Guinea Travel Guide and Travel Information

 Guinea Travel Guide and Travel Information

Key Facts:

Area

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

Population: 

11.5 million (2014).

Population density: 

46.7 per sq km.

Capital: 

Conakry.

Government: 

Republic.

Head of state: 

President Alpha Conde since 2010.

Head of government: 

Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana since 2010.

Electricity: 

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

The Republic of Guinea is bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone.Guinea’s main attraction to tourists is its relatively undisturbed countryside. Its landscape varies from mountains to plains and from savannah to forest and the three great rivers of West Africa (the Gambia, the Senegal and the Niger) all originate here.

The capital, Conakry, is located on the island of Tumbo and connected to the Kaloum Peninsula by a 300m- (984ft-) long pier. The city is well laid out, its alleys shaded by mangrove and coconut palm trees. Guinea has a strong music tradition and Conakry, in particular, is a dynamic centre for music. The singing of the Kindia people is especially renowned.

In 1958, when it declared independence from France and voted in a staunchly socialist one-party government, Guinea became an isolated and secretive country. However, after the death of the dictator Sekou Touré in 1984, Guinea began, slowly, to allow tourists through its once stubbornly closed doors. Even so, it is still one of the least visited countries in Africa and it can be difficult, despite declarations to the contrary, to acquire visas.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 19 October 2015

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

The political situation in Guinea remains tense following closely contested presidential elections on 11 October 2015. Unpredictable outbreaks of violence within and beyond the capital have so far resulted in several deaths, the burning of residential and commercial properties, and groups of demonstrators armed with stones blocking roads in some areas. Monitor local media reports and keep away from any large gatherings (both political and non-political) or military barracks.

Over 20 people were reported to have been killed during a stampede at a beach concert in Conakry in July 2014. A number of deaths and injuries were reported in another beach concert in Conakry on 1 January 2015.

Crime

Nearly 100 people were reported to have been killed in July 2013 in an outbreak of ethnic violence in the ‘Guinea Forestiere’ region in the far south east of Guinea. A large number of injuries were reported, and properties destroyed.

Several deaths and a number of injuries were reported during an outbreak of violence in December 2013 in Kankan, in the “Upper Guinea” region in the east of the country.

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. Incidents of violent car-jackings are also increasing, 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. There is little or no chance of redress through the court system, which is often subject to external influences. The British Embassy has received unconfirmed reports of police extorting cash from foreigners or Guineans with links to foreigners.

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) 657 765 370 (Commissariat Central Kaloum).

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

Delays may be experienced at Guinea’s land border crossings, particularly those with Sierra Leone and Liberia, due to enhanced screening measures. There are reports that Guinea Bissau has closed its land borders with Guinea.

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, though there are now very few in Conakry itself. 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. A British flagged vessel was attacked in 2011, by a group of armed men, some wearing military uniforms.

Consular assistance

The British Embassy in Conakry, can only provide limited emergency consular assistance.

In an emergency – eg the death, assault, hospitalisation or detention of a British national, call +44 (0)1908 516 666 and follow the instructions to be connected with consular officers

All visitors to the Embassy will be seen strictly by appointment.

The Embassy runs a telephone enquiry service on (+224) 631 35 53 29 during normal office hours: Monday to Thursday 0800-1630 and Friday 0800-1300.

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