Guinea’s landscape is spectacular. The country has some of the world’s few remaining tropical dry forests, and the rainforests that remain in the south are lush and verdant and full of wildlife. The waterfall-rich Fouta Djalon Plateau in the west has breathtaking scenery and some of the best hiking in West Africa. Guinea is not well endowed with beaches, but those it has are superb; and often empty. It's capital, Conarky, while not heavy on the must-sees, has a vibrant nightlife and is safer than most other West African capitals.
Geography is a mistress both cruel and kind to Guinea. Cruel because this country is something of an overlander dead end, very tough to reach from the north and blocked by Côte d’Ivoire’s civil war in the south. And kind because Guinea’s landscape is naturally blessed – hence the bottomless love Guineans have for their country and their mystification and anger that it continues to be among the poorest in the world.
Matching Guinea’s beauty is its vibrant culture. Across the country there’s a strong tradition of music and dance, and visitors have many opportunities to see performances. Also, thanks largely to Sekou Touré’s impassioned defiance of the French, most Guineans are as proud of their nationality as they are of their ethnicity. They have stood together through the difficult decades of independence instead of turning on each other.
Guinea is not as prepared for tourism as some other West African countries, and beyond the capital creature comforts are sparse. You won’t always have to rough it upcountry, but as long as you’re prepared for the possibility, a visit here can be very rewarding.
Guinea destination guides
West Africa: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s West Africa guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip. The following inspirational titles all range across more than one West African country. For travel literature about individual countries, please see the Directory section of each country chapter.
Accra to Freetown
Encounter mountains, beaches and mud roads on this epic West African adventure. Explore Ghana's buzzing capital Accra, walk among tree canopies in Kakum National Park and travel along the stunning Altantic coast to the beaches of Elmina.
Senegal to Ghana
The quintessential West Africa overland trip, this tour from Dakar to Ghana leaves no cultural, natural or historical stone unturned on its eastbound journey across the continent. Very much off-the-beaten-track, this is a fairly physically demanding tour that involves a lot of camping, hiking and trekking – though the bulk of it is undertaken in a comfortable overland truck.