Why carry an IDP while driving in Guinea?
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information.
It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Guinea highly recommends an International Driving Permit.
Driving Rules in Guinea
Known for its amazing natural resources, Guinea is a place to visit for nature lovers. This is a big country so travelling using your own car is the best way to get on your trip. Be sure to check these reminders before heading out.
- Guinea drives on the right side of the road.
- The minimum driving age is 18 years old. The minimum rental age is 23 years old.
- Seat belt is a must.
- Hands-free is a must. Keep your phones away unless they are hands-free.
- Drink responsibly. The legal alcohol limit is 80 mg per 100 ml of blood.
- The speed limit is 60 km/h in urban areas.
- Road conditions are poor. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Watch out for checkpoints. Local policemen set them up to extort bribes.
- Third-party insurance is mandatory.
- Avoid driving at night.
Driving in the Winter
Guinea is an African country so there is no winter here. Avoid travelling during the rainy season from July to September. Be sure to keep your emergency kits handy at all times. Plan your trip wisely to maximize your vacation.
Enjoy your stay and safe travels.
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Nestled along the Atlantic coast of Africa, Guinea boasts plenty of crowd-pleasing spots to visit. Just 30 minutes off the coast of the capital city, you will find Iles de Los, a small group of islands that feature wide, sandy beaches similar to Hawaii in the Pacific. But beaches aren’t all that make Guinea a destination worth visiting. If you are fond of exploring unique cultures and nature reserves, a trip to Guinea will surely delight you. Not to mention that the country is one of the most underrated places in the world.
Top Destinations in Guinea
If you’re interested in placing Guinea on your African itinerary very soon, secure now your International Driving Permit for Guinea and check out some of the most popular destinations that you can visit!
National Park of Upper Niger
The Parc National du Haut Niger is a haven for wildlife lovers. The entire park straddles the Niger River and provides a home to thousands of species, including those of mammals, amphibians, and birds. If you want to see the West African Manatee, the Hippopotamus, Lions, and other enormous animals in their natural environment, make sure to bring in your binoculars and book a tour to the National Park of Upper Niger.
The National Park of Upper Niger is about 10 hours and a half from the capital city of Conakry. You’ll have to stop by the village of Sanbaya to hire a tour guide. This ensures the safety of all travelers considering that the animals are just roaming around the park freely.
Before you embark on your safari trip, make sure to pack appropriate clothing. Guinea is a very humid country, so you’d need light and airy clothing, a cap, and a bandana to cover your nose in dusty road areas. Also, do not forget to bring your national driving license and your International Driving Permit in all Guinea regions. International driving permits allow you to drive in a foreign country. There are a lot of checkpoints around the country, and you wouldn’t want to get caught driving without a valid license.
Fouta Djallon Highlands
Fouta Djallon is an economically important region of Guinea. It’s multiple waterfalls and springs serve as a significant water source for the different rivers and tributaries that run along the entire West Africa. The Highlands is a great place to hike and explore. The waterfalls and plateaus in this region provide some of the most breathtaking scenes in the world, so make sure to charge your camera batteries before heading out.
To reach Fouta Djallon, you’ll have to drive to the City of Labe. The city is about 390km from Conakry, and it will take you about half a day to drive. Other visitors spend the night in the town before going on the trek. You’ll also need to hire a tour guide in Labe because it’s not easy to navigate the jungles by yourself. But don’t worry, tour guides in Labe are very seasoned and experienced, so much so that some are really very entertaining.
For your trip to the Fouta Djallon Highlands, expect that you are going to get wet. Not just because of potential rains, but because it will be hard to resist going in the natural pools to swim. Wear loose clothing that will cover your entire body if you can, just to prevent possible insect bites. Lastly, bring along lots of water and trail snacks.
When driving to Labe, do not forget your International Driver’s Permit for Guinea. Zones outside the capital city still have many traffic police that randomly do extensive car checks. Everyone, including the locals, are required to bring identification documents with them at all times.
If you cannot afford a trip to Iles de Los, you can take a three (3) and a half-hour drive north of Conakry for some beach-loving day out. Cape Verga hosts some of Guinea’s most popular beaches, including Bel-Air. In the area, you can ride the waves, go paragliding, swim, snorkel, play some beach volleyball, eat, or just chill under the towering palm trees. The area is a great place to unwind after a day of exploring the different towns.
To drive to Cape Verga, you’ll need to pass through N3. Remember that Cape Verga is a wide area, so there are multiple entries. Your best option would be to ask locals where Bel-Air Beach is.
Make sure that you pack in your beach essentials to make your trip to the beach as relaxing as possible. This includes your swimwear, a towel, your cap, and your most beloved sunblock.
When driving to Labe, do not forget your International Driving Permit for Guinea. Zones outside the capital city still have many traffic police that randomly do extensive car checks, so international driving permits are important. Everyone, including the locals, are required to bring identification documents with them at all times. You also have to bring your native driver's license, like a U.S. driver's license or a valid UK driving licence.
The City of Labe is the commercial center of the Fulani People. If you want to buy fresh fruits to fill you up for your trip around Guinea, Labe is where you’ll find the freshest citrus fruits like oranges. There are also plenty of local restaurants that you can try in Labe. If you want to unwind from your hike to Fouta Djallon, Labe has a good selection of nightclubs and cafes.
Labe is about seven (7) hours from Conakry. You will be passing through multiple national roads. These include N3, N21, N32, N24, N22, and N5. With this, again, do not forget to bring your International Driving Permit for Guinea. List of authorized agencies that issue valid IDPs can be found online. Still, one of the most convenient ways to apply for one is to do it through the International Driver’s Association. All you need is an internet connection, and you can receive your IDP in as fast as 20 minutes if you choose the express shipping option.
If you want to learn about how agriculture is being done in Africa, you should visit Kindia. Kindia not only features expansive agricultural gardens, but it also hosts multiple research centers that focus on developing Guinea’s high agricultural potential. Considering that Guinea is characterized by an intense climate (very arid summers and extremely wet rainy seasons), you will learn a lot about adapting and how to grow produce successfully in these kinds of weather.
Kindia is about 112km north of Conakry. Before heading out to drive, make sure that all your car parts are in good operating condition. If you go to Kindia during the monsoon months, make sure that your windshield wipers are functioning well. Likewise, do not forget your International Driving Permit for Guinea. Guinean authorities conduct random checks even among locals, so you have to be prepared at all times.
When you apply for a printed IDP, you can apply for it before flying to the country and have it shipped to Guinea. Just make sure you write the correct shipping address for your International Driver’s License - Guinea. If you're from the UK, your valid UK driving licence allows you to drive in Guinea without the IDP.
Next to Conakry, Boke hosts the second busiest port in Guinea. But beyond the bustling commerce and trade, did you know that Boke was once the principal port for Guinea’s slave trade? This was where people were loaded onto boats and shipped to Europe. At present, you can get to know the stories of these people at the Fortin de Boke Museum when you visit Boke.
Boke is situated 250km from Conakry. It is a coastal town, and you’ll have to drive along N3 to reach the area. To go to the site, you’ll need to bring your native driving license and your valid International Driving Permit for Guinea. City traffic enforcers in Boke are quite stringent with their checks. An IDP will help you explain your identity to them without the need to put in much effort.
A trip to Guinea wouldn’t be a trip without exploring its capital city of Conakry. Here is where you’ll see the most abounding cultural hotspots and experience the developing Guinean way of life. Some of the best spots to check out in Conakry are:
- Faga Faga Fougou Espace Culturel
- Centre de’Art Acrobatique Keita Fodeba
- St. Mary’s Cathedral
- The Grand Mosquee
- National Museum of Guinea
Remember that Guinea has a relatively conservative culture. Taking photographs of the locals and government buildings is highly discouraged. However, you can still do so, considering that you ask permission from the concerned locals.
When you go driving around Conakry, expect bustling streets. Some road sections don’t have clear road markings, requiring you to be more alert when driving. When you move anywhere within the Guinea jurisdiction, an International Driving Permit is highly beneficial in case you come across a road incident. It will be easier for you to explain your identity to the authorities when necessary.
Mount Nimba is the highest peak in West Africa. It borders Guinea, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire. The Mount Nimba Mountain Range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can drive up to. Yes, you don’t need to hike up Mount Nimba because the trails leading up to the peak are wide enough for small motor vehicles, like the motorcycle.
The park is home to a lot of West African Lions and Zebra Duikers. In order to navigate the mountain safely, you’ll need to hire a tour guide from the nearby towns. Mount Nimba is more than a day’s drive from Conakry. Specifically, it may take you about 19 hours to reach the area. If you want to visit Mount Nimba, it would be best to leave Conakry early in the morning, spend the night at a nearby village, and drive up to Mount Nimba the next day.
You’ll be driving through forests and savannas before you reach Mount Nimba. This means that there aren’t many food stalls around, and towns are of considerable distance from each other. With this, you are advised to pack in lots of essentials, including food, water, fuel, oil, and emergency gear. Lastly, do not forget your International Driving Permit for Guinea again. You should present this together with your valid native driving license when requested.
Most Important Road Rules
Now that you have an idea of where to go and what to do for an exciting road trip in Guinea, you must be familiar with the country’s road rules. Although Guinea has received a lot of criticism for its weak implementation of road laws, you still need to observe them for your own safety.
Do Not Drive Without a Valid License
Your driver's license and international driver's permit are required to drive a motor vehicle in foreign countries. Driving without a license is not tolerated in Guinea. In addition, drivers need to be at least 18 years old to drive legally in the country. If you are under 18 but have a full driving license (because your home country permits it), you are still discouraged from driving in Guinea.
If your native driving license is printed in a language that is not understandable to the local authorities, you’ll need to present a valid International Driving Permit. If you aren’t able to show an International Driving Permit, your native driving license might not be considered valid. It would be good to remember that cases of fake licenses are very rampant in Guinea, so the authorities are very stringent in checking the permits. Whether you hold a U.S. driver's license or a valid UK driving licence, it's recommended to have an IDP with you.
Drive On the Right-Hand Side of the Road
Some road sections in Guinea aren’t adequately marked or delineated. This means that there is no line separating the lanes. With this, remember to keep to the right side of the road. If you’re not used to driving a motor vehicle on the right-hand side of the road, it is recommended that you practice driving first outside built-up areas.
Drive Within the Speed Limit
The road network in Guinea is still being developed. This also goes with its traffic management system. When you go driving around Guinea, you will notice that there are no speed limit signs even within the city propers. Despite not having a speed limit legislation, all drivers are encouraged to drive below 60km/hr.
Avoid Drinking and Driving
Driving intoxicated is one of the significant causes of road accidents worldwide. Drinking is highly discouraged because it slows down your ability to react in certain situations and weakens your mental and physical coordination. In Guinea, you are only allowed a maximum blood alcohol concentration of 80mg per 100ml of blood. Nevertheless, it is still best to have 0% alcohol when you drive a motor vehicle around Guinea.
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