Sierra Leone is found in West Africa and shares borders with Guinea to the northwest, north and northeast, in the southeast by Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.
The country lies on a vast flat plain which is 110km (70 miles) wide. Other physical features in Sierra Leone include the Freetown peninsula, Sierra Lyoa Mountains 1,000m, Loma Mountains, Tingi Hills, Guinea highlands, sand bars and a coastal plain covered in dense forests. The central parts of the country are covered in thick rain forests which are crisscrossed by rivers and small water streams. forested area, drained by eight principal rivers, which has been cleared for agriculture.
Freetown Penninsula is the most visited part of Sierra house, a former settlement for freed slaves from European and other parts of the world. This dramatic landscape is home to Leceister Park, towering mountains, undulating hills and Creole villages such as Regent, Gloucester.
The most interesting parts of the country are the scenic islands in the Atlantic. Some of the most fascinating islands include Banana Islands, Bunce islands which can be toured on boat rides. Banana islands are renowned for exciting diving and snorkelling adventures in Sierra Leone besides the old dwarf town of Dublin.
Bunce islands tours are a peep into the early slave trade era of 1670 to1808. Men Africans were shipped from this island to West Indies and North America to slave as free labor on sugar, tea, cotton and coffee plantations.
Freetown is a beautiful green town whose attractions include a 500-year-old cotton tree, Freetown museum, Marcon’s Church built in 1820, the De Ruyter Stone, Government Wharf and ‘King’s Yard’ (where freed slaves waited to be given land) and Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa. Other famous attractions in Freetown include the City Hotel, which is written about in Graham Greene’s novel The Heart of the Matter and King Jimmy Market.
Flora and Fauna
Outamba-Kilimi National Park is the only national park in Sierra Leone located a few minutes drive from Freetown to the north. Some of the wildlife in this park includes elephants, pygmy hippos, chimpanzees, monkeys, antelopes and other small mammals.
Other places to visit for nature tours in Sierra Leone include Sakanbiarwa reserve for several orchids and plants that bloom during January and Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary which is home to 80 chimpanzees.
Sierra National Airlines is the National carrier although not in service lately. Flights to Sierra Leone are by BMI, Kenya Airways, Air France and Brussels Airlines among others. Many airlines have flights to London from Freetown (8hours flights). The main airport is called Freetown International Airport (FNA) located in the capital Freetown….13km from the city centre.
Alternative transport to Sierra Leone is by road via its neighbors. Freetown has a port for sea travel and cargo ships from Liberia and Guinea. Public transport is available for getting around using a catamaran/ferry link as well as taxi and bus services to the city.
The weather is good all through the year. November to April is the hot dry season which occasional rainstorms especially for areas near the coast. The rainy season is during the months of May to November.
In December and January, the dry, dusty Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. The coastal regions are quite cooler compared to the northern parts of the country.
There are a number of hotels in Sierra Leone especially in Freetown offering hotel facilities with air conditioning, restaurants, swimming pools, tours, business centre, conference and overnight accommodation. There are luxury hotels located on the peninsula at Lakka and Tokay. The YMCA in Freetown offers clean, cheap accommodation with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities at a reasonable rate. It is always advisable to make reservations in advance.
Going to Sierra Leone for holidays and leisure requires some good time of planning and flexibility as such we recommend arranging as much as possible in advance. Remember that Sierra Leone you shouldn’t expect much of a Heaven on earth. It is sometimes tough to organise tours to Sierra Leone given its background and history but believe it is quite fun.
If you are going to be on holiday, it is probably not the place if you always desire the finest things in life. Regardless, the people of Sierra Leone often called the Sierra Leoneans will welcome you with open arms and wide smiles.
Here is quick look into what to think of while planning travel and holidays to Sierra Leone.
Visas and Travel Documents
All persons entering Sierra Leone must have a valid passport or travel document. Citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) do not require a visa to enter the country, but citizens of all other countries do.
It is advisable to try and get a visa way before you arrive in Sierra Leone. the challenge with getting visa on arrival is that some flights will not allow you to have direct flights to Sierra Leone-besides it is time consuming and tiresome after the long journeys from wherever you are coming from.
For convenience any of Sierra Leone’s overseas missions but in the event you do not get any where you live, check online for bookings and applications at Sierra Leone Travel sites.
A vaccination certificate for yellow fever is required if traveling to Sierra Leone. Consult the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) for up to date travel health information.
Remember to take anti-malaria tablets and consult your doctor or consult your physician for malaria treatment at least six to eight weeks prior to you travel date. The West African region where Sierra Leone is found is much a mosquito infested region and the last thing you want is to end your Sierra Leone Holiday prematurely because of Malaria.
If you travel outside of Freetown the capital, there will be fewer opportunities for health care, particularly in remote regions.
Travel Insurance / Medical Insurance
We advise that visitors purchase comprehensive travel insurance covering injury, illness, death, delayed lost or damaged baggage and personal belongings. Include a Medical evacuation plan into your medical insurance for instances of severe medical complications.
Hotels and Other Accommodation
The best hotels in Sierra Leone would probably be 3-star hotels if ranking internationally mostly found in Freetown and near the beach. As a third world country-there isn’t as much to expect but you’ll find very interesting options in cities and towns. Other options include homestays with a Sierra Leonean family, lodges and guesthouses in the centre of town.
Credit Card Use in Sierra Leone
Credit card use in Sierra Leone is very limited to some hotels and Banks. It is strongly advised that you exchange you dollars and forex to local currency as most of the transactions are done in local currency. Further still you can book in advance with a service provider through A sierra Leone travel agent online using your credit card.
Local People and Customs
The people of Sierra Leone welcome visitors and are proud to show off their country. There are few social restrictions, though sensitivity is suggested in the more rural areas. English is widely spoken in Freetown though Krio and tribal languages are more prevalent in the countryside. Translators are available.
Always ask permission before taking pictures of nationals. In most cases they will be happy to comply, especially if you promise to send them a copy of the picture! But if you promise, be sure to follow through!
For more information about holidays, flights, adventure and tours in Sierra Leone.