Guinea trip report
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jul 23, 2012 9:45 AM Last Post By: saigon5100
Feb 2, 2012 12:37 PM
Guinea trip reportHi everyone,
I'm in Conakry and as I've seen almost no tourists in Guinea I thought I'd share some information:
- Road trip from Bissau to Labe easy to do but not particularly comfortable, see my post in the Guinea-Bissau section
- In Labe I stayed at the Auberge la Campagne. 100,000 GF, the room was large, pretty dark, and not particularly clean. Electricity is backed up by solar power and there is 24 h hot water, now idea how they do that. The guy running the place was the unfriendliest person I've met in the whole of Guinea.
- Had an acceptable pizza at Hotel Tata, the lady running the place is really lovely and a good source of information.
- If you're craving fresh veggies, the market is a great place to stock up. Oh and the locally made peanut butter is yummy.
- Took a moto-taxi to the Chutes de Saala, they are quite impressive
- After waiting 2 hours for a taxi brousse to fill up for Labe, I realized that Guinea isn't Senegal and that this was a stupid idea. So I found a moto-taxi with a rack to take me to Pita (35000 GF). I have a 75 liter backpack that ways around 20 kilos and it was no problem to transport as the road is very good. To my utmost surprise, the guy from the syndicat selling the tickets actually gave me my money for the ticket back without me even having asked (yet)!
- In Pita, I stayed at Chez Sister. Normal price is 200,000 but you may discuss. Rooms are great with huge beds, hot water bathroom, TVs in the room. Mariam ('Sister') is great, she speaks very good English and is very nice. Her Scottish husband also lives at the place during the dry season and has lots of really interesting stories to tell. They are both absolutely lovely and helpful.
- Took a motorbike taxi to the Chutes du Kinkon (they are quite nice) and then to the Chutes de Kambadaga. Those were stunning. There are actually 4 falls and you can go to the base and top of the 1st falls, to the top of the 2nd falls, to a viewpoint of the 2nd falls, you can catch glimpses of the 3rd falls, and you get a great view over the canyon and the 4th falls from an escarpment. There used to be a track to the 3rd falls but it is now largely overgrown and I gave up after getting completely scratched walking through the brousse.
- Took the same moto-taxi guy to take me to Doucki where I arrived at lunch time.
- Did an afternoon trek with Hassan's brother, the Grand Canyon lookout and Indiana Jones (great!).
- The next day I did the Chutes 'n' Ladders trek with Hassan, passing the Hyena rock and the Bob Marley stage. This was really beautiful, an amazing hike.
- I found Hassan to be a much better and more professional guide than his brother Abdulrahim. They both grew up in Sierra Leone so speak fluent English. Hassan also speaks very good Spanish though his English vocabulary is better.
- The room at the campement is very basic, no windows, not overly clean, there is no electricity. Food was very good indeed, some of the best I had in Guinea. It was also very plentiful.
- I paid 300,000 for the trekking, one night, two lunches, two dinners, and breakfast for me and my driver. Regular price is 200,000 per day all in.
- I was very glad that I had agreed with my driver that he would stay overnight in Doucki and take me back the next day as transport is very scarce unless you go on Wednesday or Saturday which are market days. The junction from where it's 2 km to the campement is a dusty place in the middle of nowhere and I wouldn't have enjoyed sitting around there for hours waiting for transport.
- Went from Doucki to Pita, picked up my big back and then continued with my moto-taxi driver to Dalaba
- Stayed at the SIB Hotel du Fouta which I loved. Do yourself a favor and pay 20,000 extra for a room with a view (160,000 including a good breakfast), it's amazing. The room was clean, comfortable bed, hot water, electricity backed up my generator.
- Had dinner there once, a pricey 50,000 for chicken and chips, the food is always the same. Drinks are really expensive. The second evening I had dinner at a more local restaurant (lots of locals, no foreigners) at an Auberge something which is 5-10 minutes walk from SIB. Turn left after the "Bar de la Jeuness" and walk up the hill. They had decent food and great salad plus cool (not cold...) beer for very attractive prices.
- The Villa Sili and Case a Palabres are quite nice and worth a visit
- I did NOT go to the Chutes de Dittin as I had originally planned. While walking to town the tourist information guy mentioned in LP bumped into me (he had an official ID), we talked a bit and he strongly advised me not to go to Chutes de Dittin because of safety issues as tourists had been assaulted there recently. As he was also trying to sell me on going on a tour with him I didn't really believe him so after parting with him went to the gendarmerie. They confirmed his story, there have in fact been armed attacks in December and the policeman advised me not to go. The falls are 5 kilometers from the village, there is nobody there, there is not mobile phone network coverage. Local bandits are taking advantage of this. Probably tourists go there and return unharmed but I decided not to take the risk, especially as I'm traveling alone and carry a fairly expensive camera that I don't really want to lose.
- Took the first taxi brousse from Dalaba to Conakry, it left at around 9. Trip was hell, driver was a madman even the locals in the car kept complaining. Car broke down dozens of times. Very aggressive military checkpoint 60 kms from Conakry, our aggressive couldn't behave and ended up paying them 5000 after around 15 minutes of delay. They took down my passport details for their log book and wanted 5000 for the 'registration service', I told them that the service should be free, the guy then said 'donnez-moi pour manger'. Having witnessed the very aggressive stance of the soldiers towards the driver I gave him 2000, he said 'merci' and off we went. This is the only cadeau I gave to officials during 9 days in Guinea.
- Conakry locked in traffic jam. After 10 hours finally arrived at the Catholic Mission. Amazingly, rooms are still a real bargain at 75,000. They are basic but acceptable.
- Locals and other foreigners I met all told me that Conakry is a shithole. I agree.
- Got stopped on the road by two uniformed blokes who said they were doing an immigration check and wanted to see my passport. Told them I was staying at the Catholic Mission, just 10 minutes walk away, and that my passport was there (which was a lie, passport was in my money belt). I'd be happy to walk with them to the hotel to get it. They then asked how long I'd been in Guinea, I said around a week, they said it's ok and let me go.
- Took a public pirogue (3000 GF) to Ile de Kassa. They leave frequently from the harbor. The island is quite nice, people are incredibly friendly. There are some beaches that would be nice if they weren't covered with trash. They don't seem to get many foreigners here, the kids were really exited and kept calling 'fote, fote' (white guy) wherever I walked. Some small children even started crying when they saw me, frightened by the sight of a white man.
Hope somebody finds this helpful.
Feb 2, 2012 3:29 PM
1Aki, this certainly is a fantastic report, many thanks indeed for making the effort to write all of this up. Up to date information for Guinea is never that easy to get hold of, so this is really good. Many thanks.
Feb 2, 2012 3:44 PM
2Aki, I believe this was very recent; however, the harmattan when I was in Guinea was horrendous & in Dalaba I ate at the SIB & couldn't see a thing. I'm just back from Ghana where the harmattan was also horrendous this year.
How 'clear' was the viewing? When were you there exactly? The harmattan was starting to clear as I left Ghana 10 days ago - would be interested to hear
Thanks, you brought back great memories
Feb 7, 2012 9:07 AM
I wrote that report from Conakry so the day after having left from Dalaba, i.e. I was in Dalaba 31/1 - 1/2. The view was really amazing, very clear.
Feb 8, 2012 1:13 PM
Feb 8, 2012 1:55 PM
Feb 9, 2012 12:05 PM
6@goran71: If I manage to find my Guinea SIM card I have his number on it. You could also just ask at Chez Sister, I told the driver to leave his number with them (not sure if he did). He lives very near the hotel in a small house behind a shop that sells petrol and repairs motorbikes (he invited me for lunch).
Apr 15, 2012 8:17 AM
7I am currently living in Conakry as an expat so if there is anything anyone wants to know send me a msg, i have been here since 29th March, its ok, gets a bit of getting used to but i can honestly say i am getting used to it now, i have started a blog my main advice to anyone is carry your passport on you at all times a photo copy is not accepted anymore, i got detained at the police stn for over 3 hours but could have been worse, traffic is chaos, there is nothing that you cannot buy here. Good lebanese restaurant called Le Cendre, there aren't really tourists here but plenty of expats. If you want to read my blog send me a msg and i will give you the link, i did a lot of research before i moved here and it was everything i had expected, the beggars banging on your car windows are hard to deal with at times
Edited by: angnev62
Edited by: angnev62
Apr 19, 2012 1:57 AM
8Yes very useful!
Labe wasn't impressive at all, like you said it. My boyfriend and I left Auberge la Campagne after one night and went to Dalaba.
I arrived at SIB Hotel du Fouta over Easter weekend. Yes the view from the window was indeed great! But i wish they had installed mosquito netting. And the dinners at Auberge Seydi II was indeed great too! And the guy from Togo prepared a nice fish dinner with carrot and tapioca as we asked in advanced.
Apr 20, 2012 6:53 AM
9Hi. I'm looking for advice on getting from Freetown to Dakar by road (end of May). Would you recommend going through Guinea Bissau or is it best avoided (recent UK Foreign Office reports advise against non-essential travel)? And how easy would it be to a) make the trip without crossing into Guinea Bissau; b) go through Guinea Bissau? Or is flying the best option? All comments welcome.
Apr 20, 2012 7:59 AM
10Your 'best' bet at the moment is to cross into Guinea from Senegal south out of Tambacounda to Koundara & onto Labe, Conakry & then the border ... it will probably take you four days & that would be possibly pushing it if you're going to do it in the rains.
You could fly, not sure who's doing the route, it seems (as predicted) that Senegal Airlines are about to collapse! Now that the UN have been told not to use them, finally people are heeding caution ... The fare to Freetown won't be cheap either, expect about 300euros+ one way!
Apr 21, 2012 1:05 AM
I did the overland crossing from Ziguinzhor to Guinea Bissau to Guinea to Freetown (Sierra Leone) in bush taxi over Easter this April 2012. But I flew from Freetown to Dakar via Arikair. Its US$182 before tax. You can book through their website. I had an early morning flight at 1035am and reached Dakar at 1305pm with a stopover. It saved me alot of time though it's interesting that you have to get a ferry to go airport at 7am and that cost me 180000 guinea francs (Eu$20)
Whether you could/ should go through Guinea-Bissau? hmm...nobody knows what's going on in Guinea-Bissau at this moment ( i was hosted by a french NGO, and she said it's fine last week, and there was no call to evacuate the foreigners).
hope this helps,
Apr 22, 2012 12:05 PM
Jul 23, 2012 9:45 AM
13Went to Labe from Kedougu in Senegal in July. Warning - rough, rough route. Best to do on motorbike, but even then it is pretty tough going. It took about 10 hours in th erainy season. Had to get off the bike and trek up the mountains a couple times.In Labe , I discovered a new cafe-resto called Pitstop. It is near Ecobank and opposite the side of the Bank Sahel (BSIC) in the center of town. The owner is Ibrahima and he is so welcoming and makes the best salads ever. He spent some time in Italy before coming back to Labe. Pitstop is clean and there are chairs and tables outside, soit is a good place to sit and watch life go by. I think it's only been around 2 months.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$90.50 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$216.42 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$198.95 per night