Conakry is the capital of Guinea and the economic, commercial and trade center for the area.
Flights from Europe are available daily from Paris with Air France and three times a week from Brussels with Brussels Airlines. Most West African cities are connected by local airlines, Casablanca and Dakar have several daily flights and have excellent further connections.
Situated on a peninsula, Conakry is thin and long. Although many tourist sites are situated in the old centre on Tombo Island at the very end of the peninsula, distances can be long. Taxis are the best option for tourists.
A popular way of traveling for locals is the Conakry Express, a commuter train that runs the length of the city. Generally not recommended for tourists it can still be an interesting way of experiencing daily life.
The street numbering scheme of Conakry labels all roads with a two-letter code for the urban district, followed by a three digit number: odd for north-south streets and even for east-west, e.g. KA002 for a northbound street in the Kaloum district.
- 1 Conakry Grand Mosque. Built by Guinea's first president Ahmed Sékou Touré in 1982 and is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.
- 2 Guinea National Museum. Established shortly after independence in 1960. It contains displays of the ethnography and prehistory of Guinea, and has a considerable collection of masks and fetishes and a range of art.
- 3 Conakry Botanical Garden. Noted for its kapok-trees
- 4 Monument du 22 Novembre 1970. Commemorates the victory over the attempted coup led by Portuguese troops in 1970, named Operation Green Sea.
- 5 Palace of the People (Palais du Peuple).
- Soumba waterfalls (Two hour drive out of the city a short distance past Dubreka). Have a swim to work up an appetite. There is also a restaurant to enjoy a nice meal with the roar of the water in the background.
Visiting the nearby Îles de Los (Loose Islands) with nice beaches and dense forests is a popular getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Boats leave from the fish market behind the Novotel Hotel.
There are several large markets in Conakry
- Jardin de Chine. Very safe bet with good food and quaint atmosphere.
- Mouna Internet Cafe. Has very nice croissants for "on the run" snack.
- 1 Le Cedre, 6th Ave. This Lebanese restaurant is a bit hard to find (near Mouna Internet) but has nice food.
The nightlife starts quite late - just past midnight.
- Timi's. Good venue, small but alive.
- 1 Le Loft. Quieter and can be visited early in the night for a good vibe.
- 1 Maison d'Accueil (close to stade de la Mission), ☏ . Simple but clean rooms at the Conakry Catholic mission. 13€.
- 2 Grand Hotel de l'Independance, BP 287 2nd Ave, ☏ . Located at the very tip Kaloum Peninsula and offering great views, this modernist hotel was built by the French colonial administration in 1954. Today it is a somewhat run-down hotel with pool, dining room, bar and decent rooms.
- 3 Residence Schaka, Ratoma, ☏ . Nice and clean alternative to the big hotels.
Over the past two decades, significant growth in the city has led to overwhelming population density and infrastructure problems. Elections in 2010 led to protests and violent clashes between Guinea’s citizens and the military. According to the U.S. Department of State, the worst is over, but “there is residual potential for violence.” The State Department further warns that “While not specifically targeted, U.S. citizens have been victimized in the past. Motorists traveling outside of Conakry have encountered improvised checkpoint-barricades manned by persons in military uniforms who demand money and search through personal belongings, confiscating items of value.”
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Take a taxi to Bambeto gare and plan to arrive around 06:00 to avail of the first car to Freetown. A seat costs 130,000 GNF as of July 2019. Buying 2 seats automatically gives you first dibs on the front passenger seat (unless it is a minibus where you can comfortably sit in front just for paying a seat). The travel time takes about as short as 5 hours depending on military checkpoint stops and border crossing. Plan your travel dates accordingly as the border to Sierra Leone is closed until 12:00 every last Saturday of the month for clean up day in Sierra Leone. During this time, all vehicles usually stop in Pamalap, Guinea. You may notice other passengers leaving their respective taxis and riding moto taxis to cross the border to the border town of Kambia, Sierra Leone for food. Don’t be surprised if many of your fellow passengers are nowhere to be found. They are already waiting on the other side.