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Wordtravels

Introducing Guinea-Bissau

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Rural scene ©

Guinea-Bissau is a tiny country on the coast of West Africa bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south. Very few people holiday in Guinea-Bissau but those that do describe it as one of Africa's true gems, a land of great beauty, variety, and warm welcomes. Chief highlights include the beautiful and mostly unspoiled beaches, abundant wildlife including significant populations of chimpanzees and rare salt-water hippopotamuses, and elegantly decaying colonial architecture from the Portuguese era.

Guinea-Bissau is a flat country characterised by two distinct terrains. The coast is lush and forested, while the interior is dry and dusty, although intersected by myriad rivers, pools and lagoons. The country's best natural splendour can be viewed in the celebrated Cantanhez Natural Park in Jemberem, while the Bijagos Archipelago offers some of Africa's best island experiences, including incredible snorkelling and diving, and indigenous tribes with rich traditions.

The capital Bissau has the country's best tourist facilities although these are still very limited. Roads are notoriously rough with one traveller advising that the road to Goba is for 'perverse masochists' only! In general the very limited tourist infrastructure makes Guinea-Bissau a destination that attracts only adventure travellers and overlanders.

A terrible civil war broke out in 1998 and although hostilities have ceased a succession of military coups since then has ensured the country remains in a state of uncertainty. Currently the borders are open and conditions favourable for intrepid travellers; however, you are strongly advised to stay abreast of current developments before departure.

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