Caught a morning bus to Banfora. The land South of Bobo-Dioulasso is a lot different than what I've been seeing through most of West Africa - a lot more wooded, very pretty. Checked in to a very swank hotel that was a totally worthwhile splurge (especially with the Peace Corps discount - an advantage to traveling with an RPCV). Found someone to rent us a moped and a little before one we were off exploring! Our plan was to find the near by waterfall hike around, then head for Lake Tengréla.
We spent about an hour finding the Chutes de Karfiguéla, but most of that time was spent on wrong turns (we'd very cleverly refused all guides). The road to the Chutes was a maze of dirt tracks through overhead sugar cane fields - making it very easy to get lost. Luckily the friendly locals made it easy to get found. The waterfalls were reached through an amazing narrow path through a tunnel created by giant mango trees lining the path. The falls themselves are pretty, and would have been an ideal spot to have a picnic or just hang out all afternoon. We hiked to the top and hung out on the giant step-like rocks that the waterfall cascaded from. After a while thirst (we'd forgotten water) drove us to resume our exploring.
From the Chutes we headed back to town for water then headed to Lac de Tengréla. Once again we spent most of the time getting there lost (Excusable since all three guides gave different directions, and the one map we had - the Rough Guides' - was dreadfully wrong). By the time we actually got to the lake we only had a little over an hour before the moped was due back so we had decided to skip the pirogue ride to go see the hippos. The lake was beautiful in the evening light and after a little discussion we decided that the moped man would certainly understand if we returned the moped at six "e;African time" so we hired a pirogue. The flat water and gentle motion of the pirogue was an amazing contrast to the noisy, bumpy, dusty moped - a completely different world. The lilies, birds, and yes even hippos made for a spectacular interlude. We saw three hippos, the first really exotic animals I've seen in Africa, but honestly they were a little disappointing. For obvious reasons we couldn't get to close to them and mostly what we saw were pink ears (I have a feeling that if it weren't for the spectacular background the pictures would be a disappointing). Still I was really glad that we'd decided to go out on the lake.
Back on shore we went racing for home. The light on the moped was not very effective and it was getting dark. Driving the moped on the horrible roads was very uncomfortable in the flat light - no dodging holes and bumps when you can't see them. We returned the moped no more than thirty minutes late (the man didn't even say a thing - we must have been way early by African time standards) just as it was getting really dark. All in all a very full day. My stomach was still not dong well (Giardia is seeming likely) so I had dinner in the very nice (and expensive) western style hotel restaurant. I ordered spaghetti Bolongais, and it was probably the best I've ever had.