Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How can I visit Biffeche?
A. See the section on "Visiting Biffeche". It is very convenient to visit Biffeche and we vigorously welcome all visitors to our friendly Kingdom.

Q. Is any special permission or visa needed for outside tourists to visit the Kingdom?
A. No. Sénégal does not normally require visas of American or European tourists for stays of less than 30 days. Mauritania does. Both require passports. All people are welcome in Biffeche. As you approach any village in Biffeche, your first act is to check in with the Chef de Village; see the section on Cultural Practices for appropriate customary cadeaux (small symbolic gifts and trinkets for the Chef). Passports of visitors are stamped with a Biffeche "Marque de Visite" once you are in Biffeche.

Q. How can I obtain CFA money for use in Biffeche?
A. In Dakar, Sénégal, at the banks at Place d'Independence; or, at the Banque Islamique du Sénégal or the Hotel de la Poste in Saint-Louis, Sénégal. US Dollars and new Euro are most readily accepted for conversion to CFA money. (Note that the Biffeche Dinar-Haut (BDH) is not currently available to the general public, and that it is not necessary for transacting commerce within the Kingdom.)

Q. I am interested in obtaining an aristocratic title. Can this be arranged?
A. No. Biffeche's very few aristocratic titles are hereditary, depending on the original grants. Titles of nobility have been granted by the Kings only in very rare cases to a few people of the highest character and impeccable background who have given extraordinary service to the Kingdom or created great programs and resources for the people of Biffeche. It is not possible even to ask officially, since it is always a rare spontaneous act of the monarch.

Q. What about Knighthoods?
A. Knighthoods are conferred only upon those in and out of Africa who perform services benefiting the people of Biffeche, and the specifics depend on the rules of each order. (See the section on Orders, Decorations and Knighthood.) Under Biffeche law, the monarch is the sole "font of honor" and there is no way to obtain Knighthood except through the grace and act of our King. Those who buy and sell Biffeche orders and decorations are merely collecting the regalia, not the Knighthood itself.

Q. Does the Kingdom of Biffeche recognize the current claimant to the throne of the Kingdom of Diolof?
A. Yes, but we recognize Diolof not as having ever had any suzerainty over Biffeche legitimately, but rather as a brother Kingdom which was conquered by the French over a century ago.

Q. What is the relation between the Kingdom of Biffeche and the Kingdom of Axim, in Ghana?
A. There is legally a "personal union" of the two Kingdoms in that they share the same King. The King of Biffeche is always also the King of Axim on the Ghana coast. (This is similar to the current King of the U.K. being also King of Canada.) Although the late Bishop Essuah of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, declared Axim to be "a part of Biffeche" in the 1970's, Axim is not technically administered as a "part" of Biffeche any more than Biffeche is "part" of Axim, and of course neither is a colony of the other. The respective peoples of Axim and Biffeche have always had harmonious relations.

Q. How can I contact the Royal family?
A. Details of the Royal family are not public.

Q. Is the Biffeche Dragon the largest lizard species in Africa?
A. Yes, depending on how defined. There is currently some debate about species, however, and about which species is the second-biggest dragon on earth: A large Biffeche Dragon is larger than the related Nile Monitor, but possibly no larger than a large Salvatore Dragon or normal-sized Komodo Dragon. It has been said that the Biffeche Dragon is the second-largest lizard in the world, second only to the Komodo Dragon, despite this. No reputable zoologist has ever demonstrated credibly that the offspring (if any could exist) of a Biffeche Dragon and a Nile Monitor would necessarily be fertile (indicating that they are really one species). In the absence of such evidence, it is unscientific and irresponsible to claim that they are one species and not two, until such evidence is properly adduced, confirmed and published. The Biffeche people have never in history called our Dragon a "Nile Monitor" nor have we used any phrase that would even suggest it. No western herpetologist or zoo has ever bought or kept a Biffeche Dragon, and it is not allowed.

Q. Is there any other black African Kingdom besides Biffeche with a white, foreign-born King?
A. Yes, there are at least four such Kingdoms: Biffeche, Mepe (within Ghana), Axim (within Ghana), and a fourth in a central African region that should not be widely publicized at this time. The King of Biffeche and of Axim is (the same), the Ngoryifia of the Mepe Kingdom in Ghana is Henk Otte of the Netherlands (Togbe Korsi Ferdinand Gakpetor II), and the King of the fourth mentioned Kingdom is American. In addition, Africans in Ceuta and Melilla on the coast of Afrique du Nord are subject to the (white, Spanish) King, H.M.C.M, Felipe VI, King of Spain. The installation of certain Europeans as honorary chiefs or sub-chiefs (like Roland James Moxon in the Aburi Kingdom, or the famed American musician Issac Hayes enstooled in 1992 as Honorary Development King of the Ada Traditional Area, Ghana, and Honorary Chief of a tribe in Nigeria) should not be confused with true Kingship.

Q. How can I get a press interview with the King?
A. You cannot; the King does not grant audiences or interviews to the press. The King is concerned with helping the people of Biffeche with health, agricultural, economical and other problems; outside of Biffeche, his life is private.

Q. What is the population of Biffeche?
A. This depends on who is included. Some borders of Biffeche are precise (e.g. along the river) while others are imprecise. In addition, Biffeche has quasi-nomadic pastoralists (Fula/Peulh) who are adherents and subjects of the Kingdom and seasonally leave and enter the Kingdom, as well as some Biffeche subjects living in other places and countries. Also, certain remote villages have lost touch. Nonetheless, the current population is probably in excess of 75,000 people by any calculation. This excludes various 'adherents' of the King who live in neighboring parts of Sénégal, Mauritania and elsewhere, and it excludes the entire population of the Kingdom Of Axim in Ghana. Axim's population is currently somewhat less than 50,000.

Q. What is the Arabic form of the Kingdom name?
A. It is officially Mamlakaa Biffeche:

Mamlakaa Biffeche rather than Al Mamlakaatoul Biffeche, although the latter is a common and harmless mistake.

Q. Has Biffeche ever had a Queen?
A. The wives of the Kings are Queens, but Biffeche has not had a ruling Queen in over 400 years. There is no law against it in the Biffeche system of Royal succession, but it has not been our custom recently to have a ruling Queen.

Q. Is there polygamy (one man, multiple women) in Biffeche?
A. Yes, sometimes. But not among our strictly Roman Catholic Christians. Muslims are allowed up to four wives by the sacred Koran. Followers of the old religion of the Great White Leopard and Pangool are allowed to marry as many wives as they can comfortably support.

Q. The late Edward Schafer (H.M., King Edward I) was a Roman Catholic Christian from Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, chosen and sanctified by the Catholic Church; how do Biffeche's Muslims feel about him?
A. The evidence today is that the Muslims revere Edward I as much as the Christians do. (The same is true of our current King, H.M., Ronald I.) The Muslims gave attention and respect and reverence to the great tomb of King Edward at Savoigne. They are welcome to visit it on pilgrimages to Savoigne. Our current King is punctilious about honoring all Biffeche religions and he is especially beloved by the followers of Pangool and the Great White Leopard.

Q. Did the Reverend Father Timothy, Baron of Mells, Roman Catholic Priest, and Benedictine Monk in Saint Louis and Chaplain Royal of the Kingdom of Biffeche, write with authority for or about the Kingdom?
A. Yes, on the Christian spiritual matters involved. He advised, blessed and Royally supported our Kings. He had been the official Christian Chaplain Royal of Biffeche for over 25 years and was dearly beloved by our late King Edward I. Fr. Timothy never addressed any issues of Islam, White Leopard, or Pangool, nor did he exert any civic or temporal authority over the people of Biffeche.

Q. Does the Reverend Brother Emanuele Zanaboni, an Italian lay priest and monk of St. John of God, write with authority for or about the Kingdom?
A. No, he writes and speaks his own personal opinion only. He has no office or title in the Kingdom, nor any civic authority over us. He is not our Chef de Village. He is stationed at our St. Blaise Center. He is a legitimate Roman Catholic Christian monk and priest from Milano, Italy who has performed many good works that were valuable to the Kingdom in the past, but he presently is in a feuding battle with the whole Christian congregation from Biffeche and he continually disrespects our elders, Chefs des Villages, aristocrats and Conseils des Anciens. In 1999, he promised not to interfere in our civic village matters anymore (confirmed by his supervising Diocese of Saint-Louis), but he has not kept that promise. Fr. Zanaboni writes inappropriate letters and mass-mailings to stir up needless disagreements, but he does not answer most sincere correspondence inquiries truthfully (or, most often, at all). He (very unsuccessfully!) tries to make us feel ashamed of the history of our Kingdom, and his anti-Americanism is a kind of racism that Africans who are actually concerned do not feel at all. He says that he is the one who is doing God's work in Biffeche, and that we should obey him. He has become improperly familiar with certain of our youth against our respected ancients and chefs, and he has violated our customs of honor, seniority and precedence. He started a number of complicated political campaigns (seeking to influence the Kingdom by the famous "fine Italian hand") which we think have no chance of success. We are very proud of our Kingdom of Biffeche and our history and Kings and our way of life and we make no apologies to persons (if there are any) who think like Fr. Zanaboni about us. [Note: In January, 2001, we asked permission from the King to put this FAQ answer in the official web-page. The King had no objection and made no comment on it.]

Q. Do the Biffeche mind being photographed?
A. No, we love being photographed, Muslim, Christian, and followers of the Great White Leopard alike. It is no problem. The most wonderful character studies in West Africa may be obtained in Biffeche, as well as shots of many exceptionally handsome people.

Q. Can I build a house or villa in Biffeche?
A. Often this can be arranged. Contact the Offices of the Kingdom, or the relevant Chef de Village if you wish to build at or near a village. Those who build important villas tend to be aristocrats, chiefs or imams.

Q. What is the weather like in Biffeche?
A. We have beautiful, perfect weather in the months of November through February. It is a dry, desert climate but cool and pleasant with blue skies. In this period it virtually never rains. In summer, however, it gets hot, and then the rains come to replenish our fields and gardens. Sometimes you will see the remarkable Harmattan wind, close-up, as it blows Saharan dust up into the sky to make beautiful sunsets.

Q. Are there lions and tigers in the Kingdom of Biffeche?
A. For tigers the answer is simple: tigers are in Asia, not Africa. For lions, very probably not, but we are not completely sure. Visual reports can be unreliable. No lion has been photographed wild in the Kingdom of Biffeche in many years. There is a remote possibility, since there are parts of Biffeche where nobody goes, that there could be a few lion families. Mysteriously mangled, eaten sheep and goats have been reported occasionally, over the years (sometimes the Great White Leopard may be assumed). The lion is an appealing possibility because, if there is indeed a lion left in Biffeche, it is, with little doubt, probably the largest specimen of a lion on earth. The largest lions in Africa still live in the Sénégambia area, and traditionally in the old times the largest (male) lions in the Sénégambia area hunted in Biffeche.

Q. Is Biffeche in the Jungle?
A. No, we have fields, lakes, sand dunes, stands of acacia and other remarkable trees, palms, forests and the great Baobab, but no thick jungle like Gabon or Congo. In ancient times we believe that there was jungle in Biffeche, before the Sahara spread south to the Sahel region. It is in our memories and legends.

Q.Where is the Biffeche River?
A. That is just the old name of the Marigot de Lampsar, in southeastern Biffeche.

Q. How old is the Kingdom of Biffeche?
A. According to our traditions, Biffeche was founded by the Great White Leopard at the beginning of time. The oldest western records in our control date the Kingdom of Biffeche back to at least 1726 ce.

Q. When was the Kingdom of Biffeche conquered by France?
A. Contrary to French maps at the time, Biffeche always maintained her independence from any western colonial powers. Biffeche is one of the very few places in Africa which has been able to withstand the imposition of such a yoke.

Q. How many Kings have there been in Biffeche?
A. From our traditional founder, the Great White Leopard, who was our first King, to Ronald I, our present King, there have been a total of 101 Kings. As we all dearly love our King, we pray that the 102nd King will not be enthroned for many, many years.