Guinea-Bissau is a stunning country in West Africa, attracting tourists with beautiful archipelagos and wildlife islands. Gorgeous beaches, mangrove forests, national parks and historical monuments — this small republic has everything that can interest idle travelers.
Who and why goes to Guinea-Bissau
Every year in February — early March, a carnival is held in Guinea-Bissau with street dances and processions. This is a good opportunity to see the ethnic diversity of the country, when groups of dancers and musicians in national costumes pass through the streets.
For lovers of extreme or secluded recreation in the country there is the Bihagos archipelago, consisting of sparsely inhabited islands. If you agree with the locals, you can easily organize boat trips and camping on a picturesque deserted beach.
Fans of architecture and art will find entertainment to their liking in the capital of the state — the city of Bissau. Buildings of colonial times with bizarre decorations are a reminder of the Portuguese, from whom Guinea-Bissau gained independence only in the 70s.
Gourmets and connoisseurs of national traditions will try local rice, fish and seafood dishes in Guinea-Bissau. The meat of wild antelopes, deer and other exotic animals for us is popular in the country. Fruit, Varga green tea and palm wine complete the meal.
Ilhas de Orango National Park
The unique park of Africa belongs to both land and ocean. The main island of Ilhas is Orango along with the city of Etikoga located on it. It is this place that is considered the “gateway” to the reserve.
Tourists are attracted not only by local picturesque views, but also by sandy beaches. Mostly mangrove trees grow on the territory of the park, there are rare loci of savannah, tropics, plains and channels.
Among the animals on the territory of the object, some species of hippos are common, which live only in salt waters, as well as turtles, monkeys, flamingos and other birds.
Lagoas Koufada Natural Park
The Lagoas Koufada Natural Park is one of the most biodiverse regions in all of Guinea-Bissau. This is the habitat for hippos and huge water goats, as well as African buffalo and hyenas, sinister crocodiles and spotted leopards. Sometimes tourists manage to see chimpanzees swaying peacefully on vines.
Situated between the Rio Grande de Buba to the south and Corubal to the north, the reserve takes its name from the countless lagoons and marshland that stretches along its outskirts.
Historical landmarks and architecture
The fortress is located in the city of the same name in Guinea-Bissau, not far from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Before this place was chosen by the Portuguese colonialists, settlements already existed here.
Kasheu, translated from the local dialect, means “where we rest.” In fact, in order to be able to rest, a fortification was built.
The city developed rapidly, attracting the attention of slave traders who arrived from Europe and America, and the locals were forced to defend themselves against them. Now, near the fortress of Cacheu, there is the resort area of Varela, where tourists come from November to February.
San José da Amura
The fortress, located in the capital of Guinea, Bissau, was also built to protect the city from enemy invaders. But the citadel provided shelter for missionaries and slave traders. The initiative to build the fortification belonged to Captain José Pineiro.
At the end of the 17th century, with the support of the Portuguese military and builders, he began the construction of the fort. But a few years later, ruins formed on this site.
Today the fortress has been restored. The new building is a quadrilateral with gunnery holes in the walls for cannons. Inside — there are soldiers’ barracks and storage rooms.
This fort, bearing such a romantic name, was built in the 18th century. It was once surrounded by imposing stone walls and was the headquarters of the Guinean military. Today, the building is half destroyed and closed to tourists, as it is under state protection. However, it can be explored from the outside.
The former presidential palace is one of the finest examples of old architecture in the city. Its roof was shelled several times, but the local authorities did not begin to restore it. But the facade, made in the neoclassical style, has been preserved.
Today’s building is not only a relic of the colonial era, but also a sad reminder of the devastating civil war that recently ended.
House Museum of Amilcar Cabral
The mausoleum, which stores the remains and household items of a famous revolutionary and politician in Bissau, is located on the territory of the fortress of San José da Amura. His associates, who participated in the rallies, also found their last shelter within these walls.
On the days of memory and on holidays, solemn events are held in the mausoleum, at which there is a guard of honor.
Officials lay flowers at the pedestal of Amilcar Cabral. A particularly valuable exhibit of the house-museum of the revolutionary is the Volkswagen, which he drove in the last years of his life.
On the territory in front of the house-museum is the Pidzhiguiti Monument. This is a reminder of the 1959 Pijiguit Massacre, when striking dock workers were killed by the colonial police.
Bissau Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria)
Christian church, which is the center of Catholicism in Africa. It was built on the site of the former temple, which corresponds to the medieval style. Portuguese architects worked on the project. The cathedral is located near the main street of Bissau and is an example of neo-romantic modernism.
The peculiarity of the building is that it also performs the functions of a lighthouse. The light source is located in the north tower and is in working condition all the time. The main task of the lighthouse is to facilitate the entry of ships into the port of the city.