Air

Despite the fact that every town of a reasonable size seems to have an airstrip (and Faranah has a runway that was designed so a Concorde could land there!) there is actually no internal flight network. Nor, indeed, is there a national airline.

Bicycle

Fouta Djalon is an excellent region for mountain biking. Villages are spaced closely enough that lodging and food are seldom a problem. You'll need to be fully equipped with spare parts as you won't find fittings for fancy western-made bicycles anywhere, though most towns have at least one shop that can mend flat tyres and take care of other basics. You're unlikely to find a decent bike for hire.

Outside of the Fouta Djalon the heat can make cycling very trying. The road between Conakry and Mamou is very busy, very pot-holed and would be very scary to cycle on. Conakry itself is a very bicycle unfriendly city.

Boat

Aside from the short hop between Conakry and the Île de Los there are no organised opportunities for travelling by boat. Adventurous souls with their own kayaks could try and paddle down the Niger, which starts its life west of Faranah.

Bus

In Guinea there are no buses per se, but rather share taxis (taxi-brousse).

Car & Motorcycle

If you're driving your own vehicle or a hired vehicle in Guinea, be sure the insurance and registration papers are in perfect order as they will be checked at the police roadblocks many times along the way. All vehicles must carry a warning triangle and police will ask to see this as well. Hiring a car for travel outside of Conakry is usually very expensive (count on US$150 to US$200 per day) and vehicles are hard to come by. One recommended private vehicle owner who rents out a jeep for very reasonable rates is the owner of the website Fouta Decouverte (www.foutadecouverte.over-blog.com).

Road Conditions

The main road in the country is the one leading from Conakry to Mamou, but although it's sealed all the way it's so appallingly pot-holed and bumpy that you quickly come to the conclusion that you'd rather it wasn't sealed at all. The Mamou to Labé road is better, but not by much.

Elsewhere, a recent spate of road construction means that many main roads are actually pretty good. An exception to this is the Kissidougou to N'zérékoré road which at the time of research was half sealed and arguably the best road in the country and half a rutted disaster that is arguably the worst main road in the country. However, work crews were busy sealing the road along its entire length, so expect changes. As well as new roads there are dozens of fancy new service stations going up along all major roads where you can buy fuel and sometimes snacks.

Once you leave the main routes expect the roads to be more akin to walking tracks and frequently impassable after rain. Minor roads don't have petrol stations, but if you get stuck you can sometimes buy fuel by the bottle. Only do this as a last resort, as sometimes the fuel isn't all that it seems!

Hitching

You'll see people waving their hands trying to flag down a vehicle and hitch a ride all the time in Guinea, but they always have to pay for the ride – as will you.

Hitching is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travellers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk.

Local Transport

Taxi-Brousse

Normally a battered Peugeot 505 that looks as if a tank has driven over it, these vehicles might be smaller than buses but drivers generally attempt to cram in as many passengers as a bus would take anyway. Whereas in most of West Africa taxis carry seven passengers, here in Guinea they squeeze in nine and then, for good measure, stick a few more on top of the mountain of luggage strapped to the roof. Comfortable, safe and reliable they absolutely are not, but in the right frame of mind they could be described as an 'experience'.

Expect at least one breakdown on even the shortest journey, meaning that any travel times the driver (or we) might give are purely indications on what it should take in an ideal, breakdown and delay-free world. Guinean drivers are extreme risk takers, placing their lives and the lives of their passengers completely in the hands of God, tempting Him with racing in rusty vehicles and overtaking manoeuvres on blind corners. The saving grace is that many times the road is so rutted and torn that drivers cannot go too fast.

Taxis leave when they're full, and most people travel in the morning. You'll always have the quickest getaway around 7am to 8am.

Fares can fluctuate depending on both current fuel prices and demand along that route on any given day. It can also be more expensive if there's a lot of uphill driving to be done as that uses more fuel.

Train

There was once, long, long ago, a functioning train service in Guinea and you'll sometimes spot parts of the overgrown line as you travel around. Today there is no operating train service.