Guinea - In Guinea you can trek through beautiful highland scenery and travel along new roads into the jungles of the southeast. But its bleak past has scorched its earth. It still reels from a regime that turned its back on liberté, égalité and fraternité and embraced Maoist ideology in the 1950s.
Much of the accommodation for travellers is substandard and the food is basic. Transport timetables, if you can find them, are ignored. And rain and creeping jungles are reclaiming the ruined railway tracks and the last vestiges of colonial rule.
Ghosts of French bwanas sip absinthe in the cool Fouta Djalon highlands, and catch steam locomotives that have long since ceased running. Most of the teeming wildlife of the jungles and plains is a faint glimmer of what it once was. Phantom Islamic armies swoop down from the north and turn the gorgeous Fouta Djalon into a slaughterhouse in the 17th century, then are drowned out by the insistent clamour of European slavers in the 18th and fiercely nationalistic rebels in the 19th. Maoist cadres from the 20th century despair at forced collectivisation's abject failure, and thousands of citizens flee across the borders to escape the el supremo delusions of a despot drunk on his own juice.
Le Meridien Mariador Palace
5 Star Hotel
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