Traveling Luck for Guinea

Guinea is located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.

Guinea has borders with Ivory Coast for 610km, Guinea-Bissau for 386km, Liberia for 563km, Mali for 858km, Sierra Leone for 652km and Senegal for 330km.

Land in Guinea is generally flat coastal plain, hilly to mountainous interior.

Guinean land covers an area of 245857 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Oregon

As for the Guinean climate; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds.

Guinean(s) speak French (official); note - each ethnic group has its own language.

Guinean National Map

Guinean Map

Regions of Guinea

Guinea has had only two presidents since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Lansana CONTE came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after the death of the first president, Sekou TOURE. Guinea did not hold democratic elections until 1993 when Gen. CONTE (head of the military government) was elected president of the civilian government. He was reelected in 1998 and again in 2003. Unrest in Sierra Leone and Liberia has spilled over into Guinea on several occasions over the past decade, threatening stability and creating humanitarian emergencies.


Guinea Country Profile

Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. The country possesses almost half of the world's bauxite reserves and is the second-largest bauxite producer. The mining sector accounted for over 70% of exports in 2004. Long-run improvements in government fiscal arrangements, literacy, and the legal framework are needed if the country is to move out of poverty. Fighting along the Sierra Leonean and Liberian borders, as well as refugee movements, have caused major economic disruptions, aggravating a loss in investor confidence. Panic buying has created food shortages and inflation and caused riots in local markets. Guinea is not receiving multilateral aid; the IMF and World Bank cut off most assistance in 2003. Growth rose slightly in 2005, primarily due to increases in global demand and commodity prices on world markets.

Guinean natural resources include bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish, salt

the Niger and its important tributary the Milo have their sources in the Guinean highlands

Guinean religion is Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%.

Natural hazards in Guinea include hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season.

Travel Advice on Guinea

Guinea

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary.The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

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  • On 12 February the President declared a state of siege and martial law in Guinea. This Travel Advice will be further updated on 13 February. We advise against all travel to Guinea.
  • British nationals in Guinea should consider leaving if they judge they have a safe route to do so.
  • There were violent demonstrations in Conakry and many Guinean towns on Saturday 10 February following the nomination of an unpopular Prime Minister. Several deaths were reported. Some international flights to and from Conakry were cancelled. While many places were calm on Sunday there is a high risk of further unrest on Monday 12 February. Even if a general strike is not officially restarted widespread disruption can be expected. For those planning to travel to Guinea, you should monitor events and seriously consider postponing your trip until the situation is clearer.
  • The last strike called by the two largest Trade Unions was suspended on 27 January 2007 after an agreement was reached between the Unions and Government.  During the strike, Central Conakry was affected by violent clashes between protestors and security forces.  Disturbances also affected several Conakry suburbs, including Matoto, Bambeto, Hamdallaye and Gbessia. There were also protests in Labe, Pita, Kankan and other cities.  Reliable estimates suggest approximately 100 people were killed in various incidents during the strike and over 100 seriously wounded.
  • Due to the small size of the Embassy, only limited emergency assistance can be provided.  Nevertheless, we strongly recommend you register with the Embassy if you have not already done so.
  • We already advise against all but essential travel to the areas bordering Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.  This is because of the fragile and unstable security situation in Cote d’Ivoire, and poor government control over the border areas from Liberia (where a large UN peacekeeping force is still in place) and Sierra Leone.
  • The threat from terrorism is low.
  • There are very few British tourists to Guinea.  Most visits are trouble-free. We are not aware of any British nationals who have required consular assistance in Guinea in the past year.  However, petty crime is common in Guinea.  You should take sensible precautions and maintain a high level of vigilance in public.
  • It is a requirement that you show identification if requested by the police or other law enforcement agencies.  You are allowed to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport, provided the Guinean police has certified them.
  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

You should not become involved with drugs of any kind.  All precious stones require an export licence.  There are heavy penalties for those who commit criminal offences.  Local prison conditions are harsh.

Pickpocketing, muggings and armed break-ins occur especially in Conakry.  You should avoid carrying valuables in public and be vigilant at all times.

Photography and filming in many parts of the country is forbidden.

Political Situation

Guinea Country Profile

We advise against all travel to Guinea.

British Nationals in Guinea should consider leaving if they judge they have a safe route to do so.
There were violent demonstrations in Conakry and many Guinean towns on Saturday 10 February following the nomination of an unpopular Prime Minister. Several deaths were reported. Some international flights to and from Conakry were cancelled. While many places were calm on Sunday there is a high risk of further unrest on Monday 12 February. Even if a general strike is not officially restarted widespread disruption can be expected. For those planning to travel to Guinea, you should monitor events and seriously consider postponing your trip until the situation is clearer.
The last strike called by the two largest Trade Unions was suspended on 27 January 2007 after an agreement was reached between the Unions and Government.  During the strike, Central Conakry was affected by violent clashes between protestors and security forces.  Disturbances also affected several Conakry suburbs, including Matoto, Bambeto, Hamdallaye and Gbessia. There were also protests in Labe, Pita, Kankan and other cities.  Reliable estimates suggest approximately 100 people were killed in various incidents during the strike, with over 100 seriously wounded.
On 9 February, demonstrations were reported in Coyah and Dinguiraye.
Due to the small size of the Embassy, only limited emergency assistance can be provided.  Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you register with the Embassy if you have not already done so.
International commercial flights are still operating, but may be disrupted if the situation deteriorates again. If there is further unrest, you should monitor events and check the status of your flight.  British nationals in Guinea who are planning to travel from Conakry Airport in the near future should ensure it is safe to do so. 
There were violent protests, including reported deaths, in Fria and Kamsar in December 2006.  
Local Travel

We advise against all but essential travel to areas bordering Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. This is because of the fragile and unstable security situation in Cote d’Ivoire, and poor government control over the border areas in Liberia (where a large UN peacekeeping force is still in place) and Sierra Leone, where there is a high military presence due to border tension.

Road Safety

Public transport, when it exists, is neither reliable nor safe.  Taxis and long distance buses are poorly maintained, and the drivers often unqualified.  Most major hotels and travel agencies offer cars for hire, with a chauffeur if required.

The rainy season (May - October), makes travel outside Conakry and to the interior both difficult and hazardous.  Travel outside cities after dark should be avoided.  Fuel shortages often occur in Guinea.  It is inadvisable to travel within Guinea without a sufficient supply of fuel to complete your journey.

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.  Vehicles countrywide may be badly maintained and unroadworthy.  Few motorists have any form of insurance.  Hostile crowds can gather quickly at the scene of a traffic accident, particularly where foreigners are involved.

You are strongly advised not to travel outside of Conakry and other principal towns after dark.

Police and local militia checkpoints are found throughout the country.  Vehicles and passengers are submitted to checks on documentation and baggage.  Corruption and extortion are common at roadblocks.

Air Safety

There are a number of local airlines, which operate internally and on shuttle routes to neighbouring destinations.  We do not have reliable information about safety and/or maintenance standards, but flights are frequently delayed or cancelled.
The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.  You should check the following link to see whether this will affect your travel: http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/safety/flywell_en.htm.
Sea Safety
There have been reports of attacks of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Guinean territorial waters.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

You should not become involved with drugs of any kind.  All precious stones require an export licence.  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.
Homosexuality is legal in Guinea, but not widely accepted.
Photography and filming are subject to strict rules which are enforced rigidly.  It is forbidden to photograph or film anything of strategic value e.g.  bridges.  Individuals may prefer not to be photographed.  If in doubt, ask or do not take pictures.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

All British nationals require a visa and a certified Yellow Fever vaccination certificate to enter or reside in Guinea.  Visas for both private and business travel and residency can be obtained at the Guinean representation in the UK.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact:  Guinean representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling.  This should include cover for medical treatment and evacuation, accidents, cancelled flights and stolen cash, credit cards, passport and luggage.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.
Medical facilities are poor in Guinea, with equipment basic and often not sterile.  You should carry basic medical supplies, and should consider including an emergency dental kit if travelling outside Conakry.  There are well-stocked pharmacies in Conakry but few outside the capital.
There are no central contact numbers for hospitals in Guinea.  Only private clinics can be contacted.  In Conakry, Clinique Pasteur can be reached on (224) 30430074.
Waterborne and parasitic diseases are prevalent.  Water supplies are untreated and we recommend you use boiled or bottled water.  HIV/AIDS is prevalent.  There are minimal facilities for dealing with heart problems and major trauma.  For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation to Europe is necessary.  If you have travelled in this region, you should seek urgent medical advice for any subsequent fever.
Malaria is endemic in Guinea.  More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Guinea.
Cholera occurs every year in the rainy season in most parts of the country, and lasts for up to eight months.  The death figure is around 100 annually.
The last major outbreak of Yellow Fever was in January 2006 in the Boke region.  It resulted in 23 deaths.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at: Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help.
It is a requirement that foreigners and Guinean nationals show identification if requested 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.  The original should be kept in a safe place.
The local police number for downtown Conakry is (224) 30 45 17 97 (Commissariat Central Kaloum).
In the event of a fire, the central number for Conakry is (224) 30 45 41 14.
On 18 February 2006, Guinean mobile phone numbers changed.  Each number will now consist of eight digits with no prefix.  The following prefixes will be replaced by the corresponding digits to make up the new eight-digit numbers:
The former 011 prefix should be replaced by 60
The former 012 prefix should be replaced by 62
The former 013 prefix should be replaced by 63
In May 2006, fixed lined numbers also changed.  All fixed line numbers should now start with 30.

Due to the small size of the British Embassy, only emergency assistance can be provided.  Nonetheless, we strongly recommend that you register with the Embassy if you have not already done so.

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

The Embassy will run a telephone enquiry service on  (+224) 30 45 58 07 during normal office hours:  Monday to Thursday 0800-1630 and Friday 0800-1300.

In an emergency the duty officer can be reached 24 hours a day on (+224) 60 25 42 05.

Money
Credit cards are not widely used.  There are ATM facilities in Conakry but these accept only local cards.  International credit cards may be used to draw cash over the counter.  Outside Conakry banking can be difficult.