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By No owner — last modified Sep 17, 2012 05:49 AM

 Guinea-Bissau - Profile

Facts

  • This small, former Portuguese colony, lies on Africa's west coast, south of Senegal. It is very poor and riven with civil wars.
  • Its ligitmate economy depends on the production of cashew and ground nuts, but it is also a major hub for cocaine smuggled from Latin America to Europe.
  • The 150 miles of coastline is much indented with numerous river entrances, most of which are shallow. The major estuary is that of Geba River on which lies the capital and principal port of Bissau.
  • The off-lying islands of the Bijagos Archipelago, one of which forms the Orango National Park, are rich in all types of fish and wildlife - a real unspoilt paradise. Navigation requires great care because of strong currents and shallow water. A shallow keeled boat and careful planinng is required. See links for a useful cruising guide to this area.
  • It is necessary to be completely self-sufficent when cruising the Archipelago as nothing is available. For navigation, the British Admiralty charts are good and surprisingly accurate except for sand banks that may have moved. Electronic charts based on them are also good.
  • Only a small proportion of the population speak the official language, Portuguese. Just less than half speak Kriol, a Portuguese-based creole language, and the remainder speak native African languages. French is taught in schools.

Security

Crime rates in Guinea-Bissau are not high but Guinea-Bissau is an extremely poor country in a severe economic crisis. You should take precautions. Do not carry valuables in public.

Land mines remain a problem in areas of Guinea-Bissau. Outside of the capital, you should take local advice and stick to paved roads.

Weather

Guinea-Bissau has a tropical savanna climate wetter than normal.

The rainy season is from June to October. Conditions are especially humid in the months before the rains (April and May), when average maximum daytime temperatures rise to 34°C. Daily maximums rarely fall below 30°C. From December to April, the country experiences a drought and the temperature is slightly cooler.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page

Main Ports

Bissau * , Bolama , Bubaque * , Cacheu *

* indicates port of entry

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