Republic. Gained independence from Portugal in 1973.
Head of state:
President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo since 2012.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Rui Duarte Barros since 2012.
Limited electricity supply on 220 volts AC, 50Hz.
Guinea-Bissau is a small coastal country just to the South of Senegal where the people speak a host of local languages and Creole together with Portuguese and a little bit of French.Until recently, Guinea-Bissau was well off the tourist route. Struggles for independence and a civil war in 1998-99 devastated the economy. Tourist facilities and infrastructure remain, in general, very limited but efforts have been made to encourage visitors to this undiscovered gem of West Africa.
Although a relatively small country. Guinea-Bissau's beaches and wildlife are exceptional while West African traditions and Portuguese colonial remains can still be seen. On the coast, you can find fishing villages surrounded by forests, whereas further inland the country is dry and dusty.
The islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau (the Bijagos Archipelago) are of exceptional beauty. These islands are home to a group of indigenous people. Turtles, sharks, manatees, and a very special and very rare form of hippopotamus that lives mostly in salt-water can all be seen here.For those willing to go off the beaten track, Guinea-Bissau has a lot going for it.
A presidential election took place on 28 June 2009 and a new President was sworn in in September.The country remains calm but there are ongoing political tensions. If you are in Guinea-Bissau you should take precautions and closely monitor developments through the local media. You should avoid demonstrations or rallies, which have the potential to become violent.
There is no British Embassy in Guinea-Bissau. The British Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau resides in Dakar, Senegal. However, the British Honorary Consul, Mr Jan Van Maanen, can offer limited consular assistance.
If you are thinking of travelling to Guinea-Bissau by road you should note that we advise against all road travel in the Casamance region to the west of Kolda (an area of Senegal to the northwest of Guinea-Bissau) except on the main road from Ziguinchor to Cap Skirring, which is often used by groups of tourists during daylight hours.
There is a general threat from terrorism in Guinea-Bissau. Attacks cannot be ruled out and could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice: