Don't Miss Places In Guinea Bissau
A ship approaching Guinea –Bissau from the Atlantic would first come to the Bijagos archipelago, a chain of green islands covered in tropical forest. The curve of Africa’s west coast would soon appear on the horizon, fringed by the mangroves and mudflats and divided by wide river mouths. The Cacheu, Corubal, and Geba rivers lead into the interior, where coastal swamps and forests rise to open savanna, which shimmers in the heat. The small population consists of 20 different ethnic groups, such as the Balante, the Fulani, and the Malinke.
Some people are partly of Portuguese origin and Portuguese is the official language. Many people speak a dialect called Crioulu (a mix of local African languages and Portuguese).
Here are the top ten not to be missed places in Guinea –Bissau.
Cantanhez National Park
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The Cantanhez National Park in southern Guinea-Bissau is a lovely montage of tropical jungles, mangrove, savanna, and horticultural fields, with a high presence of oil-palm trees (Elaeis guineensis). It has numerous diverse creature species, including the chimpanzee. There are no known theories as to how these little long tailed creatures found its way here and made this park their natural habitat. The primary points of this study were to assess the chimpanzee’s settling conduct, characterize the patterns of living in this natural habitat, and determine how much number of their species survives on this park.
From the 287 new breeding houses that are newly included, 92% were constructed out of the oil-palm trees with an essentially higher recurrence of homes in the woods edge than in woodland centers. The amount of homes recorded in the woods appeared to be related with the recurrence of different indications of chimpanzee action. In spite of the fact that chimpanzees chose to settle on the timberland edge, they were most habitually seen in woods center regions. If you are into observing chimpanzees and other animals, do not miss a visit to the national park.
Centro Artistico Juvenil
The Centro Artistico Juvenil was created here almost 30 years back after the assertion of freedom in Guinea- Bissau. It was lead by a dedicated Italian father, father Batista, who is currently resigned due to old age but is reinstated by a more youthful priest and director. The little complex houses the figures and creations of the young Guinean craftsmen that came from all ethnicities and in the meantime is getting their secondary education at the Lycée Nkwame Nkrumah, Bissau.
These junior craftsmen are permitted to stay and consume food there while getting educated. The Center is uncommon on the grounds that it gives a real picture of the Guinean craftsmanship. The carvings are sold with a description of their source and origin of their imagery. It does not dwell so much on the commercialism involved with tourism. This is the reason it is truly a dedicated Arts Center, as it only focuses on the art behind making these lovely crafts (carving, painting and sculpture making). You can just pose the questions that need to be taught in understanding the subject and purpose of this center with the resident keeper and teacher assigned to meet and response inquiries by inquisitive vacationers.
The artworks could be purchased at the little shop that likewise houses the keepsakes and extraordinary craft bits of these adolescent artisans.
The Mercado Central is a very lively market, where they sell agricultural products typical of the area (cayu, mango, banana, foli, etc.). They also have a variety of freshly caught fish and other forms of seafood. There is also a wide variety of local cuisines to find like; cooked ethnic food (Pastec- dumpling stuffed with spicy minced fish-bolus, etc.). The imported goods are very rare and the market is supplied with local products that are intended for every family’s basic needs. The goods from China can be seen in all corners, while products from Europe usually cost much higher because of its lasting durability and integrity.
As this country is known for being one of the poorest nations in Africa, sometimes they do not use money as a form of payment but more on giving or trading an item to by what they need at home. However, cotton is widely sold here because cotton plants grow well in Guinea-Bissau, with its tropical climate and heavy summer rains. The plants produce round boils, which contain the soft white fibers used to make cotton fabric. It can be bought in big volumes by textile manufacturers or by pound by local consumers from this market.
Orango Islands National Park
The Orango Islands National Park is a piece of the Biosphere Reserve of the Bijagós Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. The huge park incorporates 5 fundamental islands and its nearest islets. The primary islands are low-lying, secured with woods and savannah, and encompassed by vast ranges of neat tidal sand, mudflats, and far reaching territories of the mangrove areas. During the initial studies of the Bijagós in 1991, researchers discovered vital populaces of marine turtles in the territory who for the most part focused on the island of Poilão, where many green turtles are thought to go home and chose to lay their eggs on this shore yearly.
Huge types of turtles were recorded settling throughout the vast space of this territory every months of October. It was further estimated after recent studies and data gathered that no less than two kinds of species lay their eggs here ranging from 200 to 300 nests’ identified by the conservationists. Orango National Park is liable to be the most significant settling ground in the Archipelago for the remaining species which are extraordinary or missing in Poilão. If you plan to visit, be prepared to witness the amazing phenomena that happen at early dawn in the shores of this magnificent island. The rearing and nurturing of ocean turtles are still maintained on this area up to this day.
Rio Cacheu Mangroves Natural Park
This preserved Rio Cacheu Mangroves National Park is placed in the northern part of the Guinea-Bissau on the banks of two successive streams namely the Cacheu and Rio de Elias. It is flanked to the south east by Cacheu and on the east side by the town of Apilho, the northern end lies much closer to the coast. The covered range incorporates around 5440sq. meter of landscape that is secured in mangroves while different parts of the nature park lie settled under sand banks, mud flats, savannah fields, forests and palm woods. A few parts of the recreation center are utilized for horticulture and other business purposes.
The recreation center, particularly the northern part, puts into the spotlight the largest collection of mangroves from this side of the country.
The mangroves are exceptionally vital as rearing territories for fish, shellfish, and mollusks, and likewise give shelter to a substantial number of winged creatures where a considerable lot of them are transient. No less than 180 winged animal species have been recorded in the recreation center. The West African Manatee is one of the numerous types of warm blooded animals found in the recreation center. Bring a good camera to capture the movements of this migratory birds and rare animals that can all be found in one huge attraction in Guinea Bissau.
River Zoo Farm
Travelers should likewise visit the River Zoo Farm. This is the biggest, current and expert natural life rearing homestead and fauna sanctuary in the entire jungles of western Africa. The River Zoo Farm encompasses a territory of 200 hectares and is situated at about 125 kilometers from the capital city of Bissau. This zoo park is circumscribed by two freshwater waterways and a lake. Sightseers coming here can see many species of birds, warm blooded creatures, and other local fauna.
Be that as it may, the principle mission of this ranch is the reproduction and preservation of Guinea- Bissau’s endangered species. The park is additionally home to various reptiles like the Bitis gabonica rhinoceros, iguanas, and freshwater crocodiles. This might be recognized mostly by the vicinity of a set of its vast nasal horns. You can additionally see countless snakes (harmless) along the vicinity of the farm. This park is recognized as an authorized flora and fauna reservation site.
Praia da Bruce
This isolated beach of Praia da Bruce in the island of Guinea Bissau can be found in Bubaque, along the regions of Bijago. Located almost 15 kms away from the coast, this site has no basic beach infrastructure and only the locals maintain its cleanliness and preserve its natural beauty. Some hotels offer package tours to see the rest of the islands and visit a local community that is situated near this site. You can rent bikes to explore the entire beach from one point to another as well as drive deep into its thick and lush forests to discover the wild and diverse flora and fauna.
The long line of cashew trees provides enough shade for those who want to enjoy a long walk in the beaches. It is advisable to bring your own snacks and drinking water when exploring this beach as there are not enough dining places or convenience stores to buy mineral water. Be sure to leave early when heading out to go here, the scorching heat of the sun becomes unbearable during noon time and onward until 3 pm. This remote and almost desolate beach is ideal for people who want to enjoy peace and quiet and away from the noise and chaos of the city.
If you want to have a little piece of paradise, the Varela Beach is about 4 hours drive from Bissau to the north. If you come from the border with Senegal it is just a few miles away, but the 56 km track recommended to travel with a car is capable of accessing this location. It is a simple beach with warm waters, pristine sand, lots of shades and palm trees, and no big crowds of tourists promenading around.
You can truly enjoy a relaxing weekend on this almost deserted beach of Varela. There are restaurants here that serve good food and fresh grilled oysters and great pasta. If you are on a honeymoon , this place is ideal for quiet and romantic moments in almost Eden like setting. Take long walks from the forest up to the beach part. Just don’t forget the sunscreen as the heat gets to be really intense during midday.
Bolama, Bijagos Island
Bolama in Bijagos Island was established in 1687 by Portugal as a sustained port and main trading complex. The island is very nearly encompassed by mangrove bogs and became more famous for its cashew nuts. In spite of the fact that it gets frequently visited by nearby inhabitants, the island was evidently isolated until the early British pioneers discovered it in 1792. The tree-lined roads here are mapped out by light posts that no more sparkle, and the pilgrim military quarters have been rebuilt as a medical facility. If you look at the village of Bolama now, it is like a significant part of the island, remote and in a dull and forlorn state.
Bolama's amazing and crumbling frontier structures stay from the time when Bolama was capital of Guinea Bissau now it has become disintegrating relics that were deserted after freedom. In case you wander out to Ofires Beach, (about an hour's walk around the town), you can see the spooky clearing staircase of a beach lodging that no more exists. If you need to learn a bit of history, understand the country’s culture and its people and want to see old ruins this site is the best part of Guinea Bissau that must not be missed.
The town of Bafata is pleasantly located at the northernmost part of Guinea Bissau. To access this town, you need to crosscut the streams of the Geba River, waded into the east west part that leads to a large walking trail that begins the traverse to the local town of Bafata. From here, you have the opportunity to admire the scenic views once you climb the Bafata Plateau (500 meter above sea level).
You can still see old colonial houses (Portuguese red colored homes) if you wander along and take time to stroll around the town. At night, there are outdoor bars that offer a good way to unwind and admire their local bands and artists.