Guinea Bissau which is a former Portuguese colony is found nestled between two countries that is Guinea and Senegal. Unlike other African countries that are top tourist destinations due to the presence of wild life especially the big five, when it comes to Guinea Bissau it is all about her eco system and rich culture that is portrayed by the different tribes found in the country.
Guinea Bissau is the only country in Africa that has some Latina roots to it and this can be seen at the carnival that they celebrate every year and the only way you will enjoy your trip to Guinea Bissau is if you have an open mind and love adventure because the dilapidated buildings found in the country are not a welcoming sight but the further you get into the country, the more you will enjoy it.
Things to do in guinea Bissau
Go out and meet the local people
Guinea Bissau might not have a lot of tourist attractions that you can visit but there are many things you can do and one of them is visiting the locals. The country has a lot of tribes that live within the country and all these have different cultural practices that you can only experience if you go out to the different villages like the Bigajo Islands and meet up with them.
Join in the carnival festivities
The carnival festivities are held in Bissau right before the lent season begins and it brings many people from all over the country who join in the merry making by singing and dancing to traditional songs. During the festival many of the people put on traditionally made masks, the women put on beaded and grass skirts while the men put on crocodile skin to show their power. The carnival is all about showing the different cultures that exist within Guinea Bissau.
Camping is one of the best ways in shih you can get to experience the wild side of Guinea Bissau and most camping in the country is done at the Bijago Islands or at least on one of the small Islands that make up the Bijago archipelago. You will need a boat to get you to the Island however do not be cheated as they tend to hike the prices.
Relax at the beach
The best beach to relax from while in Guinea Bissau is found at a small town at the border of Guinea Bissau and Senegal. Getting to the beach is a different matter due to the dusty bumpy long ride you will experience but it will be worth it once you get there. The beach is covered with palm trees creating a paradise that every tourist should experience and while you enjoy the cool water and the white sand, there is a hotel on the premises that provides great meals.
Explore the Boloma city
Found on the Bijago archipelago, Boloma was the former capital city of Guinea Bissau before it was transferred to Bissau. Although once a beautiful city, it is now mostly in ruins but still worth a visit as you will get to see how the old Guinea Bissau used to look like and since there are no accommodation facilities within Boloma, you will have to carry a camping tent for all those that would love to spend the night in Boloma.
Go to Cacheu
Going to Cacheu which is located next to the River is like stepping back in time especially for those who want to know how the Portuguese colonial rule was in guinea Bissau. This as the exact same spot that John Hawkins and Drake Francis waged a war against the Portuguese colonialists in the year 1567. Although most of the original fort was destroyed, you can still find the guns that were used during the battle as they well preserved.
Visit the Cantanhez Natural Park
The Cantanhez Natural Park is located in Jemberem and a go to place for chimpanzee lovers. It is a community based project and the nature Park was put in place to protect the monkeys, chimpanzees and birds in the community. Unlike other places where a tour guide can take you around, before you are allowed to enter into the Cantanhez Natural Park, you will need to first ask permission from the community chief.
Tourist attractions in Guinea Bissau
The National Museum of Guinea Bissau
The National museum of Guinea Bissau also known as the Museu Nacional is found in the capital city of the country. The museum is a home to some of the most interesting artifacts that showcase the history of Guinea Bissau making it the perfect place for one to learn more about the country’s history in terms of politics and culture.
The museum of African artefacts
The museum is a home to many historical art pieces that date back to the ancient times of the Guinea Bissau. Its location within the capital city makes it easy for tourist to access and some of the things that you can see while here include woven baskets, pottery, sculptures most of which were made by the people from the Gabu kingdom.
The Corubal River
The Corubal River is the longest River in Guinea Bissau and is found at the border of Guinea Bissau and Guinea. It runs for over 200 kilometers and is surrounded by a clean dense forest of Mangrove forests. You can go fishing on the Corubal River using boats from the locals, do come birding and also trek through the forests and get to learn the different uses of the trees around.
The Bijagos Islands
The Bijagos Islands are many small islands that are located just 240 kilometers away from the capital city of Guinea Bissau that is Bissau. They have one of the best eco systems in western Africa and a trip to the Islands will leave you with enough knowledge about the tree species and also get to relax at the sand beaches on the Islands.
The Bolama Bubaque
The Bolama Bubaque is a town just right outside Bissau and it is a place where you can get to see how ancient Guinea Bissau looked like even before the coming of the colonialists in the country. There are monuments and museums that show the history of the country and it is also a good destination for tourists that love camping.
The Saltinho waterfalls
The Saltinho waterfall is a top tourist attraction site especially for tourists who love game hunting. It can be found along the Rio Corubal and can easily be got to by trekking to the falls. One of the many things that you can do include a photo safari, walking along a bridge and game spotting around the waterfalls especially birds.
The Mercado central
The Mercado Central is the one place that all tourists who have an immense love for shopping should go to. It is the largest market in Guinea Bissau and it is the one place where you will be able to get all the agricultural produce that you will need like fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and not forgetting that they also sell a variety of cooked food especially favorites for the local.
Where to stay while in Guinea Bissau
There are a lot of accommodation facilities where you can stay while on a trip to Guinea Bissau and below are some of the accommodation facilities that you should try out while in the country.
The Dakota Eco retreat
This is located just 80 kilometers from the capital city. It has self-contained rooms that offer tourist all the privacy that they need, 24/7 room service, both local and international cuisines served at the restaurant and the rooms have a clear view of the gardens from where you can enjoy a quiet evening at the barbeque.
The African Ecolodge Angurman
The African Ecolodge Angurman is located just a few kilometers away from the Orango Islands Park and one of the few that you should try out while in Guinea Bissau. It has a 24/7 room service for the guest’s convenience, delicious food served at the restaurant, a bar where you can relax from after a day of touring the country and the self-contained rooms have a very god view of the sea.
The Dunia hotel Bissau
The Dunia hotel can be found a few meters away from the presidential memorial and some of the services it offers include a 24/7 front desk service, all meals from breakfast to dinner, self-contained rooms with each room having its own screen, a terrace where you can relax from and booking should be done in advance in order to avoid inconveniences.
The Ledger plaza Bissau hotel
This is located in the capital city of Bissau and one of the most expensive hotels in the country. it has self-contained room, a swimming pool where you can rest with your family, free WI-FI, a playground for children and tasty meals that are served in the restaurant that is found in the hotel.
Best time to visit Guinea Bissau
Guinea Bissau experiences two seasons throughout the year that is the rainy season which is also known as the tropical climate and the dry season. The dry season is experienced in the months of November to April and this is the best time for tourists to visit the country. There is practically no rainfall in these months making transportation from one place to another. The rainy season on the other hand is experienced between the months of June to October and during this time heavy rainfall is received which floods most of the roads and cuts off some tourist destinations and it is wise if you do not travel to Guinea Bissau from June to October.
When can I travel to Guinea Bissau?
Guinea Bissau can be visited all year round although the best time is during the dry season which happens to fall in the months of November to April. Although you can still visit during the rainy season, it is better if you avoid it at all costs.
How can I get around in Guinea Bissau?
The best way to get around Guinea Bissau is by either driving or getting a taxi to drive around but since the roads are terrible, it is better if you get someone who knows the roads very well but you can also use boats especially if you are travelling to the Islands found in the country.
What is the capital city of Guinea Bissau?
The former capital city of guinea Bissau was Boloma but at the moment, the capital city is Bissau.
What should I expect when I travel to Guinea Bissau?
Guinea Bissau does not have a lot of tourist attractions but if you are a fun of culture and history, then the country is worth checking out in places like museums, the archipelago and the villages.