A share taxi from Conakry to Freetown is quite a journey but how does it work? Read about my unpleasant 16 hour experience:
Gare Routiere de Bambeto – Direct Taxi from Conakry to Freetown
The first part of the journey from Conakry to Freetown involves commuting to Gare Routiere de Bambeto. It’s quite a ride from the center of town, I paid a motorbike around $3. Here is the exact location of Bambeto bus stop. Once at the bus station ask where the cars leave to Georgetown from. People who sell the tickets will be looking for passengers so it’s easy to find. I highly recommend you pay for the front 2 seats as this is likely to be at least a 9 hour journey. How long does it take for the share taxi to fill up? For me, I arrived at 8 am and left after 11 am. The only positive I can draw from this 3 hour wait is that because there were no more passengers coming they transferred us to a smaller taxi. As a result, you don’t need to worry about the taxi being cancelled due to lack of passengers.
How is the Road from Conakry to the Sierra Leone Border?
Firstly, there is good and bad news as you leave Conakry. The good news is the road is paved. However, this is somewhat outweighed by the bad news that you’re 100% guaranteed to enter highly congested areas. Once you pass through the congestion and finally leave Conakry the condition of the road deteriorates. It’s a bumpy ride on unpaved roads. What’s more, it’s highly unlikely your share taxi will be air conditioned therefore the famous African red dust will enter through the windows. Windows which you must keep open to avoid being extremely hot!
Guinea Sierra Leone Border Crossing
Under normal circumstances you will head straight from Conakry to the Sierra Leone border which takes around 5 hours. Maybe your driver will make a rest stop before you get there but not for long. Maybe you’ll get a flat tyre? Unfortunately, the day I arrived the border was closed until 6 pm therefore I had to wait in the shade for several hours. Be prepared for absolutely anything on this journey. Fortunately, there are several shops, restaurants as well as money changers on the border.
When I entered Guinea (Bissau to Conakry) I had to pay a soldier $3 because my Yellow Fever vaccine was over 10 years old. Now I’m leaving, a soldier wants $5 because my Yellow Fever vaccine is photocopied. I gave him $2 to stop him wasting my time. The fact is these soldiers find any reason to take money from you. It’s not just foreigners who have to give bribes, every other passenger in the car also had to pay $1 each for no reason at all.
Sierra Leone Visa
Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival on the Sierra Leone border. However, I bought mine when I was in Conakry. Read about my Sierra Leone visa experience in Conakry. $80 in US currency is required to pay for the visa. Thankfully, border guards on the Sierra Leone side of the border do not bribe tourists but welcome them. I was very happy that I left Guinea, my best memory was taking a bats at sunrise photo in Conakry, the rest was an exhausting experience.
Guinea Border to Freetown
When I finally crossed the Guinea Sierra Leone border I witnessed a beautiful sunset. With another 4 hour drive ahead of me to Freetown this meant I would arrive well after dark.
Welcome to Freetown
Apologies for the poor quality photo of my share taxi. This is not a P30 Pro night sight shot at its best! Nonetheless, it gives you a good feeling of the atmosphere as I entered into Freetown. One thing I do recommend is that you talk to your fellow passengers. Most importantly, tell them where you’re going in Freetown and ask them how to get a taxi there. One passenger was very worried about me arriving late and alone in Freetown. He made sure I was in a safe taxi and also called my hotel in advance and made sure the taxi knew exactly where to go.
After setting off from my hotel in Conakry at 7 am, I arrived safely in Freetown hotel at 11 pm.