Guinea

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Tuesday, 01 July 2014.   This advice contains updated information in the Summary and under Health (update on Ebola virus disease) and Where to get help (the Canadian Embassy in Senegal can provide consular assistance to Australians in Guinea). We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Guinea because of the unpredictable security situation in the country and high risk of violent crime.

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 unpredictable security situation in the country and high risk of violent crime.
  • There has been a serious outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, resulting in over 500 deaths (WHO Disease Outbreak News). Monitor closely the health advice issued by local authorities and avoid travel to affected areas. For more information, see the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin.
  • You should monitor local media for information on your safety and security. Avoid protests and demonstrations, street rallies and public gatherings as they may turn violent and attract a heavy response from security forces.
  • There is a high risk of violent crime in Guinea. Incidents of violent crime in Conakry are on the rise, and theft at gunpoint is a common occurrence. There are regular reports of armed robbery and violent assault carried out by individuals wearing military style uniforms.
  • Travellers may face delays, or be refused entry, if attempting to cross land borders.
  • We strongly advise against all travel to the areas bordering Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone where cross-border armed activity and tensions between ethnic groups undermines the general security situation.
  • 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.
  • Because of the unpredictable security situation we strongly recommend that you register your travel and contact details with us, so we can contact you in an emergency.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa conditions change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Guinea for the most up to date information.

Guinea is listed by the World Health Organization (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

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

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Guinea at this time because of the unpredictable security situation and the high risk of violent crime.

A new National Assembly was installed in January 2014. The political situation remains fluid and ongoing protest activity is possible.

Serious violence between ethnic groups broke out in July 2013 in the Guinea Forestiere region in the far south east of Guinea. Nearly 100 people were reported to have been killed. There is a risk of further inter-ethnic violence in Guinea Forestiere.

You should monitor local media 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 and attract a heavy response from security forces. Avoid unnecessary movement in Conakry and throughout Guinea.

Demonstrations and strikes may disrupt the supply of essential goods and services, including 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.

There is a large military presence in Conakry and roadblocks are common.

Border regions with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire: We strongly advise you not to travel to the border regions with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire because of the unstable security situation, military and rebel activity and tensions between ethnic groups in these regions. Past or ongoing conflicts in these countries have left the border areas tense, with displaced persons and refugees from neighbouring countries continuing to travel through Guinea. Banditry is also a risk in these border areas.

Crime

There is a high risk of violent crime in Guinea. Incidents of violent crime in Conakry are on the rise and theft at gunpoint is a common occurrence. Assaults, muggings, armed robbery and break-ins, as well as minor theft, are prevalent in Conakry and in most other parts of the country. 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 and remain alert to your surroundings.

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

If you choose to travel to Guinea, organise a variety of ways to access your money, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas. 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. Australian currency is generally not an acceptable means of foreign exchange in West Africa.

You should carry your travel documents at all times. Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

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.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

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

The airport could close without notice and flights may be cancelled or postponed. Australians intending to travel should confirm with their airline the latest situation on flights.

Land borders may be closed without notice.

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.

Roads and vehicles are poorly maintained in Guinea and public transportation is limited. 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

Please refer to our air travel page for information about 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.

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

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.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed a serious outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea, resulting in over 300 deaths. Cases have been reported in a number of areas, including Conakry, Gueckedou, Macenta, Dabola, Kissidougou, Dinguiraye, Telimele, Boffa and Kouroussa. Monitor closely the health advice issued by Guinean authorities, maintain strict standards of hygiene and avoid travel to affected areas. For further information see the Ebola outbreak in West Africa travel bulletin.

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

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

If you are travelling to Guinea, 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.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

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.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



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.