During our days in Man, the granite pinnacle rising spectacularly out of the surrounding landscape was almost always visible: it is within walking distance from town. When we open the curtains on the day of our climb, the sun is just starting to rise from the horizon, and it promises to be a beautiful day. We see the peak rising sharply from the otherwise undulating landscape, and while we could have walked from Man, we take a taxi, that has trouble negotiating the last stretch on an ungodly bad road. We have enough water with us (at least, we hope so), and things to eat, and after paying our dues to a local chief, we are on our way. We first tackle a medium-steep climb that takes us to a ridge, from where we can see the Dent de Man to our left. Our guide explains that the trail makes its way around the peak, and that the actual climb will start from its base at the other side. The walk is easy and we frequently stop to take in the views over the surrounding landscape, full of plantations: banana trees, pineapples, maize, yam, and others, with dots of mango trees and boulders in between. Sometimes, a farmer passes us: invariably with a rifle, for the opportunity to shoot small deer on the way.
At one point, the landscape on our left opens up a little. Above us rises the Dent de Man, much larger now, its brownish, vertical granite wall rising steeply from the landscape, almost intimidating. Despite our early rise, the sun is now burning on our necks now, squeezing sweat out of our bodies. Strangely enough, for our guide a few sips from a cold stream are enough for the entire walk. When we are a the foot of the mountain at the eastern side, we turn left, leave the fields behind us, and the trail immediately turns steep. The real climb has started. We quickly make our way up through a forest, at times scrambling up, pass by what used to be a small settlement. Locals once lived here, a perfect hiding place high up the steep mountain. Our guide tells us how the Dent de Man, or the Man's Tooth, is the source of a legend. There are actually two peaks close to each other. They both strived to reach the heavens, and when one was taller than the other, the latter would reach out a little more until it was higher, pushing both peaks towards the sky. One day, though, the earth trembled and the highest peak crumbled, leaving the countryside strewn with boulders, and the other peak higher.
When we have reached the last trees, all that remains is climbing a small wooden ladder squeezed between two boulders, and a few steps beyond, we see strings of plastic attached to a wooden pole flying in the air, reach the plateau that, at 881m altitude, is the very top of Dent de Man. Below us, we see the second, lower tooth; further away, the city of Man, and all around us, mountains that are far less spectacular than the one we are standing on. Even though our guide claims that la Dent de Man would be the second highest mountain of the region after Mont Tonkpi, I could swear there are several peaks around us which are higher. After taking a rest at the very edge of the tooth-like mountain with its vertical drop of several hundred metres, we descend, and walk around the northern side of the peak. The trail is narrow, we sometimes have to clamber over logs, under majestic trees, until we reach a more open section with views from the mountain we have just conquered. The hike eventually brings us to the cascade de Glongouin, where a party is going on with singing, guys drumming a rhythm on bottles, laughter, and lots of selfies in the water coming down the rocks. When we continue our walk towards Man, after a well-deserved rest at the waterfall, we are rewarded great views of the gigantic tooth sticking out of the landscape.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Dent de Man (Ivory Coast). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Dent de Man. Read more about this site.