Guinea, also known as Guinea Conakry to distinguish it from Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea, was once a French colony and was formerly called French Guinea. Known for its vast gold reserves (hence the name guinea for gold coins), it is a small nation near the coast of West Africa.
The natural wonders you can find here range from equatorial rainforests to the highlands of Fouta Djallon. The beaches are unspoiled because the number of tourists has waned, and you could enjoy a perfect holiday on a shoestring budget. As you’re planning your itinerary, make sure to buy
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
as financial protection against unexpected accidents, injuries, or illnesses.
Things to Do for Travelers in Guinea
There is one thing you’ll love about Guinea: the cheerful disposition of the locals.
They have been through outbreaks of Ebola and malaria and endured civil strife lasting decades, but they have not forgotten how to smile. If you wish to reinvigorate yourself after a tough year at the office, this is possibly the best place you could find. Their boundless optimism is bound to rub off and make you feel whole again.
Stroll through Conakry: Conakry, the largest city and capital of Guinea, is a port city. Conakry has the typical charisma of an African city. It is constantly pulsing with life and dotted with colorful markets that have cropped up here and there. The most noteworthy market is the Madina Bazaar, where you can haggle for souvenirs. Do visit the Sandervalia National Museum, which displays a variety of artifacts from the region's eventful history. The botanical gardens are also impressive with their numerous Kapok trees.
Visit the magical waterfalls at Salazie: About a hundred miles outside Conakry is the small town of Salazie. Just outside it, the River Sabende plunges over tall cliffs into a gorge below, creating waterfalls known as Le Voile de la Mariee. Though many tourists prefer to watch this magnificent sight from the base, Château d'Eau, it is well worth it to hike up the cliff to more suitable vantage points. Two footbridges offer an excellent view of the entire landscape.
Explore the Kakimbon Caves: Located close to Ratoma village, the vast Kakimbon Caves have great religious significance for the local Baga tribe. Many legends surround these mysterious caves. With the help of a local guide, you can hike around the caves, explore the larger ones, and learn about their archaeological significance. Most of the caves are covered with large trees and dense foliage and appear quite spooky - the perfect place for an unusual adventure.
Visit the National Park Haut Niger: Located in the Upper Niger area, the national park covers almost 560 square kilometers (about 216 square miles). You can find several rare species here, such as the giant pangolin and African savanna hare. There are also many varieties of primates, including chimpanzees. The dry forest you’ll find here is a stark contrast to the rainforests throughout the rest of the country. If you like the wild outdoors and are a fan of wildlife, this is undoubtedly a place you will remember for a long while.
Relax at Îles de Los: A tiny archipelago just off the capital, Îles de Los is a tourist favorite. Golden sand and the crash of waves keep you constant company. Îles de Roume is the most well-known beach, followed by Kassa. It is worthwhile to charter a boat and explore the coastline of the Tamara and Roume islands. Its chief attraction is the lack of urban sprawl you find at busier destinations. Pack a lunch basket, carry a bottle of wine, and spend time at a lonely cove unwinding from the usual humdrum.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Guinea
If only vacations were always delightful. They usually are, but at times they can turn severe. You might be lazing at a beach when a sudden bout of malaria makes you shiver endlessly for a week. It is stressful because you are in a new country far away from the conveniences you are used to. Travel to Guinea is not dangerous, but there are risks involved you should know about.
Burglary is common in Conakry and Faranah, the two major cities of Guinea. Though the local police try to rein in the wrong elements, they are woefully short of workforce. Be careful about your choice of hotels and activities.
The region's politics are uncertain, as control of the country has passed from one dictator to another for several years. Do not become involved in local issues. There is a lack of foreign embassies, and being detained means spending a long time behind bars before you can get legal help.
Dracunculiasis, or Guinea worm disease, is possible if you drink water from unsanitary sources. It is a parasite that travels to the leg and causes painful lesions. Be sure to carry ample bottled water when you visit a place away from the capital.
Guinea was an epicenter of the recent Ebola outbreak. Though the country was declared disease-free in 2015, sporadic incidents continue to occur. If you are affected by this deadly disease, not only is treatment difficult, but your evacuation to another country is also a matter of concern.
River Blindness, also known as Onchocerciasis, is prevalent in the upper reaches of the Niger. Transmitted by black flies that are found near river banks, it may result in blindness. Wear full-sleeved clothes and carry adequate medications to prevent infection.
Guinea Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Guinea is a delightful destination. The place and the people have much to offer you. But the nation is also a hotbed of various deadly tropical diseases. These are life-threatening and can cause severe impairment even if you survive. There is no public healthcare system worth speaking of, and if you were to fall ill, evacuation to Europe or South Africa would be expensive.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Guinea?
There is no mandatory requirement of travel medical insurance before you travel to Guinea. However, the risks posed warrant buying adequate insurance before your trip.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Guinea?
A trip to the national park to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat can turn into a calamity if you are struck by river blindness. Elephantiasis, Ebola, malaria, dengue—the list of illnesses found here is as long as your arm. There is not only a lack of public healthcare but also private clinics and hospitals. You definitely need to buy travel medical insurance before you arrive at Conakry.
Guinea Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
You were waiting for a tomorrow that would find you at a beach in West Africa; instead, you wind up at the bedside of a loved one at home. Cancelling a vacation is tragic, but it does occur all too often. Not only is there frustration, but financial loss, as well.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Guinea?
Trip cancellation insurance can't take away the sadness of not being able to go on vacation. But it surely can help reimburse for all the nonrefundable payments you have already made for hotels and flights. Guinea vacation insurance provides you with a payout and allows you to give the trip another try further down the road. You’re eligible for benefits if you have to cancel your trip for one of the reasons explicitly listed in your policy’s certificate wording. Be sure to read the fine print to know what situations are (and aren’t) covered before you purchase.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Guinea?
Trip cancellation insurance policies are quite helpful since they tend to cover all the significant reasons for a trip to fall apart. From death and illness in the family to inclement weather and political unrest – it is likely that you’ll receive coverage for all these possibilities. Again, read your policy to be sure. Buy travel insurance so that there is no financial loss if you can't go on vacation at the last minute.
Before You Travel to Guinea - Do This
Enjoy your time in Guinea, and unwind from your hectic life back home. But always remember to adhere to these tips:
- Maintain your travel documents such as passport and visa in a separate bag. Either carry it with you or leave it in a safe, secure place.
- Be careful that you do not take unwarranted risks. It is better to be safe than sorry in a foreign land.
- At all times, buy adequate travel insurance coverage to protect you and your loved ones in case of an emergency. Compare plans and select the one that best fits your needs and circumstances.