If you have questions that aren't answered in the guide then contact local expert Mohamed: firstname.lastname@example.org he is a lovely guy who gave us a lot of help when we in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone beaches are some of the best in Africa, the country is one of the safest in the region for travellers, yet many people would never consider this small West African country as a holiday destination. The bloody civil war ended more than ten years ago, the country has a stable government and Sierra Leone has so much to offer to visitors. There are direct Sierra Leone flights from London with BMI as well as options via Brussels, Paris and Casablanca. A final Sierra Leone flight option is to travel with Kenyan via Nairobi.
What to do in Sierra Leone? Well, a beach bum could easily spend a week or two in the same spot on the Freetown Peninsula, but you could also consider beach hopping from place to place. This is an interesting time to visit the country as facilities are starting to be developed for tourists; thankfully this is on a small scale as so far has been tastefully done. Sierra Leone hotels for the most part will provide the services that western visitors expect as standard, such as electricity and running (hot) water. It is important to remember that the cost of providing these services, which are not generally available in the country, is high. As such Sierra Leone hotels can seem a little expensive. This is generally more than counterbalanced by genuinely friendly service as well as the sense of adventure that visiting a country so new to international tourism brings.
Some Sierra Leone beaches to consider are Tokeh, the glorious palm lined white sand beach that was the setting of the Bounty “taste of paradise” advert and River Number Two which is on the same stretch of coastline but separated from Tokeh by the river. John Obey is another fabulous beach setting and is also home to the interesting eco-tourism project Tribe Wanted. All three of these locations offer at least one accommodation option in addition to camping and the beaches are clean and well maintained.
Even within the capital there are some great beaches at Aberdeen and Lumley. Sadly they suffer from problems with littering, but on the plus side they are well used by local people giving them a great atmosphere. As well as multiple beach football games to watch there are a few spots to stop for a meal or a drink and there are a number of high end hotels in this part of Freetown.
Beyond the fantastic Sierra Leone beaches, some of the big highlights include the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the hills outside Freetown. The hills are also home to a number of interesting mountain villages, the oldest stone church in West Africa, and some lovely waterfalls. It is worth making a day of it and exploring the area a little more. The Banana Islands, which can be reached by boat from down the Freetown Peninsula are also great for day trips but an overnight stay is also an interesting option.
A little further away from Freetown and the peninsula is Tiwai Island, Sierra Leone’s first community conservation project. The island in the Moa River has an area of just 12km, yet is home to an incredible 11 species of primate a number of which are rare and endangered. During a visit to Tiwai you are likely to see wild chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and Diana monkeys, a plethora of bird life and pygmy hippos.
Another wildlife destination a little further from Freetown is the completely unspoiled Turtle Islands. These islands are home to turtles and small fishing communities. Travel can be arranged through the Turtle Island Conservation Society, who will organise boats and will take you to see the nesting areas of the turtles. Due to the relative difficulty of getting here very few people visit and you can expect to have your chosen island to yourself.
Sierra Leone Facts
Area: 72,325 sq km
Capital city: Freetown (1.2m)
People and languages: Several ethnic groups make up Sierra Leone, including the Temne, the Mende and the Limbas. About 2% of the population are Creoles, descendants of freed slaves returned from the UK and USA. English and Krio are national languages. Indigenous languages are widely spoken.
Religions: Islam, Christianity and indigenous beliefs.
Last Edit by sarahgev on 18/06/2011 EDIT NOW >>