Flights to Bissau
The city of Bissau is both the capital and largest city of Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. Bissau was founded in 1687 and one of its attractions are the colonial buildings and fort, dating from Portuguese times. Bissau is an important port city as well, situated as it is where the Geba River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
The airport outside of Bissau, the Osvaldo Vieiro International Airport (airport code: OXB) is the only international airport in the country. Several airlines offer flights to Bissau, all with two connections when leaving from Johannesburg. Lufthansa will make transfer stops in Munich and Lisbon, and TAP Air Portugal will have its connections in London and Lisbon. You can go a whole different way through Lagos and Dakar if you take a flight to Bissau with Arik Air.
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The Tourist Attractions of Bissau:
Old Bissau, known locally as Bissau Velho, is where the majority of the city’s older colonial buildings can be found. Don’t come to Bissau expecting glorious, well kept colonial buildings as this really isn’t what you’ll see. Many of them actually stand derelict, and in some ways this older part of the city is like a ghost town. Still, you can imagine what the streets would have been like in its heyday, before the Portuguese left Bissau in 1974.
Another reminder of the Portuguese colonisation of Bissau is Fortaleza d’Amura. When Bissau was first established it was as a fortified trading centre because of the strategic location on the coast and at the mouth of the River Geba. This fort was built in the 1700s and is a well known landmark, however, it is still used today by the Guinean military so don’t count on being allowed inside. If you do get to go inside there’s the mausoleum of Amilcar Cabral who is Guinea-Bissau’s national hero.
Former Presidential Palace
Only a shell of its former grand self, the Presidential Palace of Bissau was bombed and fired upon during the Civil War. The neo-classical façade is actually still in surprisingly good shape, and although this is one of the top tourist attractions in Bissau it’s not clear whether there are any plans to refurbish and renovate the building or to leave it as a reminder of the past.
The Pidjiguiti Memorial can be found on Bissau’s water front by the port, where in 1959 a strike by dockworkers ended in tragedy when some were shot and killed by police. The memorial features a large black fist that serves as a reminder of this event and memorialises those who were killed. Once you’ve seen the memorial you can also enjoy some nice views of the city from here, and may come up close to a pelican!
When Should You Visit?:
You’ll want to avoid the rainy season in Bissau which lasts from June to October, but any other time of the year should be nice for visiting. The temperature doesn’t really change much across the year as the city is close to the equator, so the year round average is about 26C.