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This is an article written in a South Africa hunting magazine about CBNRM & traditional Dozo hunters in southern Burkina Faso
Yaya Ouattara & Andre DeGeorges
Burkina Faso is prime hunting country for West
African Savanna species. Since 2003, traditional
Dozo hunters from the Comoé-Leraba Reserve
have been undertaking anti-poaching and taking out
overseas sporthunters, primarily from Europe. The
Dozo hunter/warriors date back to the Malian
Empire of the 1200s and are the standing army for
Conté in Guinea, the rebels in the Northern Ivory
Coast, managing the peripheral zones in the new
Park of Upper Guinea.
Dozo “Professional Hunters”
The origin of the Donso (Dozo) hunting guilds date
back to the 1236 A.D. under the Mandingo Empire
of Sundiata Keita. They consider themselves
professional. Their hunting garb consists of an
earthy dyed tunic and a special hat that looks like a
wig. Gris Gris are special amulets prepared by
Moslem marabous and worn by the Dozo to protect
them from evil sprits. The apprentice hunter
donso dewn and his hunting over a 3-6 year
period are controlled by the “master hunter” or
donsofa, donso-koutigui or kalanfa”. He is
steeped in the traditions of hunting, transformation
into lion and other creatures, traditional medicine
and protection against the genies of the bush whose
livestock is the game you will hunt. You will have
a chance to learn about these traditions and taboos
and the required precautions you must take while
on your hunt in order to assure it is both successful
and safe.
The uniqueness of this program is that the
government has turned over the management and
operation of the reserve to the local community,
numbering 17,000 people in 17 villages that border
the reserve. A community organization AGEREF
overseas reserve management and the organization
of hunting trips.
Dozo hunters being trained to undertake anti-
poaching against outsiders coming into their
Tshwane University of Technology’s
It all started when professional hunter Richard
Rouget was invited by Jean-Michel Pavy of the
World Bank to consider taking over the area. He
was not interested. Somehow, my name came up. I
had known Jean-Michel before he joined the Bank.
He is a keen hunter and was born and raised in
Mali. His goal has always been to give something
back to the people and natural areas of Africa
whose survival is so intertwined. I had lost contact
with Jean-Michel over the years.
Jean-Michel Pavy, one of the pioneers of this
program and his Savanna Buffalo (Note: taken
in Burkina but not at Comoé-Leraba), now in
With Richard’s help, and the modern technology of
email, we discussed the idea of Chasse Libre (self-
guided hunting) where in fact a local hunter guides
you. In collaboration with the Department of
Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of
Technology (TUT), and Jean-Michel, a student was
placed in the reserve to help with jump-starting this
Scandinavian Hunter with Singsing Waterbuck
and ex-Tshwane Student, Morgane Echappé
who helped jump-start this program.
Meanwhile, the community has selected a student
from the Dozo clan, Yaya Ouattara to study for a
diploma in nature conservation at TUT. The goal is
to expose Yaya to the Southern African wildlife
model and to train him in modern day wildlife and
range management principles, which upon his
return he will integrate into the traditional Dozo
management system. He is also being exposed to
the incredible economic potential for wildlife based
upon the South African model. South Africa also
offers a potential market, since local sporthunters
are accustomed to hunting on their own with local
trackers. He is one of the best students in his class
and there is no doubt that he will be a candidate for
a B-tech and maybe even a masters degree,
hopefully to be undertaken on an applied subject
concerning the management of wildlife in the
Comoé-Leraba Reserve.
Though I have visited the hunting zone when we
placed a student, Morgane Echappé there about
three years ago, I have not had the pleasure of
hunting this area with the Dozo. I have however
hunted from 1982 to 1988, the same species of
game with relatives of the Dozo, the Mandingue
(Mandinka/Malinké) hunters in the Zone d’Intérêt
Cynégétique de la Falémé, Senegal along the Mali
and Guinean borders as well as in the Fouta Djallon
mountains of Guinea.
Comoé-Leraba Reserve Satellite Image
The Comoé-Léraba Reserve is located in the
southwestern part of Burkina Faso, on the border
with the Ivory Coast, 530 Km southwest of the
capital, Ouagadougou. Although a civil war
continues across the border, this hunting area and
its wildlife remain not only untouched but perfectly
safe for visitors. The 2004-2005-206 hunting
seasons have been conducted without difficulties
and hunters have been satisfied.
Comoé-Leraba Reserve covers a total surface area
of about 125,000 ha. A zone located between the
savanna and dense humid forest, the dominant
vegetation is savanna. However, the zone is also
characterized by vast grassy plains and beautiful
gallery forest along the Comoé and its affluent the
Léraba Rivers. In addition, natural pools scattered
throughout the reserve results in a good distribution
of game in the central part that constitutes the
hunting area.
Scandinavian hunter with nice savanna Buffalo
Hunting Camps
There are 2 types of camps available to hunters:
Typical village scene, women pounding the
Karité nut from a local tree, used globally as the
base for skin creams
The village camp is located close to Folonzo
village, and consists of 4 ventilated rooms with a
table, chairs, beds and kitchen). The solar system of
electricity supply allows the use of computer
facilities (laptop computers, digital cameras, etc.).
In between hunting, staying here offers a unique
opportunity to learn about local village life, culture,
and to discover brotherhood of hunters through
traditional dances and rituals.
Bush camp made of woven mats similar to
Zambia hunting camps
The bush camp consists of in straw huts along the
border of Comoé River in the center of the reserve.
Opportunities also exist to fish for capitaine (Nile
perch), reaching up to 50 kg and for bird watching.
From both camps wives can be taken on nature
drives and learn about village life.
Bring your collapsible rod, reel and some rapala
lures for the capitaine (Nile perch)
Camping Gear & Clothes
It is advisable to bring light weight sleeping bags.
A light weight backpacker cook kit and a “Camping
Gas” stove (puncture type canisters purchased in-
country) to make a quick cup of coffee or tea.
Granola bars and instant oatmeal in individual
packets offer a quick breakfast and/or snack.
Vacume packed biltong may be useful until game is
taken. All other food can be bought in-country.
It is recommended that you dress as per your
preference, when hunting in South Africa, the
climate and habitat being very similar.
Hunting Rifles
The following are recommended
300 or 338 Winchester Magnum for plains
375 H&H Magnum/416 Remington/Rigby
for plains game and buffalo,
458 Magnum (Winchester, Lott, Watt,
etc.) for buffalo
Two rifles are authorized per hunter along with 20
rounds of ammo per rifle. For buffalo the 375, 416
or 458 calibers or larger are required. The
advantage of the 375 H&H and 458 Winchester
Magnum is, as over much of Africa, ammo can be
found if by chance your rifle arrives but your ammo
does not. Shots will be under bush conditions from
close up to very likely under 150 meters. Don’t
forget, if there is a problem like a charge, you are
your only backup so “use enough gun!”
European hunter with nice Roan
Only 6-8 sport hunters are allowed into this area
each year. Savanna species that can be hunted
include, buffalos, western roan, western hartebeest,
singsing waterbuck, kob de buffon, harnessed
bushbuck, various duikers, warthogs and baboons.
The area is extremely rich in hartebeest and roan as
(730 km²)
Dozo Hunters with Darr brother’s Western
Hunting is walk and stalk on foot by cutting fresh
tracks and or from visual sightings. You need to be
in excellent condition, capable of walking 5-8 hours
a day. You will be guided by some of the best
traditional hunters in West Africa. It will be your
responsibility to judge the trophy and ultimately to
decide if you should shoot. If wounded, the Dozo
hunters will track the animal down, but you, the
overseas sporthunter, must be prepared to sort the
problem out once the animal is found, even a
charge from an angry buffalo. You have no backup,
other than yourself, unless a hunting buddy
accompanies you. Hunting is legal from 6 in the
morning until to 6 at night. It is strictly prohibited
to hunt during the night. Shooting from the vehicle
is illegal, though the vehicle can be used to reach
various localities from which hunting on foot can
begin. As American hunter John Darr exclaims,
What we got was a real, old-time African hunt
without the interference and cost of a professional
hunter. We walked our legs off, but enjoyed every
minute of our experience. We are already planning
to go back in 2008.
The hunting is during the dry season from from
December 1st to May 31st. The three first months
(December to February) are the most pleasant. The
temperatures oscillate between 25° to 30° C in day,
and from 12° to 18° in night. From March, the
temperatures increase a little and can reach 36°. A
light jacket is recommended for early morning,
especially in the early season. By 1000 hours, it is
normally taken off.
Upon arrival at Ouagadougou:
- Day 1: Welcome at Ouagadougou airport
in evening and first night at hotel;
- Day 2: move towards the hunting zone,
welcome on the site and ranging fire for
adjusting rifles;
- Form day 3 to the last day : Hunting; and
- Last day: Departure to Ouagadougou, visit
of handcraft (artisanal) village and flight to
France in the night.
COST OF HUNT (Not including trophy fees):
Buffalo Safari (14 days) : 1 Buffalo, 2
grand antelopes (Hartebeest, Roan
Antelope,), 1 middle antelope in choice
(Kob, Bushbuck), 1 Warthog + baboon or
patas (red monkey): 4500€ (R 44,235)
Grand antelopes Safari (10 days) : 3 grand
antelopes (Hartebeest, Roan Antelope,
waterbuck), 1 Warthog + baboon or patas
(red monkey): 3500€ (R 34,405)
Duikers Safari (7 days) : 1 Gray or
Common duiker, 1 Red-flanked duiker, 2
warthogs + 1 monkey: 2665€ (R 26,196)
When one considers that a roan hunt alone in South
Africa can cost as much as R 190,000, anyone
wanting the experience of hunting a roan will find
this affordable even after adding the small trophy
fee and travel expenses. Putting aside the incredible
adventure, this is one heck of a bargain!
The costs shown below include:
Assistance of hunters customs upon arrival
and departure to Ouagadougou airport;
Travel to the hunting camp (the round
Accommodation and restaurant fees during
the stay;
Organisation of hunting by private vehicle
4X4 including rental and trackers;
Fees for the importation and exportation of
rifles arranged for you in Burkina Faso;
Obtaining big game hunting license; and
Potable Mineral water.
Services not provided include:
The trip ticket (round trip);
Hotel accommodations before & after hunt
Administrative taxes: Visas, fees for
packaging and transfer of trophies,
veterinary taxes, certificates of origin
(about 5/trophy)
Camp beverages except mineral water
(alcohol, soda, etc.)
Trophy shipment
TROPHY FEE: Trophy fees are to be paid in the
field upon taking a trophy and are very reasonable:
Cost in
in €
280 000
300 000
150 000
240 000
220 000
220 000
30 000
80 000
75 000
30 000
20 000
15 000
Note: Shooting a female or young is double
the above trophy fees.
Formalities, Vaccinations
AGEREF will help the overseas hunter with all
administrative formalities. However, the hunter
must arrive with a:
A valid passport
4) identity photos for the hunting license
Vaccination against yellow fever is
Vaccination against tetanus and other anti-
fevers are recommended (Go to Center for
Disease Control,
Getting There
An airline ticket good for one month costs roughly
R10,500. Clara at SAA City Center Park Travel can
arrange your flight at 012-343-4923. Unfortunately,
the cheapest route is through Benin that requires
spending one night upon your return in Cotonou. A
visa is not needed by South Africans to Benin, but
it will be necessary to go to the French Embassy in
Joburg to obtain a visa for Burkina Faso. The
French embassy website is www.consulfrance- where an application (same one as for the
EU) can be obtained and all requirements
explained. Information on proper but affordable
hotels in Cotonou can be emailed to you.
Kob de Buffon taken by European hunter
Remember, when you make a reservation, you are
reserving the entire Comoé-Leraba Reserve for
yourself. No other sport hunter will be allowed in
during your stay. We recommend that two sport
hunters come as a team. Reservations must be
made no later than one month before the opening of
hunting season and will be confirmed by the
payment of a deposit of 50% not redeemable. The
transfers will be done on the following account:
BP: 181 Banfora (Burkina Faso)
Compte BACB n° 300051732420-9
Code swift: CNCBBF-BF
For questions and reservations contact Mamadou
Karama at:
Jean-Michel Pavy,
John Andrew Darr,
Richard Stephen Darr,
Morgane Echappé (Bilingual and lives in the capital
of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou can provide first
hand knowledge having spent nearly a year in the
reserve, taking out many hunters),
Yaya Ouattara, and 078-183-
Andre DeGeorges, and 083-
Stop in any time at TUT, Building 5, for some
coffee or tea, and Yaya and myself will gladly talk
hunting, rifles, calibres and the supernatural side of
hunting that is so important across the subcontinent
in assuring your success in getting a good trophy
and safety.
Published African Outfitter Vol2/4
June/July 2007
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