Kids in Guinea-Conakry
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Kids in Guinea-Conakry

© Creative Commons / Julien Harneis

Guinea Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq miles).

Population

12,947,122 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

47.9 per sq km.

Capital

Conakry.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Alpha Condé since 2010.

Head of government

Prime Minister Mamady Youla since 2015.

Electricity

220 volts, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.

Okay, so Guinea might not be the stuff bucket lists are made of. Tarnished by the Ebola crisis and long-term political instability, it is a country most people stay away from. But for travellers who like being far, far from the beaten track, Guinea has many enticements.

A land of remote hills, virgin rainforests and plunging waterfalls, this wild, West African nation is home to some mesmerising landscapes. If you like to immerse yourself in Mother Nature, you’ll love Guinea.

But don’t expect an easy time of it. The country has been mired in political instability and outbreaks of violence, and it was here that the first person died from Ebola in 2014. It is also an exceptionally poor country and beyond the capital, Conakry, it is not an easy place to travel: corruption is rife and the ubiquitous military checkpoints intimidating.

Conakry is a lot of fun, though. The city has a lively nightlife and a reasonable number of international standard restaurants serving predominantly French cuisine. Its hotel scene is hardly blazing a trail – accommodation ranges from small guesthouses to slightly run down international chains – but the city has a certain charm.

If chaotic Conakry wears you thin, hop on a ferry to Iles de Los, a small archipelago floating just off the coast. The antitheses to the bustling capital, these islands are blessed with clean sandy beaches, simple guesthouses and a relaxed vibe, which feels a world away from Conakry.

Beyond the capital Guinea is rarely visited by tourists due to the difficulty in getting around. Public transport is crowded, uncomfortable and slow, but avoids hassle from police officers, which you are likely to attract if driving your own car.

Guinea certainly isn’t for everyone, but those with a curious mind and sense of adventure will be richly rewarded.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Political situation

Although the political situation in Guinea has stabilised following the closely contested presidential elections on 11 October 2015, there are ongoing political tensions. These have led to sporadic violent demonstrations in the capital with demonstrators blocking roads near the airport. Monitor local media reports and keep away from large demonstrations.

Crime

Theft at gunpoint is increasingly common throughout Guinea, especially at night. Violent muggings can occur even in broad daylight for cash and other valuables such as mobile telephones. There have been incidents of violent car-jackings, especially in the outlying suburbs of Conakry like Kipe. These crimes are often carried out by individuals dressed in police or military uniforms, and carrying military weapons.

There are regular reports of robberies on the route Mamou, Faranah, Kissidougou, Guekedou, Macenta, Nzerekore. The British Embassy is aware of unconfirmed reports of police extorting cash from foreigners and Guineans.

If you plan to arrive in Conakry on a flight after dark you should arrange your airport transfer before you travel.

Those involved in trading gold and diamonds should take particular care; this trade attracts criminal gangs, who are known to resort to kidnapping and extortion. Trading scams involving diamonds, gold export and gold certification have been reported.

Those who commit criminal offences, including gem smuggling, can expect to be subjected to local law. There are heavy penalties for those convicted. Local prison conditions are harsh with food and water often not supplied on a regular basis. Pre-trial detention is extensive and can last for many months.

The local police number for downtown Conakry is (+224) 622 039 258.

Local travel

Areas of Guinea bordering Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone are often tense with an increased military presence.

Road travel

Road travel is hazardous during the rainy season from May to October. Torrential rains can cause floods and landslides. Monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season. Avoid travel outside cities after dark.

Taxis and long distance buses are poorly maintained, and the drivers often unqualified. Few motorists have any form of insurance. Most major hotels and travel agencies offer cars for hire, with a chauffeur if required.

The standard of road maintenance is low. Beware of deep potholes. Many roads are not metalled and are not repaired after the rainy season. Roads within Conakry and other principal towns can quickly become flooded and impassable.  

Supplies of fuel may run low from time to time; it is worth considering carrying an emergency stock, especially when making a long journey.

Police and local militia maintain checkpoints across the country. Vehicles and passengers are submitted to checks on documentation and baggage. Corruption and extortion are common at roadblocks. Occasionally, checkpoints can be a pretext for armed robbery.

Air travel

We do not have reliable information about safety and/or maintenance standards of local airlines, but flights are frequently delayed or cancelled.

If you plan to arrive in Conakry on a flight after dark you should arrange your airport transfer before you travel. Corruption at the airport by officials is common.

Sea travel

There have been reports of attacks of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Guinean territorial waters.

Consular assistance

The British Embassy in Conakry, can only provide limited emergency consular assistance. The opening hours of the Consular Section are 10am to noon, Monday to Thursday.

If you need consular help, call the British Embassy and follow the instructions to be connected with consular officers.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.