Ruins Of Loropéni, Burkina Faso: A Far Away World Heritage Site.
After a few very interesting days in Banfora, it was time to continue to our next destination in Burkina Faso. Our “guide” in Banfora arranged seats in a more trustworthy bush-taxi to Gaoua, a town close to the border of Ivory Coast and Ghana. There are no public buses available to get to Gaoua from Banfora, so the bush-taxi is your only option – beside an expensive private Jeep of course.
It wasn’t the plan.
This time, thanks to our guide, the trip was pretty straightforward without any delays regarding engine trouble or flat tyres. After some fast moving hours the car stopped in Loropéni, a place where a UNESCO heritage site is situated. Actually our plan was to travel to Gaoua first and then go back to Loropéni to check out the area, but our plans changed very spontaneously: While waiting for the passengers to disembark, one guy approached us and explained that here in Loropéni there is a nice hotel “Why you want to go to Gaoua first? You can stay here overnight and visit the ruins.” He was very confident and we had nothing to lose anyway. So after some thinking we got out of the bush-taxi. The driver was a bit irritated because we paid all the way to Gaoua, but he didn’t seem to be too bothered after all… While walking through a real African village with huge Baobab & Mango trees and chicken crowing, our self proclaimed “tour guide” showed us the way to the hotel.
Not quite what we expected.
As it turned out after the first quick scan, this “hotel” was rather a renovators-delight. The electricity had blown up a few months ago, so what we got were some rooms with a bed, a huge drum filled with water and squatter toilets outside … and as we expected, we were the first guests since looooong time. Sometimes there is no immediate way out of such situations, and after a quick thought (“we have enough bottled water, some cerial-bars and still a small bunch of bananas“), we decided to make the best out of it.
Turned out just fine.
As it was only 2.00pm, we immediately organised motorbikes to see the ruins of Loropéni. Two locals were more than happy to drive us there. The entire complex is somewhat a scattered array of walls – still impressive though – because these ruins stand untouched since many hundred years.
The Ruins of Loropéni.
“The 11.130m2 property, the first to be inscribed in the country, with its imposing stone walls is the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area and is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that bear testimony to the power of the trans-Saharan gold trade. Situated near the borders of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, the ruins have recently been shown to be at least 1,000 years old. The settlement was occupied by the Lohron or Koulango peoples, who controlled the extraction and transformation of gold in the region when it reached its apogee from the 14th to the 17th century. Much mystery surrounds this site large parts of which have yet to be excavated. The settlement seems to have been abandoned during some periods during its long history. The property which was finally deserted in the early 19th century is expected to yield much more information.” ~ UNESCO