In this article, we will be discovering the mainly unknown site for the majority of tourists, as the country is not specifically the place where travel-lovers visit frequently, Western African state called Guinea. And the main goal of this article is trying to change that tendency.
Let me start by saying that Guinea is an excellent country with very hospitable and friendly people but unfortunately with little tourism infrastructure. Even though the country is very rich in terms of natural resources, Guinea faces strong economic issues. Guinea's coastal area and much of the inland is tropical with a rainy season lasting from April to November, relatively dry, uniform temperatures, and high humidity.
Now that we have basic information about the country let’s get to know 10 Reasons why you absolutely should travel to Guinea, Africa right now!
1. Travel to Conakry
Conakry is Guinea's capital and the largest city. A port town, it serves as Guinea's diplomatic, political, and cultural centre. One of the most beautiful sites in the capital is The Conakry Grand Mosque. The mosque was built with support from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, under Ahmed Sekou Toure. It opened in the year 1982. This is Africa's fourth-largest mosque and the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The mosque complex also includes verdant gardens and the tombs of national heroes. Which basically guarantees that there is always something that will keep you engaged. Even if you are not praying, learning about the history of the mosque and the city could be very interesting if you are into history.
One of the most frequently asked questions before the visit to the city is "Is it safe to travel to Conakry?”. To be honest, it is not the safest place that you have ever been to. Tourists should try to prevent unwarranted airport and hotel assistance, as such offers often disguise an intention to steal luggage, purses, wallets. Criminals particularly target visitors at the airport, in the traditional markets, and near hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners. Stay vigilant and apply common sense if you find yourself stuck in a difficult situation.
Another point is to be careful is water. Drinking Tap water is extremely unhealthy and as well as quite risky, and I highly encourage you only to drink unopened bottled water. In case you still have not found an answer to your “is it safe to travel to Conakry?”, it is also worth to mention that malaria is extremely widespread in this region too. Take anti-malarial prophylactics and cover up exposed skin at night and early morning when mosquitoes are at worst.
2. Mary's Cathedral
During your travel to Conakry St. Mary's Cathedral is one of the sites that you should not ignore, as well. The church is an important place for all the Christians living in the city. The building’s vibrant yellow and red colours provide tourists with the nicest pictures from Guinea. The Cathedral was built in 1928, in the times of French colonization of Western African lands. The Palais Presidential, which is the residence of the president, is located just behind the Cathedral. Once you are there be careful with taking pictures of the palace as it can be seen as espionage and you can even go to jail for that.
3. National Park of Upper Niger
Now that we are done with our travel to Conakry, the capital city. It is about the time to go to explore the wild side of the continent. However, what is guinea Africa known for? Well, first of all, with National Park of Upper Niger which is a Guinean national park which was provided by the government in January 1997. Protection of the park is seen as a priority among all the countries in western Africa as both important tracts of forest and savannahs make up the national park.
Around five per cent of the whole park, alongside the edges, of course, is agricultural. Unfortunately, during the dry seasons, the park faces frequent fires that put both fauna and flora of the park under a risk.
4. Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve
Occupying the territories of three western African countries (Guinea, Ivory Coast and Liberia) this Natural Reserve is a “must-visit” during your travel to Guinea. The highest point of Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve is Mount Richard-Molard, which is the highest peak in both Guinea and Ivory Coast, precisely at 1,752 m (5,750 ft).
Despite having picturesque and just beautiful natural surroundings, tourism is not very developed here with the isolation of the park being the main reason. Compared to the other two countries, Guinea is the best country to begin climbing the Nimba, as the Guinean Park Foundation organizes one-day guided hikes with aircraft transfer from Conakry. Which means you can hop on a plane after your travel to Guinea.
I believe it also worth to mention the fact that UNESCO declared Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve a World Heritage site which again highlights the importance of the park to the whole world.
5. Los Islands or as known as Iles de Los
These islands are known primarily for their clear blue beaches and heavily forested interiors and are extremely popular among visitors of Guinea. You can get to the islands by ferries that operate from capital Conakry. Three most important and largest islands are Tamara (Fortoba), Kassa and Roume. Tamara is home to the Lighthouse on Ile Tamara. Interestingly enough, they used to have a prison on the island.
N'Zerekore, which is another way to pronounce the name of the city, is the second-largest town in Guinea by population. In addition, Nzerekore is known for its silversmiths and perfect location just a short drive away from the Foret Classee de Diecke to the south, as well as the Mount Nimba that we have already talked about to the eastern part of Guinea. We should also mention that this rapidly rising city has become a daily receptacle for refugees fleeing war in other southern West African countries.
Another city that you should not miss by any chance while travelling in Guinea is Kindia. Located 135 km from Conakry, Kindia was established in 1905, with the opening of the Conakry-Kankan line. The city has ever since become one of the main agricultural sites in whole Guinea, producing tons of bananas being transported for export to the capital. Head into the tiny provincial low-rise cottage town and a chance to witness the everyday routine of country life in Guinea. This is one of the favourite cities of tourists travelling to Guinea.
8. Massif du Ziama Nature Reserve
The Ziama Massif Biosphere Reserve is famous for being a habitat to more than 1,300 plant species and over 500 animal species. It's wrapped in dark, misty swaths of dabema and bako trees, trampled by snapping crocs and turtle carapaces, and what makes the place this especial is some of the most isolated human tribesmen of Guinea actually living within the borders of the Ziama Massif Biosphere Reserve. The Ziama Massif is part of the ecoregion of Guinean mountain forests, which harbours a distinct flora and fauna from the adjacent lowlands.
9. Guinean Food- the taste of Africa
What is guinea Africa known for? Food! The most common dishes in Guinean include rice and various sauces, and sometimes different types of meat added to it. Traditional dishes such as fou fou, boiled mango, fried plantains, patates, and pumpkin pie are very loved both among tourists and locals. Guinean cuisine has attained some overseas popularity, and there are Guinean restaurants in New York City, USA. Restaurants as San Remo, Restaurant Patisserie le Damier, Le Cedre the favourites of visitors to try some Guinean food.
10. Sandervalia National Museum
While your travel to Conakry, if you want to get to know about the history of the country too then this place is made for you. National Museum of Sandervalia is Guinea's national museum, located in the capital, Conakry. Many rooms are vacant, but it includes a small range of cultural artefacts from different areas of Guinea, as well as colonial-era artefacts and sculptures. A variety of handmade pieces are available for sale.
The museum features a collection of ancient objects from around the world representing various civilizations and ethnicities, as well as pieces from the colonial period. The set was composed of masks and a holy wood. As of 2016, the building was empty with many masks and musical instruments from various parts of Guinea, aside from one room.