After cycling to Karfiguela falls and the domes of Fabedougou the day before, I wanted to cycle more, and decided to leave early morning and pedal to Tengrela Lake. I had done this road before, on the back of a motorbike, on my way to Sindou; now, I had to provide for my own power. The temperature turned out to be very pleasant, and I cycled out of Banfora with ease, even on the uphill stretches. I had been advised to also visit a huge baobab tree, which could be found 18k west of Banfora, but I was not sure about it; I also wanted to get to Bobo in the early afternoon. I decided to visit the lake first, and I reached it faster than I thought. A guy got out of his hammock, and turned out to be the one to paddle me across the lake.
Like the other mornings, I had not had breakfast, but when we passed several mango trees still bearing fruit, I asked my pirogue driver. He promised to look after mangoes on the way back. We parked our bikes, he got the water out of his pirogue, and we were off. I had read that you can see hippos on the lake between January and March, and did not really expect to see them. I just had a quiet ride on the lake in mind, balancing on the wooden pirogue. But the driver was convinced he could show me hippos. Meanwhile, I just let the sun warm me up, and enjoyed the views over the lake, with rolling hills in the distance, and beautiful waterlilies that were scattered all over the lake.
Several fishermen were out on the lake, too; they were busy throwing nets into the crystal clear waters. In places, the lake appeared very shallow, but there were also stretches with more depth. When we had reached the other side, my friend seemed disappointed: there were no hippos around, but he continued to paddle to the far corner, allowing me more time to just enjoy the ride. When we approached a pirogue on which two guys were busy fishing, he happily spotted a few hippos, and steered our pirogue straight to them. I wondered about the bad reputation of the river animals, who are known to pop up in unexpected places, and who are the number one killer animal in Africa, but when we finally stopped, surrounded by water flowers in shallow water, it turned out to be a safe spot for hippo watching. There were big ones, small ones, and they all appeared for a short while, looked around, twisted their funny ears, and submerged again. When it was not the hippos, I was watching the fishermen, who cast their nets graciously - we stayed quite a while just to enjoy the sight, before we were on our way back to the other side of the lake. The friendly driver took out a stick, and managed to get several good mangoes down before we cycled to a baobab tree which was big, but not the one I was looking for. I realized I would not make it anymore, and cycled back to Banfora after a most relaxing morning on the waters of Tengrela Lake.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Tengrela Lake (Burkina Faso). 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 Tengrela Lake.
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