Guinea

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 03 October 2014.   This advice contains new information in the Summary and under Local travel (updated information on the Ebola outbreak). The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, centred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, continues to worsen and has led to an unprecedented number of deaths. We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Guinea because of the outbreak of EVD, the unpredictable security situation, the risk of violent crime and the potential for a deterioration in the security situation as a result of the EVD outbreak.

Guinea overall

Border areas with Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Summary

  • We recommend you reconsider your need to travel to Guinea because of the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) the unpredictable security situation, the risk of violent crime and the potential for a deterioration in the security situation as a result of the EVD outbreak. Given the increasing restrictions on travel due to the EVD outbreak and the extremely limited care options, we advise you to leave while limited commercial flights continue to operate.
  • The outbreak of EVD centred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continues to worsen and has led to an unprecedented number of deaths.
  • Guinean authorities have implemented a State of Emergency in response to the outbreak. They have put in place a range of measures to reduce the risk of transmission including restrictions on movement and health screenings at border crossings. Travellers with fever or EVD-like symptoms are being subject to quarantine or being denied entry or exit from the country.
  • Departure options from Guinea are extremely limited. Only a small number of commercial airlines continue to operate flights out of Guinea and some land borders have been closed. Further restrictions are highly likely. Additionally, many countries in Africa, including the major travel hubs of Kenya and South Africa, have now banned entry to travellers who have been in EVD affected countries. Australians who travel to Guinea will find it increasingly difficult and costly to leave.
  • The Australian Government will have very limited capacity to provide consular assistance in these circumstances. A medical evacuation would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to conduct. Australian High Commission personnel have deferred non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as a result of the EVD outbreak.
  • Sporadic demonstrations and local disturbances have been reported across Guinea related to the Ebola outbreak – be aware that these can turn violent. A team of eight health workers and journalists have been killed in a village in south east Guinea while on an outreach visit to raise awareness of EVD.
  • If, despite our advice, you choose to stay in Guinea, we strongly recommend that you register your contact details with us, so we can keep you informed. You should also read and subscribe to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin.
  • You should also monitor local media for information on your safety and security. Avoid protests and demonstrations, street rallies and public gatherings as they may turn violent.
  • There is a high risk of violent crime in Guinea. Foreigners have been the victims of armed robbery, carjacking, assault, muggings and break-ins in Conakry and other areas, sometimes perpetrated by individuals wearing military or policy uniforms.
  • We advise against all travel to the areas bordering Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone where there has been cross-border military and rebal activity and tensions between ethnic groups.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Guinea. The Canadian Embassy located in Dakar, Senegal, can also provide consular assistance to Australians in Guinea. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian High Commission in Ghana can also assist Australians.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
click on image to expand

Entry and exit

Visa conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Guinea for the most up to date information.

Departure options from Guinea are now extremely limited. Only a small number of commercial airlines continue to operate flights out of Guinea and a number of Guinea’s land borders are closed, including borders with Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Further restrictions are highly likely. Additionally, many countries in Africa, including the major travel hubs of Kenya and South Africa have now banned entry to all travellers who have been in EVD affected countries. Travellers will find it increasingly difficult and costly to leave.

In response to the EVD outbreak health screenings have been introduced at the border crossings that remain open. Travellers with fever or EVD-like symptoms are being subject to quarantine or being denied entry or exit from the country. Further changes to entry and exit requirements are likely at short notice.

Guinea is listed by the WHO as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Guinea. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and Security

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Guinea at this time because of the unpredictable security situation, the risk of violent crime and the potential for a deterioration in the security situation as a result of the EVD outbreak.

Terrorism

Terrorist groups in the region have declared their intention to conduct attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. Such attacks could take place at any time, including at locations frequented by Westerners.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/Political tension

Lack of access to basic services, instability in neighbouring countries, armed banditry and ethnic tensions in the region are causing increased tensions and hostilities in Guinea. Protests, often impromptu and involving roadblocks, continue to occur in Guinea related to the lack of basic services, most recently in July and August 2014 in central and northern suburbs of Conakry (Hamdallaye, Bambeto, Concasseur and Taouyah).

Large scale political demonstrations often occur around elections.

You should monitor local media and other local sources of information about possible new safety or security risks. Avoid protests and demonstrations, street rallies and public gatherings as they may turn violent

Demonstrations and strikes may disrupt the supply of essential goods and services, including ground transport and international flights. We recommend you have with you a supply of water and food to last several days, cash, medications and a basic first-aid kit. Ensure your vehicle has an adequate supply of fuel and ensure mobile phones are fully charged.

Inter-ethnic conflict in the Guinea Forestiere region turned violent in July 2013 with up to 100 people reported killed. There is a possibility of further violence in this region.

Over 20 people were killed in a stampede at a beach concert in Conakry in July 2014. A number of deaths and injuries were also reported at a beach concert in Conakry in January 2014.

Border regions with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire: We advise you not to travel to the border regions with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire due to cross-border military and rebel activity and tensions between ethnic groups. Past conflicts in these countries have left the border areas tense, with displaced persons and refugees continuing to travel through Guinea. Banditry is also a risk in these border areas.

Crime

Sporadic demonstrations and local disturbances have been reported across Guinea related to the Ebola outbreak – be aware that these can turn violent. A team of eight health workers and journalists have been killed in a village in south east Guinea while on an outreach visit to raise awareness of EVD.

There is a risk of violent crime in Guinea. Assaults, muggings, armed robbery and break-ins, as well as minor theft, are prevalent in Conakry and in other parts of the country. Carjacking does occur – you should always lock car doors. Criminals are known to target tourists, particularly at the airport, in markets and near hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners. In Conakry, petty criminals are particularly active in the Madina, Niger and Taouyah markets. Children have been used by criminals to conduct crimes. Ensure your personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times, do not carry valuables in public and remain alert to your surroundings, particularly at night.

We recommend you exercise caution with offers of unsolicited assistance, especially in airports and hotels. The offer may come from persons seeking an opportunity to steal luggage, purses or wallets.

There have been reports of criminals posing as military officials, wearing military-style uniforms and carrying military weapons.

Power failures are frequent throughout the country and may affect security conditions, especially in large urban centres.

Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered. Some victims have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity. If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of physical assault from the perpetrators. Our international scams page provides more detail on these types of scams.

Bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes are operating from some African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, the Australian citizen may be asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. In some cases the relationship is terminated with very little chance that any funds can be recovered. In other cases, foreigners may be lured to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner and can become victims of crime including kidnapping, assault and robbery.

Piracy has been reported in the coastal waters off Guinea. See our piracy page for further information. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.

Money and valuables

Travellers' cheques and credit cards are accepted at most major hotels in Conakry but generally not elsewhere in the country. Banking facilities may be limited outside of Conakry.

You should carry your travel documents at all times.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak

Australian High Commission personnel have deferred non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as a result of the EVD outbreak. We strongly recommend you do the same.

Guinean authorities have implemented a State of Emergency in response to the EVD outbreak. They have put in place a range of measures to reduce the risk of transmission of EVD including restrictions on movement within the country and health screenings at border crossings. Travellers with fever or EVD-like symptoms are being subject to quarantine or being denied approval to enter or depart the country.

Departure options from Guinea are now extremely limited. Only a small number of commercial airlines continue to operate flights out of Guinea and some land borders have been closed, including borders with Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Australians will find it increasingly difficult and costly to leave. Many countries in Africa, including the major travel hubs of Kenya and South Africa, have now banned entry to travellers who have been in EVD affected countries.

As a result of measures imposed to combat the spread of EVD, serious food shortages have emerged in the West African region. The UN World Food Program has declared a level three food emergency, its highest threat. Food shortages are likely to worsen and commodity prices increase.

Other local travel information

You should be familiar with hotel evacuation procedures. Stay in contact with friends and family to keep them informed of your welfare and whereabouts.

It is a legal requirement to carry original identity documents at all times and original vehicle documents, registration and car ownership papers when driving. Police or other law enforcement agencies can request to see identification at any time.

Public transportation is limited. Road hazards include poor driving habits, the lack of road and traffic signs, poorly maintained vehicles and roads, pedestrians and stray livestock. You should avoid all travel between towns and cities after dark because of the risk of robbery and high incidence of motor vehicle accidents. For further advice on road safety, see our road travel page. Fuel shortages often occur.

Army or other roadblocks may be encountered in Conakry and across the country at any time, and particularly at night.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Guinea.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

If you choose to travel to Guinea, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

It is a legal requirement to carry original identity documents at all times. Police or other law enforcement agencies can request to see identification at any time.

Penalties for serious offences, such as murder and armed robbery, may attract the death penalty.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and may include imprisonment.

Homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include fines and imprisonment. See our LGBTI travellers page.

A licence is required to export precious stones from Guinea. Failure to supply a licence on demand can lead to imprisonment.

Photography and filming of military establishments and government buildings is prohibited.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Guinea and you should take care not to offend.

Information for dual nationals

Guinea does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian/Guinean dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continues to worsen and has led to an unprecedented number of deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The EVD outbreak has overwhelmed many local healthcare facilities and options for obtaining routine or emergency medical care may be severely limited.

If you are in the region for work, ensure that your employer has contingency plans for treatment or evacuation should personnel show symptoms of the disease. If you are considering undertaking independent travel, ensure that your travel insurance will cover healthcare and/or medical evacuation for EVD.

The Australian Government will have very limited capacity to provide consular assistance in these circumstances. A medical evacuation would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to conduct. Australian High Commission personnel have deferred non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as a result of the EVD outbreak.

EVD is not highly contagious to the general population, as transmission requires direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal. However, the high rate of infection among frontline healthcare workers in the current outbreak is of significant concern. For further information see the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin and information on the virus from the Department of Health.

Other health information

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Health facilities are limited in Conakry and inadequate in rural areas. Facilities are poorly equipped and pharmaceuticals are in short supply. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical care. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could exceed $A100,000.

Guinea is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Guinea. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Malaria is also endemic in Guinea. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria. Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis) also occur. You should take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose fitting, light-coloured clothing, and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, lassa fever and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. There is no national emergency number in Guinea.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Guinea. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy located in Dakar, Senegal, can provide consular assistance to Australians in Guinea. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. Contact details are:

Canadian Embassy (Dakar)

Corner Rue Galleni and Rue Briere de l'Isle
Dakar, Senegal
Telephone: 221 33 889 4700
Facsimile: 221 33 889 4720
Email: dakar@international.gc.ca
Website: www.canadainternational.gc.ca/senegal/.

You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in Ghana:

Australian High Commission, Accra

2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Cantonments, Accra
Ghana
Telephone: +233 302 216 400
Facsimile: +233 302 216 410
Email: AccraHC.Enquiries@dfat.gov.au
Website: www.ghana.highcommission.gov.au

See the High Commission/website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Guinea despite our advice, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission in Ghana or Canadian Embassy, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The rainy season is May to October when flooding may occur and unpaved roads can become impassable. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.