Welcome to the Fouta! I took my first real foray into the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea, also known as Middle Guinea. It’s famous for it’s mountains; some people say that the Fouta is the Switzerland of west Africa. It is home to the Peuhls who are traditionally cattle herders, evidenced by the cows seen all over the Fouta and even chilling in the middle of the road in Labe, their regional capital.
A few other volunteers and I went to a remote valley in the Fouta to go hiking in what is one of Guinea’s most beautiful areas, Doucki. Many years ago a Peace Corps volunteer in the area discovered a man named Hassan Bah who lived in the village at the top of the valley. Hassan hiked around with the volunteer showing him the area and as word spread of the beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and woodlands, tourists started coming to discover the area for themselves.
We spent a day and a half hiking and I saw some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. We took a 16 km hike down into the valley and back up through a waterfall on wooden ladders. We were very lucky as it was rainy season and thus there were waterfalls and streams aplenty yet it didn’t actually rain during the two days we were there. At one moment we were hiking down a waterfall practically inside the side of a mountain. I felt pretty hardcore…until I saw Guinean women hiking up the waterfall. Without shoes. With babies attached to their back. With buckets on their heads. All the trails we hiked exist not for tourist purposes, but because they’re routes that Guinean villagers use every day.
Here are some pictures, though they hardly capture the beauty:
Dalaba (on the way to Doucki)
Our living arrangements (bunk beds in a hut)
waterfalls...and more waterfalls