Burkina Faso Express (2 of 3): Banfora Geology

In Burkina Faso’s far southwestern region lies the country’s fourth largest city, Banfora. From a tourism perspective, the city itself is not particularly noteworthy, but nearby geologic features make this one of the country’s can’t miss destinations.


The Cascades de Karfiguéla, also known as the Banfora Cascades, are a series of waterfalls appearing along a stretch of the Komoé River as it carves its way through sandstone cliffs approximately 12km northwest of the city. To reach the falls, visitors must first traverse dirt roads through massive sugar cane fields and then hike by foot through a forest of kapok and mango trees.

The roar of millions of gallons of water pouring over the tallest fall is audible before the river even comes into view, and once visitors emerge from the forest pathway they are greeted by a spectacular sight.

Burkina Faso Waterfall
200mm @ 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100
Cascades de Karfiguéla Panorama
15mm @ 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100
Waterfall Ledge
5-frame HDR @ 14mm, f/5.6, ISO 100
Banfora Cascades
5-frame HDR @ 24mm, f/5.6, ISO 100
Komoé River Waterfall
18mm @ 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100

Where there is flowing water there is erosion, and one spectacular example is located several kilometers from the falls. The Dômes de Fabedougou are 1.8 billion-year-old sandstone formations, carved by years of wind and water erosion into rounded pinnacles that jut out of the landscape like giant termite mounds. Amazingly, visitors are allowed to climb up to the top of many of the domes, which provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Dômes de Fabedougou
16mm @ 1/1000, f/5, ISO 100
Domes of Febedougou
5-frame HDR @ 70mm, f/5, ISO 100
Fabedougou Rock Formations
5-frame HDR @ 160mm, f/5, ISO 100

Check out more high-resolution shots from my trip in my album on Flickr.

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