Cufada Lake Natural Park, known among us, Guinean-Bissau, only of Cufada. We went there, from hearing so much about that huge, gorgeous lagoon, that makes anyone stop to listen to the silence ... we went there to feel all this.
For us it was the first time in the south of the country, the region of Quinara, it was not about time ... we know that! Returning to our discovery of the Cufada Lake, we ride a car, when I say car I mean a 4x4, with two gearboxes, then I will explain why). The plan was to visit two natural parks in two days, first Cufada and then Cantanhez ... but Cantanhez will stay for another post ... I promise.
We left Bissau at 6:00 a.m., yes, we managed to leave at the scheduled time. To go to Cufada we rent a car, it includes a driver, a driver who was punctual and responsible for making us reach our destination. I have to make a point here, whenever I talk about "we" I mean ... I (Maria) and two tourists for the first time in our Guinea-Bissau. Our trip lasted three and a half hours until the headquarters of Cufada Lake Natural Park. Buba, the city where the natural park is located, is a city that has the privilege of having the Rio Grande de Buba as a visiting card ... I felt like coming back and staying for a few days to enjoy the beauty of that river ... It is on my list.
We arrived in Buba, on the way we saw the sunrise, we passed through many "bolanhas" (rice paddies) ... many of them already in the harvest phase, it was good to realize that we are taking advantage of the potentialities of our land ... we heard the soundtrack of the rapids of Saltinho, those of Corubal River, near the bridge. The location of the Natural Park of the Cufada Lagoons is right next to the Rio Grande de Buba, the path is easy, arriving at Buba, follow to the end of the road (the road ends next to the river), turn left and you will find the sign of the park. We stopped the car right in front of Rio Grande de Buba, tried to resist the stunning view of the river, but it was not possible. We entered the headquarters, they were waiting for us, the director of the park explain to us the purpose of the park and the importance of its conservation. The park was created in 2000 by the IBAP with the main objective of conserving and protecting endangered species in this zone, is classified as a wetland of international importance.
After fulfilling the necessary obligations, going to the bank to pay the entrance and use fee of the park, we follow the road, by car, to the Cufada Lagoon, ... we visit only Cufada, the natural park consists of three Lakes, Cufada, Biorna, Bedasse, ... Cufada being the largest of the three. During the conversation with the director of the park he introduced us to our guide, a young local who from an early age learned the importance of nature conservation. We pay the park, we give the certificate to our guide and we travel towards Cufada Lake.
The distance between the town of Buba and the nearest Tabanka (village) of Cufada is approximately 60 minutes, would be less, but we had a small mishap half-way. We had already made some road after Buba, the road to Cufada is in clay, so for a few kilometers seem to be always delayed when you are driving on clay, but as if the rains had stopped 2 months ago, everything was guaranteed that the road would be on reasonable terms. Half way we had to make a stop ... well, we were obliged to make a stop ... there was a little truck jammed in the middle of the road, in what seemed to be a stream to pass in the middle of the road. The truck was jammed, the first thing I thought was, well, there was the lagoon and the kayak ride ... but our guide, Seidi, got out of the car and tried to figure out the depth of that water stream. He took off his shoes, rolled up his trousers to his knee, and slipped in the middle. From a distance, we could see that the water was passing through his knees. The driver, Djassi, also got out of the car, the two of them were talking about 5 minutes (or more), then they went back to the car, I asked Djassi, "can we?" He replied "yes", . Djassi started the car towards the water valley..., butterfly in my stomag... we could feel the wheels passing through a deeper zone, he put the reinforcement and we managed to pass. It was a relief, great driver! Yes, we'll actually get to Cufada.
We keep following our way, I can no longer say that it was of clay ... it was a path among the trees, in the middle of the immense forest. We continued until the guide said to stop, we stopped at a tabanca (village), to pick up the kayak canoes and the paddlers. While we were waiting for the guide, Djassi (the driver), appeared with three smoked bentanas (smoked tilapia), gave a fish to each ... I confess, I was already starving, tasty wonderfully well. I had been told about Cufada's smoked bentana ... no, it was not because of hunger, it was really delicious. Canoes collected, it was another 10 minutes drive to the beginning of the Cufada Lake.
We got out of the car, walked along the small wooden path that leads to the lake, we boarded the canoes and started our walk... I could finish this post here, you have to go there, to listen to that silence and to know the legend behind Cufada Lake ... but I can not resist sharing the privilege I had traveling a part of Cufada Lake Natural Park.
The video shows everything, well... almost everything, to know everything you will have to go there and check it yourself. Before the video there are some important information on how to prepare your visit.
Important to know:
- Entrance fee in the park: 2000 xof (3 euros)
- Car rental with driver: 75.000 xof (115 euros)
- Observation rate: 6000xof (9euros)
- Payment to guide: 7,500xof (11 euros, pay directly to the guide)
- Payment to rowers (each): 5000xof (7,5 euros)
- Rental of canoes (each): 5000xof (7,5 euros)
- Check the Park area on the homepage, look for Cufada Lake Natural Park.
* Prices may change.