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Cliff Dwellings at Tele, Dogon Country, Mali

18 Nov

Cliff Dwellings at Tele, Dogon Country, Mali © Erin Lau, 2011

This drawing marks the start of our trek in the Dogon Country. The Dogon Country is known for its cliff dwellings, mud villages and granaries with straw roofs all inhabited by the Dogon people. It follows along an escarpment, or cliff that runs for appx. 250 km. The Dogon Country is a popular tourist destination, though when we were there we did not see a huge amount of other tourists. We hired a guide, and were part of a group of ten. Each day we would trek with our packs and see 3-10 different villages, some situated on the valley floor, some like this in the cliff. For the most part, however, the cliff dwellings are no longer inhabited, as most people work in the fields in the valley. The Telem people were the first to inhabit the cliffs, and built amazing dwellings into little alcoves, sealing them in with mud. They seem impossible to access. But what we don’t see anymore are the lush cascading vines that used to cover the escarpment, providing both shade and a means to climb into the dwellings. In fact the valley floor used to be a thick forest, and so living up in the cliff was a safer alternative.

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