Explore the

Source of West Africa

Where West Africa begins

What is now The Republic of Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires many centuries ago. Guinea’s ancient and rich culture is layered and is the birthplace of several ethnic groups that reside in the West African region. Roughly the size of the United Kingdom, our nation shares borders with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Over one-half of West Africa’s principal rivers rise either in the Fouta Djallon or the Forest Highlands.

The

Key attractions

Guinea is replete with unexplored wonders, from dry rainforests to diverse wildlife, breathtaking mountains to vast oceans. The country is home to several indigenous and modern attractions aside from its natural assets and resources.

Conakry

The Guinean capital of Conakry is a vibrant city to explore. It is the centre for the local economy and has a mix of interesting attractions such as the Conakry Botanical Garden, the Conakry Grand Mosque, the local market for shopping at nightlife at the Taouyah neighbourhood.

Fouta Djalon Plateau

A highland region in Middle Guinea, the plateau of Fouta Djalon is known for its towering waterfalls and mountains, as well as local villages where ancient cultures are still alive.

Mali-Ville

This market town is located at the foot of Mount Loura, making it an excellent base for excursions to the renowned rock face known as “La Dame du Mali,” a rock formation shaped by nature that looks like a woman’s head.

Labe

The ancient capital of Labe is a former seat of the old Fouta Empire during the pre-colonial era. Here’s where some of the best sources of traditional Guinean cloth is available.

Mount Nimba Nature Reserve

Divided between Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea, this UNESCO World Heritage site boasts a geographically and wildlife-rich area over 200 endemic species. Take a hike up the Nimba Mountains for a unique experience.

Forest of Ziama

This virgin forest is one of the last remaining in Guinea and the rest of West Africa. It is a refuge for Guinean elephants, chimpanzees and is home to more than 1,300 species of plants and more than 500 species of animals.

Vine Bridges

Situated on the River Oulé, these vine bridges are among the most interesting examples of indigenous engineering in Guinea. The longest runs between Koladou village and Kissidigou.

Faranah

Guinea’s ‘party town’ is among the interesting places to visit in the country, and is known for its great mosque, dainty villas, markets, and wine boulevards.

Kakimbon Caves

Situated in Ratoma village, a suburb of the capital, this legendary site is rich in history. The caves assume religious significance, especially for the Baga people.

Katikan and Kindia

Katikan is home to a Great Mosque and the Presidential Palace, while Kindia is renowned for its weaving tradition, evident in its bustling cloth market and dyeing center.

Le Voile de la Mariée

The magnificent Le Voile de la Mariée waterfall plunges into the River Sabende at the bottom of a 230-foot rock surrounded by glistening vegetation.

Cape Verga

A beach lover’s paradise, Caper Vegra is a few hours away from Conakry. Cape Verga has some of the best beaches in Guinea with Bel Air and Sobane as two of the most popular.

Iles de Los

Îles de Los are an island group lying off Conakry. With golden sand beaches, palms, and forested interiors, the islands offer excellent swimming, sailing, and snorkeling opportunities.

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Culture

Traditionally a trading and agricultural community, Guinea’s people are peace loving and welcome visitors from across the world. They are warm and hospitable and will go out of their way to make you comfortable.

Population

The total population of Guinea in 2019 was estimated at 12.77 million. 53.8% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 3.3% was 65 years or older.

Religion

More than four-fifths of the population is Muslim, predominantly Sunni. Less than one-tenth of Guineans are Christian, mostly Roman Catholic.

Language

French is the country’s official language. Six indigenous languages have the status of national languages: Pular (or Fula), Maninka, Susu, Kissi, Kpelle and Toma.

Performing arts

Guineans play a wide range of string and percussion instruments, including the ngoni, balafon and the guitar. Folk music is also accompanied by dunun, paired with the djembe (drums). The professional National Guinean Ballet retains the dance and music of the distinct ethnic and regional groups.

Literature

Traditional literature, particularly among the Maninka, is preserved in a body of oral traditions that are remembered and passed down by bards. Authors and academics use the printed word to convey their stories.

Handicrafts

The leatherwork, woodcarving, and jewelry produced in Guinea tend to be more genuinely ethnic than elsewhere in western Africa.

Food

Guinean cuisine includes the traditional dishes of fou fou, boiled mango, fried plantains, fried sweet potato and pumpkin pie. Fonio is a type of millet cultivated widely for consumption. Rice, sorghum, millet, and cassava are common foods. Sauces are made with groundnuts, okra, and tomatoes.

Sport

Guinea’s main sport is soccer with appearances at eight African Nations Cup finals; being runners up in 1976 and making the quarterfinals in both 2004 and 2006.

Art

Guinea has a rich history of art, reflecting cultural traditions and specific regions. The work of the Baga people is highly valued and is held in many Western museums. Animist art is extremely prevalent and have deep oral stories to tell.

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Regions

Guinea is nicknamed West Africa’s “water tower” because it contains the headwaters of a number of the region’s major rivers, including the Senegal, the Gambia and the Niger. Guinea is divided into four natural regions with distinct human, geographic, and climatic characteristics. These are Maritime Guinea, Middle Guinea, Upper Guinea and Forested Guinea.

Maritime Guinea

Maritime Guinea, also known as Lower Guinea, is one of the four natural regions of Guinea. It is located in the west of the country, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Fouta Djallon plateau. Conakry, Guinea’s capital and largest city, is located in the region.

Middle Guinea

Middle Guinea refers to a region in central Guinea, corresponding roughly with the plateau region known as Futa Jalon. It is bounded by Maritime Guinea to the west, Guinea Bissau to the northwest, Senegal to the north, Upper Guinea to the east, and Sierra Leone to the south.

Upper Guinea

Upper Guinea is to the east of Futa Jalon, north of Forest Guinea, and bordering Mali. The region is largely defined by the watersheds of rivers that arise from Fouta Djallon, including the Niger, Senegal, Faleme and others. The population of this region is mainly Malinke.

Forested Guinea

Established in 1000AD by the native people, Forested Guinea is located in the southeastern part of the country and extends into northeastern Sierra Leone. Forested Guinea contains important areas of biological diversity such as the UNESCO World Heritage site Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve and biosphere reserve Ziama Massif.

Climate

The coastal region of Guinea and most of the inland have a tropical climate, with a monsoon season lasting from April to November. There is a dry season (December to May) with northeasterly cool winds from the Western Sahara.

The

History

The land, societies, and cultures that constitute the present-day Republic of Guinea played an important part in the rich past of West Africa, including the founding of centralized states such as the Mali Empire.

Ancient history

What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires. The earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but ultimately fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period that Islam first arrived in the region by way of North African traders. Several empires followed, until the period of colonialism.

Colonial history

The European traders arrived in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade. The traders used the regional slave practices that had existed for centuries of trading in human beings. Guinea’s colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century.

Independence

In 1958, French President Charles de Gaulle gave France’s colonies a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in a referendum. Other colonies chose the former, but Guinea voted overwhelmingly for independence. On 2 October 1958, Guinea proclaimed itself a sovereign and independent republic, with Sékou Touré as president.