What You Need To Know
Conakry is the capital and largest city of Guinea. Conakry is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea. Originally situated on Tombo Island, one of the Îles de Los, it has since spread up the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula.
Conakry is an undeniably pulsating place: colourful, spontaneous, friendly, musical, a little wild, and always full of contrast. The city’s vibrancy and openness come from a very African flavour. These more subtle charms are likely to grow on you with time and many people end up loving the city by the time they leave. It’s tailor-made for a (long) weekend blast.
- The Guinea Franc is the official currency of Guinea, The first Guinea Franc was introduced in 1959 to replace the CFA Franc BCEAO. The Guinea Franc denominations included 1, 5, 10 and 25 coins (aluminum bronze) with banknotes in 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 franc denominations.
These denominations have been maintained, with the addition of a 50 franc coin (1994) and phasing out of the corresponding 50 franc note.
The climate is tropical and humid with a wet and a dry season. Guinea is one of the wettest countries in West Africa. The monsoon season with a southwesterly wind lasts from June to November; The dry season with a northeasterly harmattan lasts from December to May.
Tropical wear, lightweight and natural fabrics throughout the year. A light raincoat or umbrella is needed during the rainy season.
Unlike much of West Africa, Conakry’s wet season sees an extraordinary amount of precipitation, averaging more than 1,100 mm both in July and August. As a result, Conakry averages nearly 3,800 mm (149 in.) of precipitation per year.
French is the official language of Guinea and the national languages are Fula, Malinké, Susu, Kissi, Kpelle, and Toma. Overall there are more than 40 languages spoken in Guinea.
Health and security
- Guinea has experienced a Cholera epidemic, an Ebola epidemic and an increase in cases of Typhoid. For travelers or temporary residents, malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended. Yellow fever vaccine is required for entry into the country of Guinea and must be renewed every 10 years. Quadrivalent Meningococcal vaccine is required every 3 years, typhoid immunization, oral or injectable, and Hepatitis A vaccinations are highly recommended. The rabies vaccine is also recommended due to the prevalence of rabies in West Africa.
- Health facilities are very limited and are considered adequate only for stabilization and emergency care. Hospitals suffer from inadequate facilities, outdated equipment, and shortages of supplies/medications. Facilities may require a cash deposit (depending on the type of medical condition) before admittance and forbid medical release until all accrued charges are paid. After two years of the Ebola outbreak, there is a shortage of qualified physicians and other medical personnel. Emergency assistance is also limited. Some clinics have ambulance services, but these are limited and unreliable. Emergency transportation usually requires independent and creative solutions. Psychiatric services and medications are very limited. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines and a doctor’s note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is recommended. Pharmaceuticals are available, but authenticity/quality cannot be guaranteed.
- Residential break-ins, burglaries, and other opportunistic crime are not uncommon. Several well-secured and protected homes were broken into in 2015. Petty theft from secured hotel rooms also occurred. Violence is not a common component to these opportunistic crimes. Reports of purse snatching and smash-and-grabs from both occupied and unoccupied vehicles are rare, but several reports were registered with the Regional Security Officer in 2015.
- Always ask permission for photos of individuals! Especially in cities. Do not photograph mosques, official government buildings, or military police.
- As far as traditions or customs – one thing they do constantly in a very friendly manner is greet you over and over again. It is rude to pass someone without greeting and shaking their hands. You may also expected to bring small gifts and your friend can tell you what to bring.
- Make sure any taxi you get into has working doors and a complete exhaust pipe and that the windows go up. If you encounter a roadblock, do not give up your passport.
- Iles des Jois: A great place to grab dinner and the staff here is very friendly. The food is a mix of French and local and the price is good. There is also a nice bit of outdoor seating.
- Grande Mosque : It might not be as impressive as the Sahel-style mosques like that in Djenne, Mali, but it still is a beautiful building and worth a look.