Tabiya or rammed concrete of red earth and stone is the almost universal building material, and the houses are consequently seldom more than two storeys in height.
There is much forest on its northward slopes, and good red earth on the higher parts, which bears abundant crops of barley, much desired by European maltsters.
Thus a West African native who wants a suhman takes a rudely-cut wooden image or a stone, a root of a plant, or some red earth placed in a pan, and then he calls on a spirit of Sasabonsum ("a genus of deities, every member of which possesses identical characteristics") to enter the object prepared, promising it offerings and worship. If a spirit consents to take up its residence in the object, a low hissing sound is heard, and the suhman is complete.
Beds of coal and of red earth are found in some places.
They employ vegetable dyes for painting their bark-cloth, calabashes, &c. In some islands they also use a red earth for this purpose.