OVERLAND TRIP TO GUINEA CONAKRY, LIBERIA AND SIERRA LEONE

A 28 day trip in November 2019, from Conakry (Guinea Conakry) to Freetown (Sierra Leone) by Liberia. 2.600 €
This challenging journey plunges deep into West Africa, moving slowly along red dirt roads through fantastic landscapes and lush tropical forests to the paradisiacal beaches of the Freetown Peninsula.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
  • Price € 1.850 base price + € 750 local payment. Flights non included
  • Departure 2019 from Conakry
  • Arrival  2019 in Freetown
  • Minimum and maximum group 8 passengers
  • Duration 28 days
  • Difficulty High
  • Travel style Cultural / ethnic / adventure / nature / beaches / camping / National Parks
  • Accommodation style Local Hotel-Guest House: 50% – Camping: 50%

OVERLAND TRIP TO GUINEA CONAKRY, LIBERIA AND SIERRA LEONE

 

A 28 days and 27 nights adventure trip from Conakry to Freetown through Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In this unique expedition, we will visit an authentic Africa, very isolated and unknown, where we can walk practically alone on its pristine beaches and rainforests full of wildlife, discover its vibrant and colorful cities, visit some of its national parks, savor the African rural life in remote villages where we will witness ancestral dances, we will enjoy African music and nightlife, and we will travel miles of adventure through sinuous tracks that will bring us to live unique and unforgettable moments.

We run this overland trip to Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone  with this wonderful Maggy Deutz Mercur. (We will open new windows in next weeks.

 

HILIGHTS OF THIS OVERLAND TRIP IN WEST AFRICA

Travelling overland in Guinea Conakry

We will start this expedition in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. Conakry is known for its strong musical tradition and there live many of the best percussionists and balafonists from around the world. Enjoying the bustling nightlife on Saturday evening, the day of the beginning of the trip is almost mandatory. 

We will continue our journey towards the highlands of Fouta Djalon, where for two days we will make a nice hiking trail through its mountains, where we will enjoy the impressive landscapes with spectacular canyons, full of rivers and waterfalls. Ainguel, a beautiful Peul traditional village of Fouta Djalon will be our base for the walk.

For several days we will cross the country. On our way to Nzerekore we will enjoy the beautiful Guinean landscapes, the warmth of the inhabitants not used to see tourists in this area. We will visit some markets and overnight with our camp material in villages where we will arouse the curiosity of dozens of children. 

In the Guinea Forestry region, we will visit one of the most famous liana bridges, we will stop in Nzerekore for two nights to rest and visit the colorful markets. In Nzerekore you will find many places to have dinner at to dance at night.

 

We will continue along a track in very bad conditions that is usually full of mud towards the border with Liberia and the Nimba mountains. 

Travel overland in Liberia

We will visit Liberia, perhaps the most enigmatic and unknown country in Western Africa, very different from its neighboring countries.

 

 

In northern Liberia for two days we will explore the Nimba East Reserve with spectacular places as the Blue Lake, an ancient and gigantic mine now converted into a beautiful lake, in which it is possible to bathe and camp along the shore.

Yekepa is the surreal mining city of northern Liberia, where we will have the feeling as Lonely Planet says of finding us in the scenario of the movie the Truman Show

We will continue our trip to Monrovia, capital of Liberia. We will spend two nights at the Catholic Mission, enough time to explore this interesting city.

We will camp in Robertsport, a relaxed coastal town of Liberia that has become in recent years one of the last paradises for surfers. Its fine sandy beaches and turquoise waters are some of the best in West Africa.

Travel overland in Sierra Leone

 

After leaving Liberia we will enter Sierra Leone where we will travel through some of the worst roads in this part of the continent. It will take us about three days to get to Tiwai Island. This island located on the Moa river is known to house a high density and concentration of primates.

We will camp for two nights in Kambama, a beautiful town next to the Moa river where its inhabitants always welcome us very warmly. Spend time in this beautiful village of traditional architecture, just walking, chatting with its inhabitants or going down through the forest to bathe in spectacular natural pools of the Moa river where you can see monkeys and many birds, it will be a great way to spend the day.

 

We will attend a traditional Mende dance of the Bundu mask, used for decades and currently, by the secret society of women.

 

We will finish our trip camping at Bureh Beach, one of the paradisiacal beaches of the Freetown península.

 

Note: The itinerary of route is provisional and could be changed during the trip.

The estimated time of drive is just the approximate number of hours that the truck will be moving and does not to include the stops to take a coffee, to have lunch, borders, stops to make photos, activities in route, pause to stretch your legs, commercial stops or to go to the toilette, etc. We inform you about the times of conduction with good faith but consider that it will depend on many factors as traffic, conditions of the road, the climate, police controls, and others. Flexibility is essential for any trip by land in Africa.

 We like to taste the local cuisine!! When we are on the road we will have breakfasts and meals in local restaurants or in the food-stalls that we find in towns and cities. We think eating in the local stalls and restaurants are part of the experience of a trip to West Africa. 

 

Day 1 Conakry (Guinea Conakry)

  • Meeting in the Conakry hotel.Free day to explore the capital of Guinea Conakry.
  • Conakry is one of the most musical cities in Africa, in the evening we will go in search of live music.
  • Pension Les Palmiers

Day 2 Conakry - Kindia

  • 5 hours drivingKindia village recognized by its manufacturers of balafon, since around there are the "Hari" trees, whose wood has an exceptional sound.
  • Visit to Abdoulaye's workshop where we will see the construction of this ancestral instrument, and the step-by-step production of the "Sosso Bala".
  • Abdoulaye will also tell us about the mystical origin of this instrument, which goes back to the 13th century.
  • There are more than 45 types of balafons, with different tunings and scales (pentatonic, heptatonic, diatonic and tetratonic).
  • Attendance to the ceremony "Balanfari", party where the Balafon is the only instrument (normally with a group of 2 or 3 balafons) and women dance to the rhythm and melody of this one. (night party)
  • Night at the Kanya Hotel. 

Day 3 Kindia - Ainguel, Fouta Djalon

  • 8 hours driving
  • We will continue our journey to the north, slowly ascending towards the highlands of Fouta Djalon.
  • In Pita we will deviate from the main road to get into tracks in the heart of Fouta Djalon.
  • Ainguel is a charming mountain village, with traditional huts painted in bright colors and friendly people.
  • Ainguel has a small community camp with simple rooms where we will spend the night. Dinner included. 

Day 4 Ainguel - Ley Fita

  • Hiking dayFrom Ainguel we will make a 2 days beautiful circular walk in which we can visit a good number of waterfalls, walk inside the canyons, have a refreshing bath in crystalline rivers, cross liana bridges and visit Peul villages.
  • Meals included.
  • Night in the Ley Fita camp.
  • * Travelers who are not in good physical shape or do not feel like going for long walks can stay quietly in Ainguel, visiting with a guide the surroundings, on shorter paths suitable for everybody. 

Day 5 Ley Fita - Ainguel

  • Hiking day.Meals included.
  • Night in the local camp of Ainguel. 

Days 6, 7, 8, 9 We will go through Guinea Conakry

  • 8 hours of driving per day.
  • Flexible days in which we will leave the mountains of Fouta Djalon to travel towards Guinea Forestal, at the other end of the country
  • .It will be almost 4 days in which we will tour a good part of the country, enjoying the beautiful forested landscapes of Guinea, the traditional mud and straw villages and the warmth of its people, stopping in some of the main cities of the country to stock up on food and visit some of its fantastic markets. We will sleep encamped where the adventure of each day takes us.
  • The road during this journey will be different, from being in perfect condition to being tiering with a broken asphalt and full of huge holes.
  • In Macenta we will stop at the local market to buy the delicious local coffee. In the Forest Guinea there are a good number of coffee plantations.
  • After leaving Macenta, on our journey to Nzerekore, we will cross the Ziama Reserve, a beautiful forest where elephants still remain.
  • Before reaching Nzerekore, we will take a detour to visit one of the most impressive liana bridges in Guinea Conakry. 

Day 10 Nzerekore

  • Nzerekore is the lively capital of Guinea Forestry. Not to be missed the bustling and colorful market and some of the maquis, where you can enjoy some good grilled meat or fish with a cold Guilux and go dancing until your body gives out.
  • In Nzerekore we will spend two nights in the Catholic mission. 

Day 11 Nzerekore - Guinea Conakry border with Liberia

  • Estimated hours of driving: 7 hours
  • Flexible day subject to change. Depending on the state of the track we can move faster or slower on our way to Liberia.
  • On the way we will pass through Bossou, Guinea, where the chimpanzee sanctuary is located in a nearby forest. At the moment the population of these chimpanzees is very little although it is being working for years in the creation of a green corridor that communicates the Nimba mountains with the forest of Bossou.
  • Optional visit to the Bossou chimps. USD 50
  • Camping 

Day 12 Nimba East Reserve, Liberia

  • Estimated driving time: 4 hours
  • We will have to take the permits to visit the East Nimba Nature Reserve and pick up our guide.We will take a walk through the Nimba Mountains and we will have the opportunity to visit the old iron mines that were abandoned.
  • The East Nimba Nature Reserve, established in 2003, is located in northern Liberia and protects part of the Nimba mountain range (eastern zone) that runs along the triple border between Guinea Conakry, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. Its highest peak is Mount Nimba with 1,752 meters. The Mount Nimba mountain range is recognized for its high diversity of animal and plant species and considered an area of ​​great importance for conservation at an international and national level. Since 1950, when high quality iron was found in these mountains, the Nimba mountain range suffered a serious environmental destruction with the creation of enormous mines that destroyed a good part of the forests and an uncontrolled iron extraction. Today, Arcelor - Mittal, which has the concession for iron mines in the region, manages together with the State of Liberia the conservation of East Nimba Nature Reserve.
  • Camping night in a mountain refuge with spectacular views. 

Day 13 Blue Lake (Nimba East Reserve)

  • In the morning we will head towards the Blue Lake, an ancient and gigantic mine nowadays converted into a beautiful lake in which it is possible to bathe and camp next to the shore. On the terraces of the mountainous walls that surround the lake you can see abandoned machines.
  • Possibility of walking with our ranger through the mountaintops of the Blue Lake.
  • Camping next to Blue Lake 

Day 14 Yekepa - Kpatawee waterfalls, Liberia

  • Estimated driving time: 6 hours
  • Yekepa is an essential visit, this city that belongs practically to the multinational Arcelor - Mittal is very prosperous compared to any other in West Africa. Yekepa is a mining town, of a residential nature, separated and divided by countless gates and checkpoints. Going through the avenues you will have the feeling of being in an unreal place, extremely guarded or as the Lonely Planet describes, of being in the film of the Truman show. Only the company's corporate cars circulate through the streets, as patrols. A strange place, difficult to explain, that the traveler must experience by himself. The Arcelor-Mittal company has rebuilt hospitals, schools, old houses and buildings from the Lamco era and has built new facilities for its employees.
  • After visiting Yekepa we will continue our trip towards the Kpatawee waterfalls.
  • Camping next to the waterfalls. 

Day 15 Kpatawee falls - Monrovia

  • Estimated driving time: 5 hours
  • We will arrive in the capital of Liberia. Before arriving at the center of the city where we will spend two nights, we will have to cross through the middle an immense and chaotic market. We assure you that it will be an unforgettable experience.
  • Free afternoon to visit the city or to rest.
  • Night at the catholic mission of Monrovia 

Day 16 Monrovia

  • Being housed in the pleasant Catholic mission of Monrovia, located right in the center of the city, allows us to discover this curious city of phantasmagorical buildings of the past that are semi destroyed and on the same time we will discover its vibrant and lively atmosphere.
  • Night in the Catholic mission. 

Day 17 Monrovia - Robertsport (75 km of asphalt and 40 km of dirt road)

  • Estimated driving time: 4 hours
  • We will camp in Robertsport, a relaxed coastal town of Liberia that has become in recent years one of the last paradises for surfers. Its fine sandy beaches and turquoise waters are some of the best in West Africa. Rest, lie in the sun, surf or enjoy a good grilled fish, walk a few beaches away and see the skeleton of an old big boat are some of the activities we can do during the two days we will spend in this town.
  • Camping on the beach. 

Day 18 Robertsport

  • Day off.
  • Camping on the beach 

Day 19 Robertsport - Border with Sierra Leone- Surroundings of Zimmi.

  • Estimated driving time: 10 hours.
  • From the border the asphalt disappears to give way to a terrible track that leads to Kenema.The condition of the runway, the state of the bridges and other possible setbacks caused by the difficulty of this section of the trip can make change or delay our trip these days.
  • Flexible day.
  • Free camping. 

Day 20 Route to Kenema

  • Estimated driving time: 10 hours.
  • We continue through tropical forests advancing through difficult tracks towards Kenema.Flexible day.
  • Free camping. 

Day 21 Route to Tiwai Island

  • Estimated driving time: 8 hours.
  • Our third day of trip through dirt roads through tropical forests and charming traditional villages will reach Kambama, where we can take the boat to Tiwai island.
  • Night at the Tiwai Island camp 

Day 22 Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary

  • This island located in the Moa River has one of the largest and most diverse populations of primates in the world. In this tropical rainforest, we can do a great guided walk in search of different species of animals (included in the price). This island is also home of the rare pygmy hippopotamus, but it is difficult to see.
  • Guided walk and canoe tour to sight wild life.
  • Camping in Kambama, local camp. 

Day 23 Kambama

  • Kambama, a beautiful village next to the Moa river where its inhabitants always welcome us very warmly. Spend time in this beautiful village of traditional architecture, just walking, chatting with the people or going through the forest to bathe in spectacular natural pools of the Moa river where you can see monkeys and many birds, it will be a great way to spend the day. Our friend Mohamed will show us many of the secrets of his people and this fascinating part of Sierra Leone.
  • In the afternoon we will attend a dance of Mende masks. The mask we will see is the Bundu mask, still used by the secret society of women.
  • We will camp in the village community camp. 

Day 24 Tiwai - Bureh Beach (325 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 9 hoursThe Freetown Peninsula offers some of the best beaches on the continent. We can have a rest from the trip during the last days in Bureh Beach, one of our favorites.
  • Camping at the local surf center on the beach. 

Day 25 Bureh Beach

  • Free day to rest or visit other beaches.Camping at the local surf center on the beach. 

Day 26 Bureh Beach

  • Free day to rest or visit other beaches.Camping at the local surf center on the beach. 

Day 27 Bureh Beach - Freetown (60 km)

  • Estimated driving time: 3 hours.
  • Free afternoon to visit Freetown.
  • The Jam Lodge Hotel or similar. 

Day 28 Freetown

  • End of the trip at 9am.

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

IMAGES GALERIE

THIS TRIP INCLUDES

  • Transport during trip in a 4x4 truck·
  • European driver and guide·
  • All the accommodations, it will be mainly local hotels and camping·
  • Camping equipment, the tents, all the cooking utensils, chairs, tables, (the sleeping bag is not included)
  • Meals en route in local restaurants·
  • Breakfast and dinner when we are camping·
  • Entry rates and specified activities
  1. Two days of hiking with local guide in the mountains of Fouta Djalon, Guinea Conakry. Full board.
  2. Guided visit to one of the most spectacular liana bridges in Guinea Conakry.
  3. Entry rates in Nimba East Reserve (Liberia) with guided walks and visits to the old iron mines.
  4. Entry rates and night permits in Tiwai Island, hike in search of primates and canoe tour in the north of the island.
  5. Attendance at a traditional Mende dance, with the Bundu mask of the secret society of women. Sierra Leone.

THIS TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Meals when we are in accommodations, camping, or villages with facilities
  • Accommodation before and after the trip
  • Tips

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