Transafrica 2018 STOP 17

May 24, 2018

Conakry – Bissau

Flight distance: 198 nm
Hours in the air: 1.00

Colonial atmosphere

Another short flight today which seemed to bring more of the same. Yet it turned out quite different. It started with the “welcome committee” at the airport (that word seems disproportional for this site). There was no other plane to be seen on the spot and at least 10 people were busy “dealing” with our entry, including hand checking our luggage since the only screening machine was out of order.

This is a former Portuguese colony, everything looks even simpler, more laid back but organized. Traffic is a fraction of what we have seen the last few days even though the Portuguese have made provisions a long time ago since the avenues are straight and generously wide.

The locals are curious, friendly and must like Mercedes cars since half he streets are cluttered with blue and white taxis (most of them from the 1990ies) and more private “Benzes”. Today should have been all about celebrating Rainers 200th country point, but due to Ramadan and a lack of “beverage choices” limited the festivities, even though we put some real effort in visiting the local commercial center and small retailers; the result in grape juice was unsatisfactory to say the least.

Facts & figures

Guinea-Bissau, a tropical nation with a coastline at the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa, situated between Senegal and Guinea. The country consists of a larger continental part and a smaller insular part that includes the Bijagós Archipelagos.

Guinea-Bissau covers an area of 36,125 km², making it somewhat smaller than Switzerland or somewhat larger than the US state of Maryland. Guinea-Bissau has a population of about 1.54 million people (in 2016), capital and largest city is Bissau (pop. 390,000). Spoken languages are Portuguese (official), several West African languages, and Guinea-Bissau Creole, the lingua franca of the country.

In former times the region of today Guinea-Bissau was part of the Kaabu Empire, a Mandinka kingdom (1537–1867) and a former province of the Mali Empire. The entire country became a Portuguese colony in the 19th century, known as Portuguese Guinea. In September 1973 the country declared independence as Guinea-Bissau.  Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century.

In the 19th century, it was colonized as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country’s name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea). Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, and no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term. Guinea-Bissau was the only country in West Africa to have fought its way to independence. The war with Portugal ended in 1974, but since the country has been plagued by coups and political unrest.

Source: /