Best time to visit Guinea

Most overlanding tours depart near the start of the dry season, when leafy foliage is still lush and before the dusty Harmattan winds blow in from the Sahara.
Guinea experiences two distinct seasons: the wet, which roughly lasts from May to September, and the dry, roughly from October to April. The wet season really does get very wet; Guinea gets some of the greatest amount of rainfall in all West Africa and short, sharp bursts of heavy rain often churn muddy roads into rivers. It’s after the rains have started that the forested Fouta Djallon really starts to look its greenest and best but, although some travellers do choose to go at this time of year, poor weather can make the already difficult roads impassable. Most tours take place during the dry months instead.

Labe Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)

Things to do in Guinea

Getting around Guinea can be slow and difficult, so it’s best visited as part of a long trip alongside other West African countries. Overlanding is the best way to do that, especially in a country like Guinea where it’s less about seeing sights and more about connecting with local communities. “That slow way of travelling allows you to actually feel like you’re part of the country you go through in a way that I don’t think you can with any other method of transport,” says Charlie Hopkinson, founder of Dragoman, our specialists in overlanding tours. There aren’t many supermarkets in the jungle, so you’ll need to stock up on food when you reach the markets. “The markets are just bonkers,” Charlie laughs. “There’s all sorts of things going on, people everywhere, all sorts of pots and jars and different things. People can be quite scared to begin with because they’re massive. Until you get the gist of them and start to think: actually, this is fun.” It’s a great way to try the local food . Fried plantain, rice dishes, meat stews made with peanut sauces (sauce d’arachide) and spicy marinated chicken are all staples, as well as fresh, locally grown tropical fruit. Guinea is largely an Islamic country – 85 percent of its population is Muslim. Cultural and religious sensitivity is good to think about when visiting larger cities like Conakry, where it is better to dress a little more modestly. Islam is less established in Guinea’s forested regions, where Christianity and older animist religions are more common.

Things not  to do in Guinea

“In West Africa you’ve got this wealth of culture, art, history, music, cloth. It could be a totally different continent – but tourists just want to see the Maasai or the Samburu,” says Charlie, who feels that people tend to forget or ignore Africa’s other tribes. “It also feels more authentic in West Africa whereas, in some parts of East Africa, you feel like people are putting on a bit of a show. You don’t have so much tourism in Guinea, so when you stumble upon a local festival or a school doing an activity in a village you know it’s just happening on that day. It’s not catering to tourists.” “You’re not going to go to Guinea for the wildlife,” explains Charlie. “It is there, but you’re not going to see any of the big five or safari animals.” Guinea is a recognised global biodiversity hotspot, home to forest elephants, pygmy hippos and West African lions, but massive deforestation, mining, bushmeat hunting and illegal wildlife trade have severely diminished populations. You are more likely to spot some of its beautiful birdlife – including pelicans, spoonbills, flufftails and parrots – which should tempt birdwatching enthusiasts to visit West Africa. While we recommend trying the local cuisine, please avoid buying or eating bushmeat. While an important source of food in many West African countries, eating wild animals comes with a risk of transmitting diseases to humans, and bushmeat has been blamed for the West African Ebola epidemic between 2014 and 2016. Its sale is also further threatening the futures of some species that are already endangered.

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Guinea travel advice

Charlie Hopkinson, from our West African tour specialists Dragoman, has some advice on what you can expect when travelling to Guinea.


“There will be a day-to-day itinerary, but we do warn people that it is flexible; it’s not regimented. For example, it might say in the itinerary that it takes five hours when actually it takes eight hours or more; you just have to be flexible with the distances of driving. There are even days when it’s quicker to walk than drive, but that whole lack of infrastructure actually brings an amazing amount of freedom.”


“We don’t really have to worry about safety in most West African countries, and we haven’t had any safety issues on these trips. Some people might find the markets scary because they can be massive with lots going on, but once you’re used to them they’re great fun.”


“When you’re doing an overland trip you absolutely do need to prepare. You need to think: what do I need to take? What’s the weather going to be like? What’s going to cause discomfort? We provide our travellers with a packing list with everything on it you could ever need on an overlanding trip.”

Bush camping

“You need to be prepared for the bush camping side of things. If people tell us they’ve not done much camping or they’ve not been bush camping, it’s important that we explain the lack of facilities – the standing-behind-a-bush type scenarios. It’s just a random stop that we’ve found, so there are no facilities at all. When we’re in the grounds of a hotel or staying in a locally run hotel, there will be basic facilities like running water and bathrooms, but hot water will be harder to find.”


“You don’t need a specific level of fitness for Guinea; the walking’s fairly leisurely. You might do a two-hour trek to a waterfall or take a three-hour boat trip down a river. You haven’t got to be Indiana Jones. Your guides can tailor walks to meet the needs of the group on the day, and you can choose to take rest days or choose to trek. Really, rated on a difficulty level of one to five, we say the physical challenge is a two, whereas the lifestyle challenge of travelling in Guinea is a four.”
Written by Bryony Cottam
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jurgen] [Intro: Maarten van der Bent] [things to do/not to do: Jurgen] [Tips: Aboubacarkhoraa]