Travelers who yearn for something new would not be disappointed by what Guinea- Bissau has to offer. Despite the scandals of cocaine hauls, wars and coups in the country, it manages to become a destination for world- weary travelers who want to kick back and just enjoy life as it is. The scenery in Guinea- Bissau is dotted with lush greenery and cashew farms that make up the country’s economy. The Latin spirit is very much alive in cities, from the music to the jokes that are passed from citizen to citizen. Decay is also a common sight, but the faded colonial houses are battered building only prove that beauty is not only present in shiny, new things.
Important and Interesting Facts about Guinea Bissau
- Guinea Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west.
- Guinea-Bissau, has a swampy coast, with forests changing to grasslands in the east.
- The country has mostly low-lying coastal plain with a deeply indented estuarine coastline rising to savanna in east; numerous off-shore islands including the Arquipelago Dos Bijagos consisting of 18 main islands and many small islets.
- Guinea-Bissau is a member of the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Latin Union, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, La Francophonie and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone.
- Once hailed as a potential model for African development, Guinea-Bissau is now one of the poorest countries in the world.
- Guinea–Bissau’s economic freedom score is 51.3, making its economy the 143rd freest in the 2014 Index.
- Bissau is an impressive rural metropolis where many of the upscale villas are built according to Mediterranean architecture. The colonial-design civilization is located near the spectacular beaches of the country. One of the most interesting locations within the city is the cultural center called Pidjiguiti.
- If eco-tourism is the game, then the famous national parks remain as the top tourist attractions in Guinea-Bissau. The Archipel de Bolama, located near the ancient ruin complex, is designated as one of the UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserves.
- The Museum of Artefacts is one of the top tourist attractions in Guinea-Bissau and a perfect place for scholarly travellers to visit. This is one of the ideal places to get an intimate glimpse of the country’s history. But the genuine works of art displayed in this museum shows a more humanist side of this West African nation – something that goes beyond the parameters of academic knowledge. Items like traditional pottery, weaving, sculpture and basket-ware comprises the artistic talent of the craftsmen in the ancient Kingdom of Gabu.
- The Bolama Bubaque is the region in Guinea-Bissau that features the more intimate glimpse of the country’s ancient past. No stronger evidence of a nation’s ancient culture is more compelling than its ruins. The ancient architectural debris of Bolama Bubaque is a sacred place that ideally resisted colonial power up until this day. It is located within a picturesque natural terrain of the country. It is quite unfortunate that this site lacks accommodations, but it remains an ideal camping site for a more rugged type of curious tourists.
- lha de Orango is one of the many islands that form the Orango Islands National Park. It is a great place to island-hop and enjoy different beaches while taking in the beautiful nature that surrounds the palm-fringed coasts. The landscapes are comprised of splendid woodlands and swamps inhabited by rare species of saltwater hippos and crocodiles which are perfect for bird watching and turtle sighting.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Guinea Bissau
- Guinea-Bissau and the Islands of Cape Verde until 1980 were a single country. It was a coup which successfully separated the countries into two separate nations.
- Guinea-Bissau’s flag draws its inspiration from the flag of the Republic of Ghana. It was the struggle of the Ghanaians for freedom that inspired the people of Guinea-Bissau to put up a fight for their very own.
- The Sporting Club Bissau is the biggest football club in Guinea-Bissau and is based in the country’s capital. The club enjoys a massive fan following across the country.
- On your safari trip, you and your family are most likely to see a red river hog. The red river hog is a breed of wild pig from the Suidae family. It is characterized as being largely built, with reddish-brown fur and a white mane. Like most pigs and hogs, its diet consists mostly of vegetation, arthropods and vertebrates. Red river hogs are also scavengers, similar to vultures, and consume the dead carcasses of various animals. This makes an easy meal.
- Former President Vieira and his rival Military Chief Wai were both assassinated in January 2009, though a stable interim government is currently in place. Fun times.
- Bissau is also the site of a modern international airport, while several aerodromes and landing strips serve the interior. In 2004 there were an estimated 28 airports, of which only 3 had paved runways (as of 2005).
- The country is now the world’s sixth-largest producer of cashews.
- In 2003, there were an estimated 8 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there was 1 mobile phone in use for every 1,000 people.
- Game shooting, a major attraction for many travelers in Africa, is popular in Guinea-Bissau. Game is abundant in the open country, as well as in the more hazardous forest and jungle areas.
- In 2003,15 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Guinea Bissau
- The land now known as Guinea-Bissau was once the kingdom of Gabú, which was part of the larger Mali empire. After 1546 Gabú became more autonomous, and at least portions of the kingdom existed until 1867.
- The first European to encounter Guinea-Bissau was the Portuguese explorer Nuño Tristão in 1446; colonists in the Cape Verde islands obtained trading rights in the territory, and it became a center of the Portuguese slave trade. In 1879, the connection with the islands was broken.
- During the Salazarist era, the Portuguese built roads, bridges, hospitals, and schools. At the beginning of the 1960s their rule was contested by African nationalists under the leadership of Amilcar Cabral. By 1974, when Portugal recognized the nation’s independence, the nationalist forces had developed a political and economic infrastructure providing basic services for the vast majority of local residents.
- The African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (another Portuguese colony) was founded in 1956, and guerrilla warfare by nationalists grew increasingly effective. By 1974 the rebels controlled most of the countryside, where they formed a government that was soon recognized by scores of countries. The military coup in Portugal in April 1974 brightened the prospects for freedom, and in August the Lisbon government signed an agreement granting independence to the province. The new republic took the name Guinea-Bissau.
- Rice is a staple among the coastal peoples. It is also a prestige food, and so the country imports it to feed the urban population. Millet is a staple crop in the interior. Both are supplemented with a variety of locally produced sauces that combine palm oil or peanuts, tomatoes, and onions with fish.
- Gumbe’ makes for the most popular form of music in Guinea-Bissau. The genre of music is derived from the countries folk singing tradition. However, the music in recent times has taken on more than just a few political undertones.
- Rural Mandinga and Fula and the peoples of the coastal ethnic groups continue to practice arranged marriage in which a brideprice or groom service is given. However, young people can make matches on their own. Interethnic marriage rates are low but increasing.
- The coastal groups believe that ancestor spirits exercise power over their living descendants, and those spirits are recognized in household shrines at which periodic offerings are made. In every village, there are dozens of shrines to tutelary or guardian spirits.
- Independence Day, celebrated on 24 September, is the major national holiday. Carnival in Bissau, once a festival associated with Catholic Criolu culture, has become a multiethnic celebration.
- Western-style clothing is typical attire for work and daily activities because it is inexpensive and readily available, shipped secondhand from Europe and North America. Adults value cleanliness and modesty. Locally made traditional clothing is more expensive and is reserved for spe- cial occasions. Some rural people still wear traditional cloth- ing on a daily basis; styles vary by ethnic group and region.
- Soccer is Guinea-Bissau’s most popular sport. People take advantage of a short workday during the rainy sea- son to attend local soccer matches. They also enjoying listen- ing to radio broadcasts of soccer matches and other sporting events. Some urban residents enjoy basketball and tennis, while traditional wrestling (luta livre) is popular in rural areas.