Bandiagara Escarpment, Mali

Posted On December 4, 2009 

The Bandiagara Escarpment is a steep descent or declivity located in the Dogon state of Mali.

The sandstone cliff rise high at about 500 meters above the lower level which has all sand laid flat on the ground in to the southern direction. The length of the cliff is roughly 150 kilometers. Today the location of the escarpment is populated by the Dogon people. Before the inhabitation of the Dogon, the escarpment was occupied by the Tellemand Toloy. Many constructions have stayed behind from the Tellem.

The Bandiagara Escarpment has occupied a place in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the year 1989.

Cliffs of BandiagaraThe Cliffs of Bandiagara are nothing but the sandstone chain which ranges from southern direction to northeastern direction and stretches an area over 200 km which extends up to the Grandamiamassif. At the end of the massif the Hombori Tondo is located. Hombori Tondo has the pride of being the Mali’s highest peak having a height of about 1,115 meters. Due to the ethnological, geological and archaeological characteristics, the complete place stands out as one of the most impressive places in West Africa.

The remainder dwellings of the ancient Tellem people in the back drop and mosque made up using the mud and the of the today’s Dogon people in the foreground is the seen that is seen today in Mali.

The Tellem people who were living in the caves are the racial group living in Dogon. They were later made to move out from the place by the entrance of the new population in Dogons. The new population started living on the slopes of the cliff. The Tellem inheritance is obvious in the caves. The tellem engraved into the cliffs as to bury their dead high up than the normal ground level. Also this place was quite away from the common floods in the area. A number of villages are situated at the length of the cliff, for example Kani Bonzon. The Dogons arrived near the Kani Bonzon village in the Tellem Dwelling Bandiagara Escarpment Maliearly 14th century, and after that they increased all over the escarpment, the plateau as well as the plains of the Seno-Gondo.

Since Dogon has been always undisturbed by the French colonial powers many intresting stories as well as theories are discussed in this regard. It is supposed that there are many natural tunnels that start through the Bandiagara Escrapment. It is believed that only the Dogon locals know about that particular route also it was said that the Dogon’s used these caves as to drive away any attacker as well as use the caves as a surprise.

You can take a flight from anywhere in the world and reach Mali from there you have options of cars, cabs etc to reach to the Dongon city.

In the modern day you will come across numerous local guides who take the tourist groups on various trips at the length of the escarpment and also to visit the Dogon villages. A sequence of chase sprint along the cliffs, and the various hostels located in each and every village provide the tourists with food as well as lodging. The villagers hosting such trips receive handsome income from the hostels as well as the tourist tax. Since a new high way is been constructed it is expected that there would be a huge increase in the tourism of the city. Also this development is putting pressure on the traditional as well as local cultures. The area is not that well protected, thus many times you can come across the incidents of looting.

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