Guinea Bissau, an authentic journey to West Africa

Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Guinea-Bissau…

 is a small territory in West Africa with the borders of Senegal and Guinea. This former Portuguese colony is multi-ethnic, authentic, and virgin of any tourism. However, the beauty of the Bijagos archipelago divided into some sixty islands offers this country an important attractive potential.

Guinea Bissau is a small Portuguese-speaking country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic in the west, and has borders with Senegal in the north and Guinea in the south, two francophone countries. Before passing under Portuguese domination, the country was part of the Empire of Mali in the Middle Ages. During the colonial period Guinea Bissau was part of a region commonly known as the Slave Coast. Indeed, it was from this part of Africa that many slaves were brought to the plantations of the New World. The country gained its independence from Portugal in 1973, after the carnation revolution during which dictatorial power was overthrown in Lisbon.

The country owes its name to its capital, Bissau, which distinguishes it from French-speaking Guinea. The city, with a population of about 400,000, is located on the Rio Geba estuary by the ocean. It is the country’s main port. It was founded in 1687 by Portuguese settlers and served as a trading post. Even today you can admire some historical monuments and visit its market, very lively and colorful, which does not lack charm.

The country’s main income comes from the export of cashew nuts (the 6th largest producer in the world) and from fishing. The country’s political instability in recent years has discouraged the development of a tourism industry and has not helped develop infrastructure. Yet Guinea Bissau is not lacking in attractions. The country has preserved many natural wonders.

The Bijagos archipelago, composed of 88 islands and islets, is inhabited by ethnic animists who have preserved their culture and authenticity. The southern part of the archipelago is a UNESCO nature reserve. It is home to exceptional marine flora and fauna, including hippopotamus and sea turtles. The most touristic islands are Bubaque, Bolama and Caravela, which are also the most populated. The islands are covered with lush forests in which one can find some species of monkeys. There are also mangroves that are partly responsible for the rich biodiversity of this region.

On the continent, tourism is mainly organised around the Corubal River. You can visit the traditional villages that border the river, and come to observe the sumptuous landscapes or waterfalls such as those of Cusselinta. The place is also appreciated for its local wildlife. There are also many bird species and several species of monkeys. On the coast, it is possible to visit the traditional fishing villages, still surrounded by virgin forests. The beaches of Guinea Bissau are also very popular.

Although Portuguese is the official language of the country, only 14% of the population actually speaks it. The majority of the inhabitants speak Creole from Portuguese. The country also has a significant minority of inhabitants with knowledge of French, thanks in particular to the common borders with two francophone countries.

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