There are countless tributaries and channels that, to the north of the great Cacheu River, wind through mangroves and soak up dry land. Against all odds, Felupe people settled there and maintain prolific villages surrounded by rice fields. Elalab, one of those villages, has become one of the most natural and exuberant tabancas in Guinea Bissau.
Somewhat remote, with challenging access, the peaceful fishing village of Varela compensates those who reach it with the friendliness of its people and one of the stunning, but at risk, coastlines in Guinea Bissau.
After a first foray to Roxa Island, we set sail from Canhambaque for an end of the day discovering the coastline in the vast and uninhabited bottom of Orangozinho. The next morning, we sailed up the Canecapane River, in search of the island's large tabanca, Uite.
On the political level, Bolama remains capital. In the heart of the archipelago and in everyday life, Bubaque occupies this place. This town on the namesake island welcomes most visitors. In Bubaque they are enchanted. From Bubaque, many venture towards other Bijagós.
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.
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.
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.
During our visit to the tabanca, at a glance, the djidius (poet musicians) mandingas are organized. Two of the village's prodigious balaphonists take the lead, flanked by children who imitate them. Megaphone singers at the ready, sing, dance and play guitar. There is a chora player and several djambes and drums. Its exhibition generates successive shivers.