Flights to Bolama
The town of Bolama is on an island of the same name off the western coast of Guinea-Bissau. It is quite a small place and many parts of the city are abandoned, which may actually add to the appeal if you enjoy such unusual surroundings! Services will be minimal in Bolama, and most people will speak Portuguese just like the rest of the country’s mainland.
Bolama is about 40km away from the main Osvaldo Vieira International Airport (airport code: OXB) in Bissau, so all flights to Bolama will arrive here. Coming from South Africa, flights to Bolama will have two connections, except for the one with South African Airways that goes via Dakar. With TAP Air Portugal, you will have transfers in London and Lisbon, and Lufthansa offers an alternative with a flight to Bolama through Munich and Lisbon. Most flights are going to be between 20 and 30 hours long, including lay-overs.
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The Tourist Attractions of Bolama:
Cufada Lagoons Natural Park
Cufada Lagoons is a wetlands park filled with streams, lagoons, swamps and other shoreline features. This is a park to visit for the stunning scenery rather than the abundant wildlife. Though animals are not as common here, you may see chimpanzees, baboons, duiker antelope and lots of crocodiles. If you are close enough to the water, you can also see a manatee under the surface if you’re lucky.
Cantanhez Forest National Park
Another large coastal park lies to the south of Cufada Lagoons, and presents another place to see Guinea-Bissau countryside. Again, there is a great deal of wetland area but also more open grassland and mangrove forests. Cantanhez Forest National Park is known for its primate population, and there are more chimps, baboons and colobus monkeys as well.
Orango National Park
The Orango National Park is on an island to the west of Bolama so you will need a rental boat to get there. The area is beautiful for walking and you may see hippos or crocodiles during your stay, but there isn’t a lot of wildlife in the park.
Ruins of the Old Capital
Old abandoned buildings of the original capital city make for an interesting place to go for a walk in Bolama, but you do need to watch out for bats. The colonial architecture of the area is still quite impressive even with the state of decay.
There are many good sandy beaches around the shoreline near Bolama, though there are none right nearby. A short ride on a scooter will take you to one where you can relax and do some sunbathing or swimming. The water is usually a brilliant blue against the white sand.
When Should You Visit?:
Bolama is usually hot and the cooler months all fall during the very heavy rainy season. That would be in August, when the rains are at their highest and the temperature only reaches 28C (82F) in the daytime. If you don’t mind the rain that is the best time to travel. The rest of the year is all over 30C (86F), with the hottest months being March and April when it can reach 34C (93F). To compromise between rain and temperature, you can travel in October or November.