Conakry wouldn’t top many lists of ideal holiday destinations. Has Judith Chalmers ever reclined a sun lounger in Guinea’s capital?
The UK Government’s travel advice reads like a list of reasons to stay away. Violent car-jackings, kidnapping, extortion, criminal gangs, robberies and trading scams are just some of the issues affecting the African port. Maybe we should stick with Bognor this year, Patricia.
Fine, but Conakry can claim one thing: a bountiful supply of old French cars. As these images from an Austrian travel photographer reveal, the mean streets of Conakry are lined with French gold. Given the state of the roads, this is no surprise. Soft suspension is a necessity.
Unofficial yellow taxis run on black steelies. The Renault 19, Peugeot 309 and Peugeot 505 appear to be the taxi of choice for the enterprising Conakry cabbie.
How many Conakry cars arrived via official channels is unknown. Put it this way: somebody in Switzerland might be missing a Peugeot 306.
Few, if any of the cars you’ll see in the following photos would pass an MOT in the UK. Why have a pair of working headlights when one will suffice? Body parts with jagged edges are a problem for pedestrians. Slick tyres? Get you to the port faster, Monsieur.
Can’t find a place to park? Stick your 309 on a pile of building materials. Grande Designs?
In a scene reminiscent of a scene from Conakry’s version of Duel, a Peugeot 505 rests with its bonnet open while a tanker looks on ominously. The roof rack and ‘turbo’ decals are rare treats. The Renault 21 Savanna is for sale and looks tidier than most of the cars you’ll find on Facebook Marketplace.
Fancy a Peugeot 505 Estate? There’s one available at the breakers’ yard, although your head might be turned by the Opel Vectra finished in a glorious shade of ‘Polizei Grün’. The flat tyre comes free, sir.
It’s not all French tat. Check out the Mazda 121, aka the Autozam Revue. Also note the Nissan March (Micra) with the yellow spotlights. They go well with the yellow school bus.
Conakry might not be good enough for Judith Chalmers, but PetrolBlog is adding it to the list of road trip destinations. Wish you were here?
All images © iStock and aroundtheworld.photography