Places to see in Guinea-Bissau

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Guinea-Bissau is a small coastal country just to the South of Senegal where the people speak a host of local languages and Creole together with Portuguese and a little bit of French.Until recently, Guinea-Bissau was well off the tourist route. Struggles for independence and a civil war in 1998-99 devastated the economy. Tourist facilities and infrastructure remain, in general, very limited but efforts have been made to encourage visitors to this undiscovered gem of West Africa.

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Although a relatively small country. Guinea-Bissau's beaches and wildlife are exceptional while West African traditions and Portuguese colonial remains can still be seen. On the coast, you can find fishing villages surrounded by forests, whereas further inland the country is dry and dusty.

The islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau (the Bijagos Archipelago) are of exceptional beauty. These islands are home to a group of indigenous people. Turtles, sharks, manatees, and a very special and very rare form of hippopotamus that lives mostly in salt-water can all be seen here.For those willing to go off the beaten track, Guinea-Bissau has a lot going for it.

Things to see and do

Bijagós Archipelago

Go off the beaten track to the Bijagós Archipelago, which comprises a group of small islands, several of which are uninhabited, and most of which are very rarely visited by foreigners. The easiest ones to reach are Bolama and Bubaque. Bolama, the original capital of Guinea-Bissau, is now a rather attractive ruin, and the island is worth seeing, with several good beaches. There is no accommodation, but camping is an option. The unspoilt island of Bubaque is easily accessible from Bissau and offers accommodation in the town.

Bissau

Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Bissau, the capital. The Portuguese quarter, with its winding streets and Mediterranean-style houses, is worth a visit.

Cantanhez Natural Park

Visit the Cantanhez Natural Park in Jemberem. This community-based conservation project was initiated to protect birds, monkeys and chimpanzees (although there is a debate as to whether they are present in the country or not). You can arrange a guided tour through the local chief.

Museum of African Artefacts

Visit the Museum of African Artefacts, which is a treasure trove of traditional sculpture, pottery, weaving and basketware.