The Fulani (Peul)
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The Fulani (Peul)

Farming free

Farming free

Explore the pastoral beauty of Fulani life, where kinship is king, labors are shared, and communal music wends above fertile fields.

Family-focused masters of the pasture, the Fulani strive to embody respect, modesty, courage, and wisdom; a nomadic path you’ll be welcomed to embrace.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is Central Africa

  • Climate here is Tropical

  • The challenge here is Medium

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

Fulani clans can be found throughout large tracts of western Africa, from Mauritania to Cameroon. The rural Fulani are committed to farming and trade—in particular sheep, cows, and zebu—over freely accessible land.
Home

Home

While some Fulani have settled in towns and cities, the population remains largely nomadic. Tribespeople center around small camps built from natural resources such as mud, reeds, and timber. These dwellings can be moved in response to the challenges of the seasons, and needs of livestock.

Culture

Social Structure

Fulani society is balanced by a careful division of labor: while men work the fields, women work the household. Ties of blood and marriage are treasured, with close bonds that lead to close living.

Religion

As a predominantly Muslim culture, most Fulani pray five times a day, study the Koran, and aim to undertake at least one pilgrimage to Mecca. Married women are typically veiled outdoors, while men cover up with caps.

Traditions

Pulaaku is the Fulani moral code. This forms the backbone of the tribe’s Islamic culture, and includes the core values of respect, modesty, courage, and wisdom.

An intrinsically modest culture, Fulani traditions are often family-centric, with music and art complementing the natural beauties of nomadic life.

Language

Fulfulde is the Fulani language, and comprises five very different major dialects. Being able to also read and write Arabic is a common Fulani skill.

Art

The colors, styles, and sounds of Fulani culture are both unmissable and renowned. Open your eyes to the delicate decorations on clothing and architecture, and connect with the spectacular skills of female engravers and weavers.

Celebrations

Community is the word when it comes to Fulani celebrations, with feasts, prayers, and gatherings marking key Islamic dates.

Eid-al-Fitr: A three-day celebration that brings the fasting month of Ramadan to a close. Feasts are shared, new clothes are worn, and extended families come together.

Mawlid: A festival marking the birth of Muhammad, with decorations, devotional songs, and delicious handmade sweets.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

Any travelers to the Fulani should do their best to take on behavior that mirrors the principles of Pulaaku. Dress modestly, practice self-control, and show the utmost respect to your hosts and their families.



Photo credit: Silhouette of baobab
iStock.com/212MN

Photos credit: Bouba / Senegal