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Guinea-Bissau

Stay safe & healthy

Stay safe & healthy


Stay safe

Guinea-Bissau has one of the highest rates of petty and violent crime on the continent, which should not be underestimated, a lack of much law enforcement, and a very dysfunctional government. The country is home to several drug kingpins and a large volume of narcotics passes through remote islands and airstrips en route from South America to Europe. The country also has the onerous distinction of never having an elected president complete a full 5-year term in office and there have been dozens of coups and attempted coups as well as numerous assassinations of officials and military leaders since independence in 1974. The most recent coup was in April 2012, which follows a failed coup attempt in 2011, the house-arrest of the prime minister by the military (and threat of killing him) in 2010, and the assassination of the president by soldiers in 2009 (a day after a top military leader & rival of the president was killed by a bomb).

Avoid any political demonstrations and stay clear of any large presence of military on the streets. Many western nations lack a diplomatic presence in Guinea-Bissau, which means you will have a much harder time if arrested, detained, or in need of consular assistance in an emergency.

Guinea-Bissau is a violent country, and is considered by the UN to be a major port for drug shipments into Europe. The military is known for corruption, prompting the head of the UN to refer to the head of the Air Force as a drug kingpin.

The country also has the lowest per capita productivity and income in the world, which has the violence and crime to go along with it.

White Europeans are especially vulnerable, and will be singled out by natives seeking to enact racial crime. White Europeans tend to be left alone if it is believed they are part of foreign aid efforts, or far left activists. Guinea-Bissau has had several Marxist Governments, providing a safe haven for Marxist radicals worldwide.

There is no US or UK embassy in GB. The US & UK embassies in Dakar, Senegal are accredited to GB. The US has a liaison at: Edifício SITEC, Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda (tel.(245) 325-6382).

Do not trust hotel safes, and stay away from any nightclubs not attached to major hotels.

If you are arrested, be prepared to pay a bribe. However, it is not recommended to bribe officials directly. Simply ask if they can pay the fine for you, because you do not understand the customs procedures. Then leave the country as soon as possible.

You must be careful around the wildlife because they may be dangerous and you must respect the animals at all times. Do not attempt to feed or touch an animal. Remember: Take nothing but photos, Leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time. Having fun and being safe makes your trip the best it can be.


Stay healthy

Before traveling, make sure you have the yellow fever, hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid vaccinations up to date. Malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended - consult a medical doctor for advice on which type to choose.

HIV is prevalent, as are most major sexually transmitted diseases. The CDC in the US listed Guinea-Bissau as a groundswell point for new HIV infections.

Depending on the length and purpose of your stay, also consider vaccinations for typhoid fever, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis and tuberculosis.

If bitten by a dog, cat, monkey or bat - seek a doctor as fast as possible, no matter if you've been vaccinated or not. Everybody needs post-exposure rabies prophylaxis - but if vaccinated beforehand, you'll need less vaccines. Rabies can be prevented with vaccines and immunoglubulin, but once the symptoms present, there is no cure and about 100% die.

Always use a condom when having sexual relations with new partners.

Make sure you drink only bottled/filtered water.

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Guinea-Bissau - Travel guide

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