By Tim Woods:
Conakry is a city with few options. Surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic, the only direction in which it can expand is inland. New apartment buildings rise rapidly in the hills to the northeast, with poorer dwellings springing up wherever there’s a gap in between. Yet the city’s heart remains in Kaloum, out on the peninsula’s furthest tip and where the main port, markets, office blocks and government ministries are found.
The result? Traffic clogs the three main highways to Kaloum from before sunrise to long after dusk. My taxi to Ratoma – barely a quarter of the way through the city’s total area – takes more than two hours; the driver’s frequent attempts at a short cut being beaten by potholes, floods or others with the same idea.
“Traffic’s quite a problem in Conakry,” I venture.
“Problems have solutions,” he smiles. “Here, traffic is just life.”