Guinea — Overview
Hard to reach and little explored Guinea is one remarkable country with a long colonial history under French rule. It is situated in West Africa bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Côte d’Iviore, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Its cities and towns may be lacking in infrastructure and development, but the real draw of this nation is its tremendous natural attractions. Within its 152,762 square-miles of land are half of the earth’s bauxite reserves. The country has rich gold, metal and jewelry industries, but it ironically ranks very poorly when it comes to quality of life. Guinea may be quite a challenge to get into, but it is one of those places that adventurous travelers just cannot miss.
Guinea is geographically blessed, filled with the most beautiful landscapes you could ever imagine. It is home to some of the last surviving tropical dry forests in the world, in addition to sprawling rainforests that boast stunning plant and wildlife. In the west is the marvelous, waterfall-loaded Fouta Djalon Plateau, which not only offers spectacular scenery, but the best trails and hiking paths in West Africa.
Guineans have a rich and fascinating culture. Despite years of colonialism, they were able to preserve their ethnic traditions and sense of nationality, overlooking diversity in the fight for their independence. Their music and dance have been highly praised throughout the world and Kindia singing is particularly famous.
The country is not big on tourism, but it has real potential. There are some good-value hotels in the capital town of Conakry with basic facilities. Accommodation choices become sparse outside of the city, but hotels can also be found in Labé Kindia, Dalaba and Katikan. Smart planning and advance arrangements are necessary for coordinating lodging and logistics.
Flights into Guinea are mostly available from European capitals like Paris, Brussels and Belgium, where connections can be made from elsewhere in the world. The transportation system within the country is underdeveloped, so you cannot rely on the irregularity of services to get from place to place. However, taxis are widely available and Bush taxis are the primary means of getting around.
Guinea may be hopelessly unprepared for tourism, but its hidden gems are enough to spark the interest of the most daring and intrepid travelers. The capital may be lacking skyscrapers and memorable architecture, but it is surrounded by lush botanical gardens and stunning landscapes. The lovely Faranah area is most notable for being the country’s "party town," boasting not only an array of restaurants and cafés, but a beautiful mosque that creates a stunning silhouette against the gorgeous sunset.
- Take in the beauty of Conakry’s countryside and botanical gardens
- Explore cultural and historical exhibits in the National Museum
- Admire the beautiful cathedral in the heart of Conakry
- Visit Faranah and its great Mosque, trendy café-lined boulevards and riverside area
- Appreciate nature in the Fouta Djalon highlands and its superb hiking trails
- Explore the mysterious Kakimbon Caves in Ratoma village
- Shop in the open-aired markets of Katikan in the town of Kindia
- Sightsee around the magnificent Le Voile de la Mariée, a 230-foot cascading waterfall amidst beautiful vegetation
- Watch wildlife around the Tinkisso River near the border with Mali