Africa Princess Cruise Part 1, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

Towards Canhambaque, through the History of Guinea Bissau

Twilight of the Weavers
The Ilhéu dos Porcos
The Ancient Capital
Amilcar Cabral Forever
ladies on the knee
The Old Hospital of Bolama
Tropical Barracks
Africa Princess in Canhambaque
Mr. Cape Verdean Cico
On the rice trail
Waiting for the Sunset
On my way
Ulysses Grant (the replica statue)
Mussolini's Crown
Arrival of the canoe “Mandon”
Bar Canema
The Africa Princess departs from the port of Bissau, downstream the Geba estuary. We make a first stopover on the island of Bolama. From the old capital, we proceed to the heart of the Bijagós archipelago.

From the upper deck, we appreciate the busy day-to-day between the colorful and colonial houses of Bissau and the pier.

Owners and workers cram a few cargo canoes. Lorries unload the one with which they entered the port. Boats arrive from Bubaque and from different stops in Bijagós. Others go there.

With all passengers on board, the Africa Princess inaugurates its itinerary through the vast Guinean archipelago, aimed at Ilha de Galinhas and Canhambaque.

We carry out a quick transfer to one of your support boats and a providential diversion.

We move away from the islet of the King and the city. Heading southwest, we bid farewell to the Turkish generator ship “metin bey” that keeps her energized.

We cross the line of schism between the waters of the Geba and those of the Atlantic that the difference in density and salinity separates.

On the Bolama Route

We are approaching the south bank of the Geba. We skirt the peninsula of Ilhéu do Mancebo and follow the floodplain east of Bolama.

We sailed along a treacherous route, full of shallows that the centuries-old silting continues to aggravate and where, a month later, aboard an overcrowded traditional canoe, we would run aground.

Protected by the lightness of the speedboat and the sea beach, we avoid the worst of the sandy coast. We zigzag down the channel, towards the Rio Grande de Buba, despite the name, a Benjamin brother of Geba.

As happened with the Portuguese and with Bolama, we are left between the two.

When we disembarked onto the high jetty along Av. Amílcar Cabral, the sun has barely come down from its zenith. Residents shelter in their homes.

Or in the shade of the hyperbolic trees that refresh the city's riverfront. As we approach the real terra firme, Bolama shows signs of life.

Dª Ermelinda, a vegetable seller, greets us from whom, conversation leads to conversation, without quite knowing how, we buy a few cucumbers.

Almost as innocently, next door, Bolama preserves what many consider one of the few surviving fascist monuments.

Mussolini's Memorial to the Fallen Aviators in Bolama

Almost a decade had passed since the success of the duo Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral in the pioneering air crossing of the South Atlantic.

Infected by Mussolini's delusions of grandeur, Air Minister and pilot-general Ítalo Balbo planned the crossing of ten planes, divided into four squadrons and in formation, between Italy and Rio de Janeiro.

Having overcome several tribulations, the planes regrouped in Bolama, on Christmas Day. There they were celebrated by a ship of the Italian navy.

At dawn on January 6, 1930, Ítalo Balbo dictated the match. Two of the planes suffered accidents on take-off. Five airmen perished. Nevertheless, Ítalo Balbo forced the follow-up of the expedition.

In December 1931, Mussolini ordered the erection, in Bolama, of the memorial that surprises anyone who visits the city. It is shaped like two wings, one broken, the other raised to the heavens.

It is complemented by a laurel wreath and the inscription “Al Cadutti di Bolama".

Bolama and the Legacy of the Old Colonial Capital

We left Dª Ermelinda at the foot of the old memorial. We continue to discover the city. A few meters into the island, we are facing the Governor's Palace, today occupied by the Guinean military.

Some of them, talking, sitting on low chairs.

We greet them and two young men, presumably civilian military personnel, who face each other on a large yellow-checkered board, with the caption, in Creole, “Bópapiamas Stadium”.

We appreciate the welcome from the military. After that, we go up to Av. Amilcar Cabral.

At that hot hour, the main artery of the city remains almost deserted. As we examine the architecture Art Deco of the old cinema, three or four pigs cross it.

On the opposite side of the street, a mural depicts the leader of the PAIGC, Amílcar Cabral, the martyred protagonist of Guinea Bissau's independence course.

Ali, owner of a Pepsodent-like smile.

We continued to climb. After the “Som das Ilhas” discotheque, in the heart of an open square covered by dry bushes, we are surprised by a shining silver statue.

Ulisses Grant and the Complicated “Question of Bolama”

It honors US President Ulisses Grant, whom Portugal thanked for the verdict that resolved the complex “Questão de Bolama”.

At a certain point, the legitimate possession of the island of Bolama, settled between Portugal and the United Kingdom, almost led the old allies to go to war. Grant favored Portugal.

Even so, in 2007, its original homage disappeared.

The severed bronze statue was later found on the land of Commander Alpoim Galvão, mentor of the famous “Operation Mar Verde” which sought to control Guinea Conakry in order to eradicate the political-military opposition of the PAIGC to Portuguese colonial rule.

At the time the statue disappeared, Alpoim Galvão was a businessman based in Guinea Bissau.

The statue we admired there was nothing more than a replica.

The domain of Ulisses Grant is succeeded by Praça do Império, which the former American President validated as Portuguese, instead of British.

Slender goats and sheep roam the central garden, in search of plant snacks, on the face closest to the Military Police, the Catholic Church and even in a few bushes that emerge from the columned front of the imposing and ruined city hospital.

From there, we can still see the old military training center barracks, abandoned to time, to termites and the tentacular roots of prickly pear trees and the like.

Travel to Canhambaque, with a stop at Ilhéu dos Porcos

An hour and a half had passed since the first steps in Bolama. Pinto, the bijagó guide in charge of the group, dictates the return to the boat. We fulfilled it, aware that Bolama deserved more time and attention.

And that we would go back there.

When we arrive at the starting point, the jetty is given over to a colorful and frenetic crowd. A canoe from Bissau had just docked. Dozens of passengers greeted those who came to receive them.

They disputed the unloading of their belongings among the many loads accumulated inside the vessel.

Without anyone expecting it, to reach the launch, we have to face the confusion and go around the canoe.

It takes what it takes.

As soon as he sees us on board, Charlesmagne, the Senegalese sailor and diola responsible for navigation, sets sail at full speed, heading southwest and towards the islands of Porcos and Canhambaque. Somewhere over there, the Africa Princess was waiting for us for the night.

Canhambaque is in full view, with the sun dropping to the opposite side of the island.

We disembarked on a neighboring strip of sand that the falling tide was increasing.

We bathe and relax along this striated extension of the Ilhéu dos Porcos.

The Rice Fields of Northern Canhambaque

When the sun begins to turn yellow on the horizon, we cross to the eastern tip of Canhambaque, the island where Pinto was a native, where he knew every nook, cranny and, we can say, all the inhabitants.

We overcame a first muddy coastline. Soon, we climbed from the wet sand to a wide section of the island full of dry rice paddies, not wetlands.

Pinto leads us along a trail parallel to the bottom of the island, destined for Inorei, the main village in the far north of Canhambaque.

Along the trail, we stop at some of the huts that the natives used to live in, tasked with protecting and processing the rice that fed them.

When we say “protect”, we are far from exaggerating.

Canhambaque was the fifth big Bijagó island that dazzled us, after the first-time landing on small Kéré and the raid on Orango, in search of archipelago hippos.

In the image of Caravela and Carache, palm trees with bare tops abounded there, with the fruits that yield palm oil and wine exposed. Palm trees that also hosted hundreds of nests of opportunistic weavers.

If the rice-growing people of the Bijagós stole a good part of the islands' trees from the birds, the weavers, in particular, proliferated with an inevitable revenge.

They inhabited the palm trees that dotted the rice paddies. Whenever the cultivators raised their guard, they raided the rice in large, hungry bands.

Unsurprisingly, in Canhambaque, as in all Bijagós, the natives abhor birds that they stone and chase away in every possible way.

We chat with elderly natives when, finally, the sun sets in the west of the island. Its glowing circle falls between the trunks of the surviving palm trees.

Capture us with their silhouettes, dotted with the straw nests with which the weavers decorate them.

From an exuberant fire, the west of Canhambaque turns to the dark blue of the afterglow.

Even though he feels he is one of his own, Pinto fulfills his duty to collect us.

That night, as on the following ones, we would call the Bijagós adventurer boat home.


Book your Africa Princess cruise through the Bijagós archipelago at:

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +351 91 722 4936

Kéré Island, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

The Little Bijagó that hosted a Big Dream

Raised in Ivory Coast, Frenchman Laurent found, in the Bijagós archipelago, the place that enraptured him. The island he shares with his Portuguese wife Sónia accepted them and the affection they felt for Guinea Bissau. Kéré and the Bijagós have long enchanted visitors.
Kéré Island to Orango, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

In Search of the Lacustrine-Marine and Sacred Bijagós Hippos

They are the most lethal mammals in Africa and, in the Bijagós archipelago, preserved and venerated. Due to our particular admiration, we joined an expedition in their quest. Departing from the island of Kéré and ending up inland from Orango.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
The Little-Big Senglea II
Architecture & Design
Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.
Nissan, Fashion, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's fashion

In ultra-populous and hyper-coded Japan, there is always room for more sophistication and creativity. Whether national or imported, it is in the capital that they begin to parade the new Japanese looks.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Motorcyclist in Sela Gorge, Arunachal Pradesh, India
Guwahati a Saddle Pass, India

A Worldly Journey to the Sacred Canyon of Sela

For 25 hours, we traveled the NH13, one of the highest and most dangerous roads in India. We traveled from the Brahmaputra river basin to the disputed Himalayas of the province of Arunachal Pradesh. In this article, we describe the stretch up to 4170 m of altitude of the Sela Pass that pointed us to the Tibetan Buddhist city of Tawang.
Coin return
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Magome to Tsumago, Nakasendo, Path medieval Japan
Magome-Tsumago, Japan

Magome to Tsumago: The Overcrowded Path to the Medieval Japan

In 1603, the Tokugawa shogun dictated the renovation of an ancient road system. Today, the most famous stretch of the road that linked Edo to Kyoto is covered by a mob eager to escape.
PN Timanfaya, Mountains of Fire, Lanzarote, Caldera del Corazoncillo
PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

Between 1730 and 1736, out of nowhere, dozens of volcanoes in Lanzarote erupted successively. The massive amount of lava they released buried several villages and forced almost half of the inhabitants to emigrate. The legacy of this cataclysm is the current Martian setting of the exuberant PN Timanfaya.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Ribeiro Frio, Madeira, Vereda dos Balcões,
Ribeiro Frio Forest Park, Madeira

Ribeiro Frio Acima, on the Path of Balcões

This region of the high interior of Madeira has been in charge of repopulating the island's rainbow trout for a long time. Among the various trails and levadas that converge in its nurseries, the Parque Florestal Ribeiro Frio hides grandiose panoramas over Pico Arieiro, Pico Ruivo and the Ribeira da Metade valley that extends to the north coast.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Walk on the coast, Villarrica volcano, Pucon, Chile
Natural Parks
Villarrica Volcano, Chile

Ascent to the Villarrica Volcano Crater, in Full Activity

Pucón abuses nature's trust and thrives at the foot of the Villarrica mountain. We follow this bad example along icy trails and conquer the crater of one of the most active volcanoes in South America.
Registration Square, Silk Road, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
UNESCO World Heritage
Samarkand, Uzbequistan

A Monumental Legacy of the Silk Road

In Samarkand, cotton is the most traded commodity and Ladas and Chevrolets have replaced camels. Today, instead of caravans, Marco Polo would find Uzbekistan's worst drivers.
aggie gray, Samoa, South Pacific, Marlon Brando Fale
Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Magnificent Atlantic Days
Morro de São Paulo, Brazil

A Divine Seaside of Bahia

Three decades ago, it was just a remote and humble fishing village. Until some post-hippie communities revealed the Morro's retreat to the world and promoted it to a kind of bathing sanctuary.
Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang, Laos, Through the Mekong Below
Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang, , Laos

Slow Boat, Down the Mekong River

Laos' beauty and lower cost are good reasons to sail between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. But this long descent of the Mekong River can be as exhausting as it is picturesque.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, StreymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.