Guinea travel guide
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.
245,857 sq km (94,926 sq miles).
12,947,122 (UN estimate 2016).
47.9 per sq km.
President Alpha Condé since 2010.
Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana since 2018.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Guinea on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guinea’s land borders are closed. The land border between Guinea and Sierra Leone opened 18 February Conakry airport is open and commercial flights are gradually resuming.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Guinea.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Guinea
On 26 May the President extended the health state of emergency for 30 days and reduced the curfew timing to between midnight and 4am. Bars and restaurants must close for the curfew. Those travelling out of Conakry to the regions will need to carry a negative PCR test certificate. Mask wearing remains mandatory, distance must be maintained and washing hands when entering and leaving government and private establishments.
On 4 March the President issued a decree for N’zérékoré and the Greater Conakry area suspending all cultural activities, forbidding public and private events including weddings, funerals and baptisms. Night clubs are also closed.
National and international experts deployed to the N’zérékoré Region require the COVID and Ebola vaccines and a COVID-19 PCR negative Test Certificate taken within 72 hours. Authorities are also administering temperature checks before boarding flights and passengers must complete forms including their contact details. Guinea’s borders are currently closed. The border to Sierra Leonne opened 18 February.
Everyone must wear a mask and those not wearing masks are subject to a fine of 30,000 GNF.
Public places and services
Schools and mosques have reopened
Healthcare in Guinea
For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Guinea.
If you have any health concerns relating to coronavirus, call the local government helpline L’Agence Nationale de Securité Santé (ANSS) +224 629 995 656 / +224 626 069 797. Information on coronavirus is also on the government website.
Those testing positive for coronavirus must remain at the government coronavirus health centre, where medical facilities are poor and the equipment is very basic.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Guinea
We will update this page when the Government of Guinea announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.
The Guinea national vaccination programme started in March 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines. The Government of Guinea has stated that British nationals resident in Guinea are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme. Further information on the vaccination programme is available on the Government of Guinea National Health Security Agency website.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.
If you’re a British national living in Guinea, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
L’Agence Nationale de la Sécurité Sanitaire gives Guinea’s overarching guidance. www.anss-guinee.org
For assistance or to report a crime, the local police number for downtown Conakry is +224 622 039 258.
Motorists have encountered theft at gun point, particularly at night. These crimes are often carried out by individuals dressed in police or military uniforms and carrying military weapons. There have been incidents of violent car-jackings, especially in the outlying suburbs of Conakry. Burglaries and break-ins are common.
There are regular reports of robberies on the roads to Mamou, Faranah, Kissidougou, Guékédou, Macenta, N’zérékoré. The British Embassy Conakry is aware of 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.
Political tensions are high. Demonstrations are likely to continue following the presidential elections that were held on 18 October 2020. Public gatherings and demonstrations can be called with little or no notice and can quickly turn violent. You should avoid the demonstrations and crowds, remain aware of your surroundings, moving quickly to a safe place if you see signs of disturbances or unrest, and monitor the local media for any changes.
In recent years there have been many deaths of protestors and bystanders during protests as well as hundreds injured.
You should remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, particularly when roads are blocked and crowds are gathering. Avoid large demonstrations or rallies (both political and non-political), particularly those close to military barracks and regularly monitor local and international media reports.
“Villes mortes” (general strikes) do happen intermittently and you should be particularly vigilant when these occur.
Areas of Guinea bordering Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone are often tense with an increased military presence.
Protests in Middle Guinea in January 2020 led to several public buildings being ransacked and set on fire and increased criminal activity. The security situation has improved in Middle Guinea but tensions remain, particularly around large events such as the recent presidential elections. Tensions are likely to continue. There have been a number violent demonstrations this year in Kankan and Siguiri protesting against the lack of electricity. You should exercise caution and be vigilant. Stay clear of demonstrations and monitor local media carefully.
All valid UK driving licences should be accepted. If you have a driving licence that is not of the European Communities model, you may wish to voluntarily update your licence before travel as acceptance cannot be guaranteed.
Alternatively, older licences may be accompanied by an International Driving Permit. You can get International Driving Permits over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an International Driving Permit outside the UK, so get one before you 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.
The Airport is gradually opening to commercial flights. The FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of individual airlines.
Flights in Guinea 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.
There have been reports of attacks of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Guinean territorial waters.
The British Embassy in Conakry can only provide limited emergency consular assistance. Access to the Embassy is strictly by appointment only. Please send an email to BritishEmbassy.Conakry@fcdo.gov.uk for consular assistance or to make an appointment. If you need urgent consular help, call +44 (0) 1908 516 666.
Terrorist attacks can’t be ruled out. As seen in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, terrorist groups continue to mount attacks on beach resorts, hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners. Be especially vigilant in these places.
Guinea contributes to the UN peacekeeping initiative in Mali (MINUSMA) and may therefore be considered a legitimate target by Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) and its associated groups.
JNIM and its associates mainly operate in the Sahel. The Sahel region includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, but the threat may extend to other neighbouring countries and the region due to the porous nature of the borders and the desire from these groups to demonstrate capability and increasing influence across the wider region. Read more about the threat from terrorism in the Sahel region.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind.
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.
All precious stones require an export licence.
Foreigners and Guinean nationals are required to show identification if asked by the police or other law enforcement agencies. You are allowed to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport, provided they are certified by the Guinean police. Keep the original in a safe place.
Although homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in the Guinean Penal Code, Article 325 of the Code states that ‘indecent acts and acts against nature committed with an individual of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000 Guinean francs. If the act is with a minor of less than 21 years, the maximum sentence will be pronounced. If the act is committed with violence or attempted violence the sentence will be 5-10 years’. We have no reports of any attacks on persons linked to their sexuality. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted or understood. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Photography and filming in many parts of the country is forbidden or subject to strict rules which are enforced rigidly. It is forbidden to photograph or film anything of strategic value e.g. bridges. Do not photograph military or police installations or government buildings. Individuals may prefer not to be photographed. If in doubt, seek permission or do not take pictures.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK Government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to Guinea
On 27 March 2020 the President announced a state of emergency, closing the borders.
Guinea’s land borders are closed. On 18 February the border to Sierra Leone opened up.
If you need further information about entry requirements, contact the local immigration authorities or the nearest Guinean Embassy. You should also check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.
Testing / screening on arrival and departure
All passengers arriving in Conakry must show a COVID-19 certificate with a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result from a test taken within 72 hours of their journey to Guinea, and departing passengers also within 72 hours of leaving. Following the identification of a new strain of COVID-19, travellers from the UK must also take a supplementary PCR test on arrival at the airport, unless they have been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before their arrival in Guinea. Travellers who are not vaccinated will remain at the Onomo hotel in Conakry until the test result, which could take between 48 and 72 hours. Food and lodging will be at passengers’ own expense. Travellers will only be able to leave the hotel with a negative certificate. Those testing positive will be taken to a government treatment centre.
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
Masks are mandatory and travellers must have at least three for the trip. There will be controlled disembarkation of planes.
Temperature checks and health controls are in place on departure and arrival at the airport for all passengers.
You may have to follow special requirements set out by your airline.
All passengers departing Conakry must show a COVID-19 certificate with a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of the flight.
Quarantine measures are in force for coronavirus.
Following the identification of a new strain of COVID-19, travellers from the UK must also take a supplementary PCR test on arrival and remain in quarantine until the result. Those testing positive will be taken to a government treatment centre, where medical facilities are poor and the equipment is very basic.
If anyone shows symptoms of COVID-19 they should self isolate and follow Agence Nationale Sécurité Santé (ANSS) guidance and telephone 115.
Regular entry requirements
All British nationals need a visa to enter or live in Guinea. You can apply for visas for both private and business travel and residency at the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea and on the Guinea Online Visa Portal.
You should ensure that you follow the correct visa process and hold the correct visa for entry. There have been cases of British nationals being refused entry without the correct visa.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of your application for a visa to enter Guinea and must be valid for at least the duration of your stay in Guinea.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry or transit through Guinea. However ETDs are accepted for exit from Guinea.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
A Yellow Fever certificate is required to enter the country. Please visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Guinea on the TravelHealthPro website
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Guinea.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
On 17 May the government of Guinea declared an epidemic of Lassa Fever in N’zérékoré region following a death in Yomou Prefecture.
There are no central contact numbers for hospitals in Guinea. Only private clinics can be contacted by telephone. In Conakry, Clinique Pasteur can be contacted on +224 621 35 01 01 or +224 664 26 98 53, and the Clinique Ambroise Pare can be contacted on +224 631 40 10 40.
Medical facilities are poor. Equipment is basic and often not sterile. You should carry basic medical supplies, and consider including an emergency dental kit if travelling outside Conakry. There are minimal facilities for dealing with heart problems and major trauma. For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation to Europe is necessary. There are some well-stocked pharmacies in Conakry but few outside the capital, you should ensure medicine is genuine. Make sure you have adequate supplies of prescription medication, bearing in mind the risk of delays due to flight cancellations. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Following a 42 day countdown on 19 June 2021 the Ministry of Health declared an end to the Ebola epidemic that had started in the Gouécké sub-district of the N’zérékoré region in February. The last Ebola epidemic ended in June 2016.
Further information and updates on Ebola can be found on the WHO website and the Public Health England (PHE) website. Public Health England has guidance for humanitarian or healthcare workers travelling to countries at risk of Ebola. See Ebola
Cholera and malaria are also present in Guinea and have similar early symptoms to Ebola. You should check this travel advice before travelling to Guinea and follow the health advice on the NHS website.
Credit cards are not widely used. ATM facilities accept foreign cards, but should not be relied on as a means of getting money. There are a limited number of ATMs in Conakry, which give only small amounts of currency. International credit cards may be used to draw cash over the counter. Banking outside Conakry can be difficult, with few ATMs available.
Exchanging foreign currency on the street or using unofficial money changers is illegal. Those using money changers, even for small amounts, including at the international airport, have been arrested and detained in military custody. Obtaining hard currency in Guinea is very difficult.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.