A toast to the new King

Day 35… Saturday 6th May

A 5 hour drive heading from Faranah to Gueckedou along a tared road for most of the way – very few vehicles, just the odd cow, chicken, goat or pig wandering across the road.  The last half hour was a bumpy dirt road but was brief and bearable.  No police stops today!  A couple of police officers took an interest in Greta but waved us through the check points.  Final fuel stop before the Ivory Coast border.  The Guinean currency (GNF) is worth a mention.  Over the last 10 days, the price of fuel, food and accommodation has added up and the currency takes a little time to get use to it.  Fuel is expensive at £1.12 a litre of diesel.  A full tank plus two jerry cans amounts to 1,000,800 GNF (£93).  The ATM’s seem to dish out individual notes of 20,000 CFA worth £1.86.  Therefore you end up carrying around huge wads of cash and dishing out several notes.  To put it in context 1,000,000 CFA would be 50 notes of 20,000 CFA.

Food is very cheap and a restaurant meal costs around 50,000 CFA (£4.65).  A bottle of coke or water is surprising expensive at 10,000CFA (0.93p).  Accommodation costs have varied hugely as has the standards and the prices do not necessary reflect the quality of accommodation offered.  Usual pluming or wiring issues.  Electricity is sometimes only available between 7pm and 11pm.  There are of course the numerous creatures sharing your room (flies, lizards, mosquitoes, ants, beetles) to name a few.  Campsite companions have included very friendly dogs, cats, kittens, chickens, yellow headed lizards and migrating frogs trying to get the river.

A double bedroom with private bathroom for where we have stayed over the last 9 days:

  • Hotel Kalinda Gaoual 250,000CFA (£23.25)
  • Sapin Hotel Boke 450,000CFA (£41.85)
  • Onomo Hotel, Conakry  – western prices but worth every penny and they accepted card payments (a rarity!)
  • Camping Kindia 150,000CFA (£13.95)
  • Hotel De Niger Faranah 300,000CFA (£27.90)
  • Hotel Kimberlite, Gueckedou 170,000CFA (£15.64)
  • Hotel Residence Bethanie, Nzerekore 500,000CFA (£46.50)

The accommodation in Guinea has been expensive but the country is not geared up for tourists and I reckon that the price goes up significantly for westerners.  However, when options are limited and after a long drive when you need a bed for the night there is no choice.  It is an untapped market at present.  On a sad note, I managed to miss the entire coronation but had a chat with the Ivory Coast boarder staff about the king’s crown that he wore and they seemed very excited.

Allen’s perspective…

Guinea as a country is not presently geared up for tourism which makes sense given its recent history. Whilst some ‘overlanders’ may just head off into the bush and wild camp by villages, embedding themselves into local communities and putting up photos of them doing yoga poses onto Instagram… that just isn’t our style.

Staying in a number of these hotels has provided one disappointing element however as when we do eat (which seems little and often at the moment) the choice presented is usually either chicken or fish. Having tried Yassa chicken in Senegal a couple of times (and even fish!) I’d usually prefer to try a local dish, even if it isn’t anything wildly exciting. It seems that Guinean’s don’t have any great desire to showcase its culinary delights to westerners, who to be fair seem to be mostly bored French businessmen around here.

Lets hope I can get to spice things up and eat some goat / beef / (insert any other animal here) soon!

Proceed Booking