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Guinea - all smiles - pc photo

Fouta Djallon
“Few would imagine that one of the best, most interesting trekking destinations in the whole of Africa is to be found in Guinea, this small and little-known country in West Africa. Specifically, it is in the highlands of Fouta Djallon, the wellspring of the great West African rivers. Still fewer would think – or do think – that it’s worth travelling here on holiday, though it offers the most authentic ‘African feeling’ I know, and on top of that something even better, but even harder to define… Still, I have to admit, this isn’t an easy country for visitors, and for anyone trying to get around outside of a pre-planned, guided trip it’s positively difficult. Even in terms of simply planning an itinerary, since in Guinea, if something can go wrong, it definitely will… Especially if you don’t have deep pockets, or aren’t willing to spend a lot of money. And in fact, even if you are, it still won’t be easy.

If by some method or other you succeed in reaching Labe, the second largest city in Guinea and the center of the Fouta Djallon region, then you’re already on the threshold of one of the most spectacular hiking experiences of your life.
But don’t imagine that only the natural beauty of the Fetoré river valley awaits you: you’ll also travel through villages of a sort you’d only ever have seen in the pages of National Geographic, and what’s more, get a glimpse into the everyday lives of their inhabitants. Time in these villages has stood still – or in fact never got started – and it’s possible, even just for one day or perhaps an afternoon, to experience family life in such places.

Five-eight hours’ walk each day will take you to the next campsite or village, which still leaves plenty of time for gaping at the tremendous waterfalls which dot the route, wiping the sweat from your brow in the stifling heat, and perhaps leaping into the cool, freshwater pools if you’ve got the stomach for it.” (2018)

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“Guinea is basically a friendly country and one which the average European or American could easily go a lifetime without hearing much about. Minor crimes (and inflated prices) are always a possibility, but in general, I’d say that they look after foreign tourists.

The country is essentially ‘offline’ – there are very few hotels, and 90% of those which do exist are concentrated in the capital. What’s more, public transport in the western sense of the term simply doesn’t exist! What’s more, it’s virtually impossible to find a tour guide using an internet search. If this doesn’t intimidate you, the best places to begin exploring this unique African country are the tropical islands near Conakry, the highlands around Fouta Djallon, and the forests in the south of the country, which are about two days’ drive from the capital. This last option I would recommend particularly to travelers with adventurous spirits and deep pockets, but it’s a place where you can encounter real African wildlife, and the sort of rainforest creatures you’ll never encounter in the classic safari countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, etc.

All in all, then, this isn’t a place you’re going to encounter mass tourism, and you shouldn’t come here expecting to find a cut-price version of the air-conditioned safaris offered in places like Kenya. Still, if you come with the right spirit, and are willing to spend a little extra when necessary, you’ll encounter an entirely different Africa, and have experiences which are sure to last a lifetime!”



Practicals

Transport

The rainy season (April-October) lasts for half a year. After heavy rains, the roads are virtually impassable!

Guinea - shared taxi (bush taxi) - profoundly shared

Guinea - sort of ferry boat - g.c. photo

Guinea - public bus - y.m. photo

Guinea - Badiar National Park - Koundara - g.c. photo

Shopping

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Guinea - batik paintings - y.m. photo

Public safety

Conakry is safe in areas close to the presidential residence, but as you go further away, and especially in the outskirts, safety worsens a lot.

Robberies often occur outside the capital, and in many cases, the criminals disguise themselves as police officers or soldiers.

Don’t wear expensive jewelry: watches, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings! Leave your smartphone in the hotel safe!

Under no circumstances should you walk alone at dusk!


Guinea - policewoman

Health

Guinea is a highly malaria-infected country.

Guinea - The Village of Ghamone declares the end of open-air defecation - under the penalty of a fine

Others

1. Making calls from the country or using the internet is difficult.

Background

Destination in brief

Guinea in brief
 
Guinea is located in West Africa. Neighbors: Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali (north), Ivory Coast (east), Liberia, Sierra Leone (south). It has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.
 
Guinea was a French colony until 1958.
 
The country is often referred to as Guinea-Conakry, to distinguish it from Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.
 
Size: 245,857 km² (94,925.9 mi²) - Around 60% of its territory is covered by forests.
 
Capital city: Conakry – This port city has a vibrant nightlife, with hundreds of bars. – One of the rainiest capitals in the world – Many Lebanese and Syrian businessmen and shopkeepers
 
Population: 13 million (2020) – The 3 largest ethnic groups are the Fulani, the Malinke and the Susu
 
Almost all Guinean women undergo genital mutilation! Despite having officially been banned in 2016, most communities strongly support this brutal practice, often carried out with primitive tools and without anesthetic. Uncut girls are considered impure in most communities and their parents are afraid that they will never find a husband. A small minority of urban, educated families is beginning to oppose the practice. But even in these families, any talk of female sexual pleasure is still a no go.
 
It is considered unlucky to compliment an infant’s beauty, and people may instead strangely tell a mother that her child is ugly.
 
Languages: French is the official language, but most people speak local languages, like Fulani and Malinke. 45% of the population is illiterate, and they speak broken French.
 
Religions: 85-90% Muslim (mostly Sunni),
 
Political system: presidential republic - The government is heavily militarized.
 
The political situation is very fragile, especially during presidential election campaigns. Human rights violations are quite common. Many men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.
 
Guinea possesses an estimated 30-40% of the world’s proven reserves of bauxite. Guinea’s mineral wealth makes it potentially one of Africa’s wealthiest countries, but its people are among the poorest in West Africa.
 
Currency: Guinean Franc (GNF)
 
Average net monthly salary: 70 USD (2020)
 
Most common surname: Diallo
 
Safety: Pretty bad, high crime rate, especially in Conakry, where criminals are often disguised as policemen - it is best to avoid getting too close to demonstrations
 
There is a high risk of malaria in Guinea.
 
Best time to visit: November-March (dry season)
 
Top tourist attractions:
 
Conakry, Fouta Djalon, Faranah, Katikan, Le Voile de la Mariée, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, scenic beaches of Cape Verga

Guinea - national flag - m.a. photo

Geography

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Guinea - Mount Nimba - g.c. photo

Guinea - Loos Islands Archipelago - g.c. photo

History

From 1958 to 1984, a pro-Soviet president, Sekou Toure ruled the country. During this long period Guinea enjoyed internal political stability, but the centrally planned economy experiment, the absence of essential business and social freedoms, resulted in a grave economic downturn.

Nowadays

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Guinea -the town of Labé - g.c. photo

People

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Guinea -kids

Guinea - architectural background

Guinea - family - g.c. photo

Guinea - young man - b.k. photo

Guinea - laughter - g.c. photo

Guinea - family - g.c. photo

Gastronomy

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Guinea - cooking Fonio. a cereal's grain - g.c. photo

Attractions

Fouta Djallon

Guinea - Fouta Djallon - n.l. photo

Conakry

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