Destinations Western Africa

8 Best Places to Visit in Guinea-Bissau

Lagoas Cufada Natural Park
Written by Denise Chido

The best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau are incredibly breathtaking. Guinea-Bissau is a West African country known for its national parks and diverse fauna.

The islands off the mainland are protected bio reserves and are about as “untamed” as a place may be. If there is a heaven on earth, this just might be it.

For this and numerous other reasons, it is a popular tourist attraction. Additionally, as travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 outbreak lift, flights to the West African country are opening up. See Africa Today has put together the ideal itinerary for your next visit for those who are yet to venture to this part of the world.

Orange Island

One of the best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau is Orange Island. It is a wildlife lovers’ dream destination located on the coast of Guinea-Bissau in the Atlantic. Orange Island is the perfect way to start your African adventure with pods of Hippopotamus swimming on deep lagoons.

Orange Island is one of the undisputed jewels located amongst the Bissagos Islands. This region is a recognised national park and will not disappoint you in sightseeing.

Visitors are in for a treat as they will be able to see salt-water amimia’s in their natural habitat. The experienced local guides will take you on a wetland safari that will remain etched in your mind for years to come.

The guided tours venture through waterways and mangroves. When you finish sightseeing, there are a series of pristine white sandy beaches to take in as you sip on a yummy cocktail.

Hippos at the best places to visit in West Africa

Hippos at the best places to visit in West Africa. Photo/Exploring Africa

Dulombi-Boe National Park

Experienced and daring travellers’ will enjoy the challenges they will face when tackling this wilderness. Dulombi-Boe National Park is mainly unmapped, and some sections remain unknown to adventure seekers.

It is densely forested, with twisting river channels and patches of riverside woodland, limitless swaths of grassy savannah land that sway in the West African breezes, and the Corubal’s bending course flows westward from the inland hills to the Atlantic.

Of course, there is fauna, with the chimp being one of the most endangered. Additionally, you can expect to observe canines and a plethora of grazing herds in the fields. This goes down as one of the best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau.

João Vieira Island

Other of the best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau is Joo Vieira and Poilo. It is a speck in the much-lauded Bissagos Islands archipelago. Protected Atlantic sea turtles navigate over rocks and sandbanks to deposit their eggs.

The entire national marine reserve attracts a large number of tourists. This is all because of the incredible and sheer beauty of their backcountry and coast.

The tourists hop aboard a carved piragua (traditional Guinea-Bissau canoe) and weave between inlets and wetlands. There are sandy stretches and palm-dotted dunes where they can find rare marine creatures.

Varela

Varela in Guinea Bissau

Varela in Guinea Bissau. Photo/Travel Tomorrow

Varela is a stunning stretch of coastline in the country’s extreme north national Park and is a must-see. And for a good reason too. It is one of the best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau. The water is clear, tranquil, and comfortable. It beckons you to take a dip immediately upon arrival, and it’s difficult to leave the sea.

Along the beach, you’ll come to a lagoon where water lilies, pelicans, and dozens of bird species cohabit in complete silence, interrupted only by their singing.

You will discover the genuine beauty and tranquillity that only locations that have remained undisturbed and in an almost untamed state can offer.

And between the sea and the lagoon, we find a stretch of white sand where we want to lie down, disconnect from social media and our phones, take a look around, and express our gratitude for the abundance of beauty and positive energy emanating from this beautiful and unique land known as Guinea-Bissau

Lagoas Cufada Natural Park

Lagoas Cufada Natural Park

Lagoas Cufada Natural Park. Photo/Kalma Soul

Home to hippos and various antelope pods, including huge waterbucks, Lagoas Cufada is a diverse nature wonderland. You will find herds of African buffalo and hyenas, Nile crocodiles, and elusive leopards.

This scenic natural Park is one of the most biodiverse regions in Guinea-Bissau, nestled between the Rio Grande de Buba to the south and the wide Corubal to the north. It is indeed one of the best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau.

The reserve’s name derives from the numerous lagoons and marsh habitats that erupt along its borders. And in between are swaths of palm oil trees, where you can see chimps swinging in the branches!

Bolama Island

Bolama Island is the closest Bissagos to the mainland and the city of Bissau, boasting a pleasant NGO-run hotel and a scattering of remarkable (and dilapidated) colonial structures.

Regular piragua canoes take the few travellers who head this way straight through the Atlantic waters from the harbour sides of Pidjiguiti.

There is a medley of old collonaded state buildings and crumbling Portuguese mansions on the menu, all dating back to the nigh-on forgotten days when this island city reigned as the country’s capital; as a whole!

Rubane Island

Rubane Island

Rubane Island. Photo/Travel tomorrow

Rubane’s mosaic of verdant hinterland forests and ivory-white dunes beckons travellers five hours via regular ferry from the archipelago’s hub of Bubaque. The shorelines have groves of tall palm trees.

The timber villas of the Ponta Anchaca is the only place to stay in this area. The rocky cliffs accentuate the beauty you see here.

There are clusters of small fishing hamlets to explore across the island, with locals’ boats perpetually bobbing around the shore and plenty of wholly deserted coves where the powdered yellow sands gently rise from the water.

Saltinho

Saltinho is a short section of river that runs through the centre of pristine woods near the town of Mampatá, some 30 kilometres from Bissau’s capital. A shadow of an arched steel bridge against a red-glowing sky.

Bobbing canoes packed with arched-back native fishermen move side to side on the currents. The pièce de résistance has to be the Saltinho Waterfalls, which cascade down a series of escarpments — it’s all quite breathtaking! These are some of the best places to visit in Guinea-Bissau.

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Denise Chido

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