Guinea Story
1. Switzerland of Africa

2. Kindia, Mamou,

3. Labe, Mali Ville
4. Slave Route.
5. Summary

Guinea Links
Air Routes
Business Index
Tour Operators
USA Trade

Profil de Guinée
la Mode
Ballets Africains
Map Guinée


Other articles by
Muguette Goufrani

African Fashions Win World Acclaim

Berber Wedding

Guinea: Switzerland of Africa

Chapeau to You

Central African Republic

Togo: Pearl of Africa

About Gabon



Switzerland of Africa: Part Two

Gateway to the Fouta Djalon
by Muguette Goufrani


The second important leg of my journey inside Guinea followed a stretch of highway heading north, between the towns of Kindia and Mamou, which is known as the "Gateway to the Fouta Djalon." When night falls, Mamou becomes one of the country's liveliest towns, and an ideal place for delicious street food. We sampled a variety of items, from barbecue to Guinean style couscous. I was impressed by the festive atmosphere. These proud, assertive people, walked the streets decked in their bright flowing robes, as if to say "Guinea is subject to no sovereign power." While Guineans represent a combination of the Muslim, Christian and Animist faiths, they have learned to live together in harmony - an example for the entire world. For example, how many are really aware that West Africa was thriving with well established empires and trade routes long before the first Europeans came?

Mamou's Typically Guinean Marketplace: The merchants and artisans in their stalls and various places of business struck me as being confident and strong minded, yet gentle in nature. These are ideal qualities for business success anywhere, but especially in Guinea. In the busy open-air public market and many roadside stands, women traders stood behind large trays of merchandise, looking elegant in their bright robes and always anxious to please. Even the small children approached us with trays of delicacies, sweets or fruits balanced on their heads. The vibrancy of town life, plus contact with the outside world and external trade, has stimulated Guinea to reach a higher standard of civilization than Africa's more isolated people. Shopping for clothing is a real delight. See the wide variety of attractive West African robes in our photo section. Most households in the area have a selection of indigo plants and the locals dye their own clothing, often with interesting patterns. It is an imposing sight, dozens of shop women, each with her selection of palm-oil, soaps, fabrics or yogurt in front of her. Many of these people work at farms in the countryside, so there is a vast system of petty trade. These people have trade in their blood, and bargaining is a favorite sport- an ideal opportunity to fine tune their skills.

Note to Readers: We checked Webtrends and Gunea is attracting more readers than any other section on this site, which scores thousands of pages read weekly.


Dalaba, a Mountain Retreat: Taking the main route north, Dalaba was our overnight stop. A key tourism site since the Colonial period, the Dalaba Mountain Resort was a major therapeutic center, thanks to its fresh air at 100Om altitude and gently rolling hills. Set amongst lush vegetation in the Foutana highlands, it is a charming town, with an average temperature of 10 degrees c. Guinea's President and the First lady, holiday here often, however when they are not visiting, tourists can stay in the rooms used by his entourages and enjoy fantasies of grandeur. In the commercial area of Dalaba, I spent some quality time chatting with, and learning about local customs from a talented group of artisans. We visited the co-op shoemaker shop (see photo section), where they make a wide variety of colorful sandals, plus intricate leather work and other crafts made from indigenous materials.

Le Jardin Chevalier: At the park like setting of Jardin Chevalier, we saw splendid examples of horticulture, with its selection of trees and shrubs from around the world. Guineans are excellent gardeners. Lawns are carefully nourished, irrigated, and terraced to slope down to the lagoon. Sitting in a lawn chair that evening, with the sunset reflecting in the water and shining through a fringe of oil-palms and slender coconut palms, I could catch the vanishing glamour of the tropics. My night was a fantasy of pleasant dreams

On solid ground: During this journey and my entire three weeks in Guinea, I got the distinct feeling from many people I spoke to at length, that the country is in capable hands. This feeling of confidence, energy and enterprise was illustrated last spring by the solid support our magazine received from the nation's business community. Our website has just added a Business Directory Section that will connect the reader with Guinea's business leaders, and there's much more to come. Encouraged by this support, we plan to reprint the current edition - to keep up with the demand. As the first travel guide in our new Africa Travel Library series, it will be a valuable marketing tool to sell Guinea Trade and Tourism worldwide. One section will cover Guinea's "Slave Road" a joint project of UNESCO and OMT,

If you are interested in a tour covering the same route, contact Dunia Voyages of Conakry, who have a page on this web site.



• The photo (left) is of an attractive young lady from Guinea's Peuhl clan. She is wearing the distinctive hairdo and head dress. Migrating from ancient Egypt the Fulani or "Peulh " are said by some to be of Jewish origin, some having light complexions, with Caucasian features.

The Republic of Guinea is located along 300 km of the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa. Thanks to its abundant natural resource base, there are business and investment opportunities in all sectors of the economy

Guinea is a country that has shaped history while conserving its distinctions. Intersection of civilizations of the African Middle Ages, the country was the center of birth, the extension, and the successions of the grand West African empires. Guinea, always protective of its liberty, was the last to be colonized in West Africa and the first to recuperate its independence.

• Guinea's major ethnic group the Malinke also reside in parts of Mali, Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal, and at an earlier time ruled one West Africa's great empires. Malinke are also known to have originated the best kora musicians in West Africa. The kora is a unique and popular musical instrument in the area. For details on the amazing kora- visit this informative website:

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About Muguette Goufrani

Muguette's background as an airline agent, tour guide and travel agency professional has been the key to her media success, resulting in an ATA Travel Industry Founders Award in Cape Town, South Africa. As a "career globetrotter," Muguette's articles for Africa Travel Magazine have an authentic, multicultural flavor, thanks to painstaking research and the confidence of having lived the experience (walked the walk). Her career positions have included Royal Air Maroc, AOL Airlines, Air Afrique, Matson Lines, Palm Springs Resorts, Club Med, Tahiti Tours and Noumea Tours. Upon graduating from College du Paris, she launched her career in Casablanca, Morocco, where the Goufrani family has operated a tour company for generation Continued,

Photo Credits: Muguette Goufrani / Robert Eilets / Guinea Ministry of Tourism

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