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Everything you need to know about Guinea

by Juan José Herranz | February 15, 2021
palm tree at sunset in Guinea all to know about guinea

The Republic of Guinea is a country located on the western coast of Africa with a land area of 245,861 square kilometers. People also identify it as Guinea-Conakry to avoid confusion with its neighbor Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa.

The country has a population estimated to be 12.77 million as of 2019. The official currency used is known as Guinean Franc. Here are some general facts about Guinea that you need to know.

Where is Guinea?

Guinea map

Guinea is located in the northwest of Africa. Guinea's area is 245.857 km², which makes it the 77th largest country in the world.

It shares its borders with:

  • Guinea-Bissau to the west
  • Senegal to the northwest
  • Mali to the north
  • Ivory Coast to the east
  • Liberia to the south
  • Sierra Leone to the south

A Brief History of Guinea

Guinea was a colony under French rule before it gained independence on October 2, 1958. Thereafter, it identified itself as the Republic of Guinea instead of French Guinea. Sekou Toure was the first president to serve the state after independence. He held the governing power of the country for the next 26 years until 1989.

Another significant event that occurred in Guinea was the military coup that took place in 2008.

Conakry, the capital of Guinea

The capital of Guinea is Conakry, which is also the largest city in the country. It houses a population of nearly 1.6 million. For tourists, it’s the most comfortable and safest place to stay in Guinea.

You will find a good share of restaurants, shopping centers, night clubs and bars here. Although they don’t offer a lavish experience, you would still find Conakry very pleasing. Compared to other areas, transportation in Conakry is also good.

road between trees Guinea

Main Languages Spoken in Guinea

The official language of Guinea is French. Many of the native languages such as Fula, Malinké, Loma, Kpelle, Kissi, and Susu are recognized as national languages as well. Guinea is a highly multilingual country with nearly 40 languages spoken by different ethnicities.

Climate of Guinea

Guinea experiences a tropical climate with high temperature and humidity levels. The temperature ranges from 29°C- 23°C. Overall, Guinea’s weather conditions can be divided into two main seasons such as wet and dry.

The wet season goes from June to November, with frequent rainfall and windy conditions. In fact, Guinea is known as one of the wettest countries in West Africa. The dry season is from December to May, with April being the hottest month of the year. The best time to visit Guinea is from November to December when the weather is mild.

Guinea Flag

The flag of Guinea consists of 3 vertical stripes of red, yellow, and green, resembling sacrifice of labor, justice and solidarity respectively. Ghana’s flag also has the same three colors displayed horizontally in their flag! The design of Guinea’s flag is similar to that of France, their former ruler, but with different colors.

Time Zone in Guinea

Guinea belongs to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone, and it doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time (DST). It would be helpful to keep these in mind when you convert Guinea’s time to another country’s time.

Geography of Guinea

The south of Guinea is bordered by Sierra Leone and Liberia, the east by Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, and the north by Senegal and Guinea Bissau. The west of Guinea faces the Atlantic Ocean.

Guinea can be segmented into four major geographical regions known as Lower Guinea (coastal region), Fouta Djallon (mountainous region), Upper Guinea (Niger Plains), and Guinea Highlands (forest region). Many rivers of Western Africa, including Gambia, Niger, and Senegal, originate from Guinea.

Wildlife in Guinea

As a geographically diverse country, Guinea is home to a variety of wildlife. It is home to many endangered and vulnerable animals such as the chimpanzee, Diana monkey, African elephant, Liberian mongoose and African Golden Cat.

Its forest region is a renowned spot for endemic bird watching, while the coastal region of Guinea is popular for whale watching.

People and Culture of Guinea

Guinea is a multi-ethnic country consisting of 24 ethnicities. Out of them, Fulani, Malinké and Soussou communities dominate the population. They make up nearly 80% of the population, while the rest consists of small indigenous groups. When it comes to composition by religion, 85% of people are Muslims. The rest consists of Christians, animists, and other groups.

Although the majority adheres to Islamic beliefs and practices, there are distinct differences between customs, cultural activities, and traditions between different ethnic communities within the country. Guinean culture also gives a lot of priority to folk music and use different instruments in their local celebrations.

Economy of Guinea

Guinea is one of the low-income countries in the world, and its economy is primarily dependent on agriculture. Although Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is abundant in natural resources. Its home to the largest bauxite reserve in the world and is also rich in other minerals such as gold, iron, and diamond. Guinea’s primary exports are gold and aluminum ore. Moreover, it has been identified as one of the countries with high hydropower potential in Africa due to its abundance of rivers.

sunset in a field in Guinea

Transportation Options in Guinea

Getting around Guinea, especially in rural areas, is very difficult. The primary mode of transportation in Guinea is Taxi. There are bush taxis, van taxis, and motor taxis that you can hire for both short and long distances. They are not expensive, but they are not extremely comfortable and well-maintained either.

You also have the option of renting your car but since navigation in the country is quite difficult, it’s not an advisable choice.

Although there are railroads and a few bus stations, the service is almost non-existent. Airports operate quite well, and some areas of Guinea are accessible by ferry rides as well.

Is Guinea Safe for Travellers?

Travellers who visit Guinea are generally advised to be very cautious of their safety and their belongings, especially in rural parts of the country. Guinea is infamous for its corruption, crime, and theft rates.

While the security forces provide the best possible protection to visitors, caution on your part is a necessary precaution. Be more vigilant when you are in places frequented by tourists like airports, hotels, and restaurants.

It’s always better to avoid seeking help from unknown people, so we recommend you book a tour guide beforehand.