hike through the peaks. If you've arranged transportation from Banfora or Bobo-Dioulasso, your driver should be able to organize a guide for you. If you're driving yourself, you can call Bakaramoko at +226 76 57 19 78 or Tiemoko at +226 76 08 46 60. In theory, there should be someone at a small booth near the entrance; however, it isn't always manned, so it's better to call ahead.
TIP There are no facilities in the area. Make sure to go to the bathroom in Banfora, or bring some toilet paper (and a ziplock bag to put the used paper in) and squat in the bush prior to heading into the Peaks.
After a hot hike in the Sindou Peaks, it's lovely to go for a refreshing dip in these beautiful waterfalls. Bring along your picnic lunch (which you packed from Bobo-Dioulasso or picked up in Banfora) and sit in the shade on the rocks, enjoying the sound of the falls.
After eating, you can put on your bathingsuit and jump in. There's a large pool at the base of the lower falls that's lovely for swimming. You can also swim across and clamber up the opposite side, dipping in and out of many other small pools. My girls loved exploring the smaller pools. They felt very adventurous.
There were so many moments during our time in West Africa where we were hot, sweaty and constantly surrounded by other people. It was nice to be cool, quiet and alone in nature for a change. I felt more relaxed here than I did at almost any other point during our trip.
DIRECTIONS The Karfiguela Waterfalls are on a side road, north of Banfora. When you drive back into Banfora from the Sindou Peaks, take a left just after Restaurant Yankadi. Follow this road for about 12 km (7.5 miles) until it starts to veer to the right. You'll see a sign on the left for the Karfiguela Waterfalls. There is a small parking area, and then it's a short walk to the falls. The upper falls are visible from the open-spaced car park, but it's worth heading to the left of the falls and walking down to the lower falls, where you'll find a lovely shaded area with some flat rocks and a swimmable pool.
TIP Pack a lunch and bring lots of water. There's nowhere to change, but you can wander off into the bush, if needed. Don't leave any valuables in the car. The area isn't busy but you'll be away from the vehicle, so it's better to not take any chances.
Domes de Fabedougou
This is a nice complement to the Sindou Peaks and fun to do on the same day. Where the Sindou Peaks are pointed, the domes are rounded but still the same sandstone material. There's no guide required for the domes, so you can wander at your own pace. There are a few that are easy to climb and provide a stunning view over the valley. If you're lucky, you might see a herd of cows being directed through the middle of the domes.
DIRECTIONS The Domes de Fabedougou are about 3 km (1.9 miles) north of Karfiguela Waterfalls. There's a small parking area to the left of the road and a covered concrete structure that occasionally has someone manning it.