An adventure between the Hausa emirates of northern Nigeria and the eccentric courts of the Fulani theocrats, in an evocative ‘African feudalism’ almost unchanged – albeit entirely contemporary – since the days of the Jihad of dan Fodio dating back to the early 19th century, with the creation of the Caliphate of Sokoto.
It’s an itinerary that was unthinkable until a few years ago, when security was affected by the attacks of the Islamist group Boko Haram, but which in recent times has seen a marked improvement, confirmed also by the indications of the British and French chancelleries.
The journey will wind its way through the Emirate-states of Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa and Bauchi, where the reigning emirs will receive us – not without strict ceremonial protocol – amidst the characteristic royal palaces, with their complex traditional Hausa geometries.
Here we will witness the sumptuous Durbar horse parades, where the courtiers flaunt their turbans and ample boubou, with intense colours and rich embroidery, while the horses show off their best vestments, to pay homage to the rulers and guests, during Muslim celebrations or on special occasions. Not to be missed are the shows of the Gadawan Kura acrobat-soldiers, known as ‘hyena men’, admired and feared by the local population for their magical powers, who train hyenas, pythons and baboons, staging frenzied rituals where mothers ‘feed’ their newborn babies to hyenas, to mystically protect them and make them stronger.
Characteristic events will also include a street boxing match, a traditional Hausa sport called dambe, and the Fulani sharo ceremony, a rite of passage to adulthood in which young men must prove their virility and courage by undergoing flogging.
Day 1 :
Outward flight/Kano (KAN)
Days 2-3 :
The Emir’s palace, fortified gates and the city’s museums.
Day 4 :
The encounter with the Emir of Zaria, the glittering palace of a thousand colours and the historic mosque.
Day 5 :
The emirate of Jigawa, where you can watch traditional Hausa boxing.
Day 6 :
The Durbar horse parade and Fulani sharo ceremony.
Day 7 :
The calebasse fishing and the encounter with the “hyena-men”.
Day 8 :
The emirate of Bauchi with its 19th century palace.
Day 9 :
The indigo and leather markets.
Day 10 :
Kano (KAN)/Return Flight