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Why you should go to Guinea

We are used to seeing Africa south of the Sahara as one big country with black people with pierced noses, lions, giraffes, and rhinoceroses.

We are frightened of Africa since childhood, very few Americans dare to go to Kenya or Tanzania only to admire the wild animals and villages of exotic tribes by day and return to a comfortable hotel with a European dinner in the evening.

But Africa is very different. East and South Africa are well established international tourism, but the West is known to travelers much less. I will talk about one of the countries of West Africa - the Republic of Guinea.

There are four Guinea countries in the world, one of which is an island in the Pacific Ocean (New Guinea), and the other three are in West Africa. They are Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and just Guinea (or Guinea-Conakry), which is what we will talk about. If you need visa to Guinea  fast, our team at Travel Visa Express Inc. will arrange it for you at the best possible price and always on time. More info

The Republic of Guinea is one of the poorest countries in West Africa, although, incidentally, it is home to a third of the world's reserves of bauxite, or aluminum ore.

This country can attract those who appreciate not the perfectly polished tourist trails and ready-made vacation packages, but the most real adventure and improvisation. It's a trip for those who are willing to constantly challenge themselves.
Can you drive 800 kilometers on a dusty road, sitting four people in the back seat of an old Renault that had a broken speedometer long ago? Can you swallow a fried grasshopper? How many peppers in palm oil and peanut butter sauce can your stomach handle? How many liters of water can you carry on your head? What if you took your hands off?

Would you have the guts to walk across a thin bridge of lianas suspended over a deep tropical river that might have crocodiles in it? How will you chase away a poisonous snake if it wants to crawl into your closet? Do you have the strength to hike 20 kilometers in one day to see a mountain waterfall? Finally, can you manage without toilet paper?

Many people are afraid to go to Africa because they think it's not safe. Indeed, when I first flew to Guinea in 2008, the first thing I came across at the airport in Conakry was a flyer with pictures of missing Europeans. I thought I would never get bored here, but it turned out that Guinea is actually a lot safer than you might think.

The first time I came to Guinea was when I was a student. My classmate and my supervisor and I went there to study exotic Guinean languages. There are a lot of them, about thirty! We stayed at the Catholic mission in Nzérékoré, a small town on the border between Guinea, Liberia, and Ivory Coast.

We ate rice (the main local dish), peanut pasta and pineapple every day, learned a lot of language, learned to speak French with an African accent and to bargain at the local market, and constantly rode motorcycle cabs.

One day my colleague and I, two pretty young girls, were walking down the street and some local guys came up to us to meet them. We said we had other plans, and asked them to step aside. And the guys just walked away!
That time we lived in Guinea for two months, and in all that time no one tried to eat us or at least steal us.

10 tips in case you do go to Guinea

1. Don't forget to get vaccinated against yellow fever (mandatory for entry). Optional vaccinations include typhoid and hepatitis A.

2. There is no vaccine against malaria. You can take prophylactic drugs, but they have very unpleasant side effects.

3. I recommend going to Guinea in December or January - it's not as hot and it doesn't rain at the same time.

4. There is no car rental service in Guinea yet - but you can find a chauffeur who will take you anywhere with his car, including between cities.

5. International health insurance makes little sense in Guinea - it's better to have money with you in case you need medical help.

6. You should take a supply of medication with you, including broad-spectrum antibiotics. There are many pharmacies in every town in Guinea, but they often sell fakes. But you can buy medicine for malaria in case you need it.

7. Although Africa is home to the omicron coronavirus strain, official statistics for covid in Guinea are very low, and I have not heard of people getting sick en masse. There is no need to fear Covid-19 in Guinea.

8. There are many good hotels in Conakry (the capital of Guinea), but few people like the city itself, even among Guineans themselves. Hire a driver and drive inland, it has a better climate and is much more beautiful. Be sure to take a boat and raft to the Los Islands, where the beaches are truly paradise.

9. Do not be afraid to eat in the streets! This is the only way to taste authentic Guinean food. By the way, traditionally in Africa you eat with your hands.

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