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GUINEA - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to Guinea. The current security situation remains volatile due to the political, social and economic tensions in the country. Clashes between young demonstrators and law enforcement authorities have been frequent, especially in Conakry, where incidents of violent crimes are on the rise. If you are in Guinea despite this warning, exercise extreme caution.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
The continued instability in neighbouring countries and armed banditry in the region are causing increased tensions and hostilities in Guinea. Exercise a high degree of caution in the areas bordering Senegal (Casamance), Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire, where ongoing cross-border military and rebel activity makes the security situation unsafe. There is a risk of renewed inter-ethnic violence in and around the town of N’Zérékoré, in Guinée Forestière. There have also been confrontations in industrial cities, such as Fria, where access to raw materials and tensions caused by work stoppages are aggravating the security situation.
Parliamentary elections were held in relative calm on September 28, 2013. However, the risk of violence and civil unrest remains as the results are being contested. Rioting and violent demonstrations, which have been taking place for several months, may continue. Local authorities may impose impromptu security measures, including curfews, road blocks and checkpoints, which could disrupt road traffic and services. The international airport in Conakry could also be closed on short notice. Confirm your travel plans prior to departure and avoid all areas where demonstrations are staged, especially the main demonstration route through the Donka, Bellevue, Hamdallaye, Madina, Cosa and Bambeto districts of Conakry. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and monitor local media to stay informed of the latest developments, planned demonstrations and advice from local authorities.
Increased threat of attacks and kidnappings
In 2013, the French military assisted the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. While the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been supporting the transitional authorities in stabilizing the region since July 2013, citizens of countries supporting the intervention are still at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.
Violent crime is prevalent, especially in Conakry, but also in some rural areas such as Kankan. Armed robbery, carjackings, assaults, muggings and break-ins are on the rise in Conakry and the surrounding province. These violent crimes are often perpetrated by men wearing military or police uniforms. Guinean authorities have implemented the restoration of checkpoints (police and gendarmerie) on major roads in Conakry and other cities between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Foreigners are often targets of crime, especially at airports. Exercise caution at airports and hotels, where offers of unsolicited assistance may come from persons seeking an opportunity to steal luggage, purses or wallets. You should arrange to arrive at the airport during the day and be met there by reliable contacts.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching is common, particularly in the Madina, Niger, and Taouyah markets, and often employs children. Do not show signs of affluence. Ensure personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times, and remain alert to your surroundings, especially at night.
Demonstrations occur regularly and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Protests over the political deadlock in the country, coupled with the lack of provision of public services have led to violent incidents across the country in the past months, causing deaths and injuries. These protests can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The socio-economic situation is also generally unstable in Guinea. Conakry has been experiencing fuel and water shortages in recent months. This has affected transportation as well as the power supply, and has led to civil unrest causing death and injuries.
Driving habits, the lack of road and traffic signs, poorly maintained vehicles and roads, pedestrians and livestock pose hazards. In the event of an accident, you should proceed to the nearest police station or medical facility, as roadside assistance and ambulance services are not available.
You should be careful while driving in Conakry and surrounding areas, and when travelling to and from the international airport, due to a reported increase in violent and opportunistic crimes against foreigners. The risk of robberies and armed attacks also increases after dark. Moreover, it is not rare for travellers to encounter improvised roadblocks (including on the airport road) erected by armed groups or military troops. Payment or proof of identity may be required at these roadblocks. The following documents should be carried at all times: copies of identity papers (passport and visa), vaccination record, vehicle registration (grey card), valid driver's licence, proof of road insurance, and vehicle safety check certificate.
Overland travel outside major centres should only be undertaken during daylight hours and with a four-wheel-drive vehicle with spare tires. The vehicle should also be equipped with water, means of communication, a reflective hazard triangle, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. We recommend driving in convoy. Road travel outside the capital may be difficult during the rainy season.
Guinea has no official public transportation system. Although informal means of communal transport exist, such as taxis and buses, they should be used with extreme caution. Airline companies offer regular links from Conakry to the cities of Kankan, Siguiri, Labé and N’zérékoré.
There is an airport departure tax, which may not be included in the price of the plane ticket. Please check with your air carrier.
Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters, and in some cases, further out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General safety information
In the event of a strike, shops could close for long periods of time with little warning. Ensure that you maintain stores of food, water and emergency supplies, sufficient to last three to four days.
Power outages are frequent throughout the country and may affect security conditions, especially in large urban centres.
Tourist facilities are limited outside the capital.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Guinean authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is the traveller’s responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea and its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Guinea, which must be valid for at least the duration of the stay. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians must also obtain a visa prior to their departure for Guinea.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
Air travel restrictions
Canadians entering Guinea by air must arrive in Conakry. Those arriving by private or chartered aircraft or by helicopter must not enter Guinean airspace without written overflight and landing confirmation from the Guinean authorities. Even with this authority, the flight must first stop in Conakry. Failure to follow these procedures may result in the aircraft being confiscated.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Ebola virus disease
There is currently an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in this country. Ebola virus disease is caused by a virus that is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids (from people or animals). It is a rare, but very serious and often fatal, disease. Avoid contact with blood, tissues, and other bodily fluids. There is no vaccine or standard treatment for Ebola virus disease.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or bodily fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and detention page for more information.
A licence is required to export precious gems. Penalties are heavy for those involved in smuggling, particularly when diamonds and other gems are involved.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Videotaping and photography are forbidden in many parts of the country and should be restricted to private gatherings. You must obtain permission from the Guinean government before photographing military and transportation facilities, government buildings or public works.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Common sense and discretion should be exercised in dress and behaviour. You should dress conservatively; for example, women should wear a headscarf and cover their arms and legs. Respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. The use of drugs and alcohol is prohibited. Transgressions could be punished by detention or other penalties.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around June 28, 2014.
The currency is the Guinean franc (GNF). The economy is cash-based. The import or export of local currency is prohibited. There are no limits on the import of foreign currency, but it should be declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival. Carry no more than 10,000 FG (about C$10) upon departure from Guinea. Automated banking machines are available but not reliable. Credit cards are not often accepted. Traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars are accepted only at banks and some hotels.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
The rainy season extends from June to November. Roads may become impassable during this period. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Conakry - Consulate of Canada
Dakar - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Dakar, Senegal and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa collect at 613-996-8885.
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