Tourist Places to Visit in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Africa
Sierra Leone is a West African country geographically positioned on the Atlantic Ocean Coast at 8.4844° N, 13.2344° W. It shares its land borders with Liberia towards the southeast, Guinea towards the northeast, while its sea border is shared with the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. The other important cities of Sierra Leone include:
Geographically, Sierra Leone is a diverse country with features ranging from savannah to rainforests. The total area of Sierra Leone measures 71,740 sq. km. The capital Freetown stands as the capital of Sierra Leone tourism with spectacular beaches, nature reserves, art and craft houses and museums.
History of Sierra Leone:
The history of Sierra Leone dates back to 15th century, when it was visited by Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, who named it Serra de Leôa, which means ‘Lioness Mountain’. Sierra Leone fell under the British rule in the early 19th century and after nearly 150 years of British rule, in 1961, Sierra Leone became an independent country on 27 April 1961 and became republic on 19 April 1971.
Getting Sierra Leone:
The Lungi International Airport is the primary airport of Sierra Leone, situated in the town of Lungi, around 28 km northwest of the national capital Freetown. The airport links Sierra Leone to many important European and African cities including London, Paris, Nairobi, Casablanca and Brussels.
The Sierra Leone Road Transport Authority operates intercity bus services between the major cities of the country. Minibuses (poda poda) are another option for intercity travel. Rental cars and motorbikes are the convenient options for local travel in Sierra Leonean cities.
Culture, Food and Shopping in Sierra Leone:
The population of Sierra Leone is formed by sixteen ethnic groups, dominated by the Temne and the Mende. Muslims are higher in the majority, while Krio is a commonly spoken language in Sierra Leone.
Although inexpensive, local crafts are famous among visitors coming to Sierra Leone. Rice is the major staple food of Sierra Leonean cuisine. Meat, fish and green vegetables are also widely consumed by Sierra Leonean people.
Things to do in Sierra Leone:
- Exploring beaches
Must see in Sierra Leone:
National Rail Museum:
The National Rail Museum is situated in Cline Town of Freetown. The museum’s collection includes numerous steam/diesel locomotives and carriages. No entry fee, guide is provided, but donations are welcomed. The museum is open from 10:30-17:00 (Monday-Saturday).
Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary:
The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary is one of the recommended places to visit in Sierra Leone. It is located on the outskirts of Freetown, home to a substantial number of chimpanzees. It is allowed for visitors both in the morning (10:30AM) and evening (4:00PM) on all days of the week.
Beaches of Freetown:
Beaches of Freetown are the heartbeat of Sierra Leone’s tourism. They are large in number, accounting more than 10, with genuine natural beauty that is amazing, engaging and totally superb. Some excellent beaches include Goderich Beach, Lumley Beach, Hamilton Beach and Black Johnson Beach.
St. John’s Maroon Church:
Although being small in size, the St. John’s Maroon Church is a magnificent historical church, located in Freetown. Constructed in 1820, it was designated as a national heritage site in the year 1956.
Sierra Leone National Museum:
The Sierra Leone National Museum is situated near the City Hall in Freetown. The museum concentrates on showcasing the history and culture of Sierra Leone with nicely stored artifacts and artworks, including personal belongings of a prominent freedom fighter Bai Bureh.
List of other places of interest in Sierra Leone include:
- Cape Sierra Leone Lighthouse
- Hill Station Club
- Charlotte Falls
- Mamah Beach
- Bureh Beach
When to visit Sierra Leone?
Sierra Leone experiences a tropical climate with relatively hot and humid weather year round. Its average annual temperature is 26 °C. The best and most preferred time to visit Sierra Leone is from December to May.
Where to stay in Sierra Leone?
The hospitality industry of Sierra Leone is centered in the capital city Freetown. General price for a single room in guesthouses ranges between $35-$50, if it is in mid range hotel that costs between $100 and $180, depending on amenities and season. List of the prominent hotels in Sierra Leone (Freetown include):
- Family Kingdom Resort
- Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel
- Kimbima Hotel
- Bintumani Hotel
- Swiss Spirit Hotel & Suites Freetown
- The Rogbonko Village Retreat
- Mamba Point Guesthouse
- Cockle Point
- Lacs Villa Guest House
- Leone Lodge Freetown
- Hotel de la Joie
- Njala IAR Guesthouse
- Sierra International Hotel
- Simple Goal Guest House
- Raza Guest House