14-Sep-2005 -- Story continues from 12N 15W.
This is the first confluence visit in Guinea and the third visit of a Confluence on our 3-week bicycle tour in West Africa from Dakar (Senegal) to Conakry (Guinea).
After almost 3 weeks of cycling in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea we came close to our final destination, Conakry. Choosing the rainy season for a bike trip may sound strange and travel guides don't recommend travelling in that period. I don't know how the dry season is like, but we did in fact enjoy the rain as a nice cool down. The landscape is green, the roads are not dusty and hotels are always empty.
We entered Guinea from the North at the town Koundara. Between Koundara and Labé we cheated and took a taxi for 255 km. The reason was our limited time and the road conditions in that undeveloped region. The taxi needed 20 hours for that distance and we were cramped in a Peugeot 505 with 14.5 people (4 in the front, 8 and 1 child in the back, 2 on the roof). Actually, we had to change the taxi at an impassable river, which had to be crossed by a pirogue. Finally, arriving in Labé at 2 a.m. in the night, we were keen on getting a hotel room. But the driver refused to unload the luggage until dawn – so we had to spend the night in the car.
From Labé southwards there is a slightly better infrastructure along the highland road Pita – Dalaba – Mamou – Kindia with optimal biking conditions. From the town Kindia is just another 20 km beeline to the Confluence. From our hotel in Kindia I started in the early morning at 6:30 a.m. along the busiest 'highway' of Guinea (the N1) towards Coyah. After an up and down of 20 km on the paved road I reached the town Friguiagbé where a small road was supposed to intersect. It turned out that the intersection was – in contradiction to the map – 5 km past Friguiagbé. At the intersection I confirmed with locals, that this was the road towards Samaya.
This road was muddy, hilly, but bikable. Soon I crossed the railroad line between Conakry and Kindia. Unfortunately, it has not been in use for some decades. Continuing on that muddy road I got as close as 180 m to the CP. When I left the road into the fields, some walking ladies yelled at me – probably they were asking where I wanted to go. I just answered 'géografique' in a calm voice and continued. To my relief nobody followed me and I could peacefully document the Confluence. I carried my bike directly to the spot. I first thought that I had to cross a graveyard, but looking closer, the mounds were fields with freshly planted manioc. Although electricity in Guinea is rarely existent, at this Confluence it is! The point is squeezed between two overhead power lines. The reason is a nearby power plant and a dam.
On my way back I visited a nearby village (500 m distance) and watched a lady peeling manioc roots. At 10:15 a.m. I was back to Kindia, had my breakfast and continued the trip for Conakry that day.
CP visit details:
- Time at CP: 8:15 a.m.
- Duration: 4 hours (until I was back to Kindia)
- Distance of bike parking: 0 m
- Distance as GPS displays: 0.3 m
- Accuracy according to GPS: 7 m
- GPS height: 385 m
- Description: In the mountain region of Guinea in a populated area near the large town Kindia. The point is at the edge of a huge manioc plantation. To the East is a forest with palm trees and other trees and bushes. The exact location is on a small meadow.
- Given Name: The Manioc Mounds Confluence