SIERRA LEONE TOURIST INFORMATION AND ATTRACTIONS
Located on the West Coast of Africa between latitudes 7 and 10 degrees north and longitudes 10.5 and 13 degrees west, Sierra Leone is a tropical paradise of awe inspiring rain forest and beautiful white beaches where a wonderful blend of heritage, history and culture is there for all to see and experience - and all just six hours away with our non stop Freetown Flyer from London.
Today, Heathrow is witnessing an increasing number of small groups of tourists complete with golf clubs, fishing paraphernalia, sea diving or water sport equipment; all boarding the Freetown Flyer for an adventure of a lifetime. It would appear that the more sophisticated adventure traveller has discovered the secret of an exciting way in which to take their pursuits to a new higher level, enjoying the unique benefits that Sierra Leone has to offer.Bathed in 80 degree temperatures throughout the year, with quiet palm treed white beaches providing the perfect backdrop and wonderful people always ready with the warmest of welcomes, this beautiful little country has indeed become one of the world’s surprising "little secrets".
BEACHES AND ISLANDS
Freetown Peninsula: The mountains meet the see around the Freetown peninsula making for amazing scenery. The beaches are not overwhelmed with visitors which means that most are still in pristine condition.
Turners Peninsula : This is between the Moa and Mano Rivers. Access is not great and is believed to be easier from Liberia side of the border. They are also believed to offer surf-quality waves. About 11km in length.
Turtle Islands: A group of islands off the southwest peninsular. Turtle Islands is very beautiful and comprises of various fishing communities. A boat ride from Freetown to turtle will last over four hours and will set you back a few hundred dollars.
Banana Islands: The Banana Islands lie south west of the Freetown Peninsula in Sierra Leone. The Islands are about 20mins boat ride from Kent, and offers good opportunities for snorkelling and fishing.There are three islands - Dublin Island, Ricketts Island and Mes-Meheux. Mes-Meheux is the uninhabited third island of the Banana Islands.
NATURE AND WILDLIFE
Bonthe Fishing Camp : The town of Bonthe on Sherbro Island was a thriving port for the export of local produce, especially piassava. The four large churches still active in the town reflect its former glory. The remains of the stations operated by the colonial trading companies still exist. Nowadays the town is the administrative centre for the district, an area relying on fishing and farming. The population of the area is about 800,000 including all the outlying villages. There are few shops in the town, but there is a bustling market open daily. There is no motorised transport on the island. It is a haven of peace and quiet.Bonthe is a remote, attractive, old town on a large island off southern Sierra Leone. In colonial times it used to be a major trading centre for piassava and other agricultural products.The camp has easy access to the estuaries of the Sherbro and Kittam rivers, home of 12 currently listed IGFA world record catches of tarpon. The Tarpon season there is from January to May.
Tacugama Wildlife Sanctuary: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary situated outside of picturesque Regent Village is only 30mins from Freetown. Established to rescue orphaned and captured chimps, the facilities expanded to encompass two large reserves. Tacugama has been featured in various wildlife programmes and magazines. A rescued albino chimp at the sanctuary also helped to bring it to international attention. The albino chimp is no longer alive but the sanctuary continues to grow from strength to strength.
Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary: Tiwai is a community conservation program, managed by the Tiwai Island Administrative Committee (TIAC), which represents both communities, government, Universities & conservation organizations.135 different bird species, including 8 types of hornbills can be found on Tiwai. You can arrange boat tours and forest walks. If you’re very lucky you could catch a sighting of the rare pygmy hippopotamus. Be prepared to camp.
Outamba Kilimi National Park: Outamba Kilimi National Park is found in the extreme north, about 296 km north of Freetown. It lies adjacent to the border with the Republic of Guinea, in the Tambakha Chiefdom, Bombali District, Northern Province. The two areas, Outamba (74,100 ha) and Kilimi (36,800 ha), that constitute the park are separated by a stretch of land 1000 km2 in size. The vegetation is characterised by a mosaic of grassland, closed woodland and gallery forest. Whereas, Outamba has a predominance of tall grasses and woodland, and patches of closed canopy forest, Kilimi has more grassland and more open woodland. There are traces of Raffia swamp vegetation and riverine grassland in both areas. Outamba has a perennial lake, Lake Idrissa. The land in general is agriculturally poor. Outamba Kilimi National Park is situated in the northern most region of the country and boasts a variety of wildlife species and a rich eco-system. There used to be a camp there which was destroyed by the war. There is still tented accommodation for visitors and boat trips and guided tours can be arranged.
HISTORICAL AND EDUCATIONAL
Bunce Island: Bunce Island was established as a major slave trading fortress and castle in 1670, is locate approximately twenty miles upriver in the Freetown Harbor on the Sierra Leone River. Bunce Island is a small piece of land measuring just 1700 feet long and 300 feet wide. Built in the 17th century, Bunce Island’s old structures capture the past in the present.Bunce Island is not only a rich experience for descendants of slaves who may have left the coast but also for anyone interested in the history of Sierra Leone and the slave trade.
Old Fourah Bay College: Old Fourah Bay College is probably Freetown's most famous institution , it is the oldest university in West Africa. In it's former splendor, Sierra Leone became known as the "Athens of West Africa" as scholars from all over Africa would travel to Sierra Leone to further their education. Samuel Adjai Crowther, the college’s first student, later becomes the first home-grown Bishop of West Africa.
Sierra Leone Museum: The Sierra Leone Museum (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm; entry by donation) was, until 1929, a railway terminus ("Cotton Tree Station") at the foot of the "Hill railway" up to Wilberforce and Hill Station. The collections are worth a visit. There are not many visitors and you’re likely to get a guided tour of some kind. There are a range of other artefacts on view, including the original drum of Bai Bureh.
Sierra Leone National Railway Museum:The Sierra Leone National Railway Museum was established by Col. Steve Davies MBE, Deputy Commander of the International Military Advisory Training Team in Sierra Leone, working in his spare time with a team of fifteen young unemployed Sierra Leoneans. Together they have transformed a shed of locomotives, abandoned since abolition of the State railway in 1974, into the country's first railway museum (and second national museum). It includes a coach built for the State Visit of HM The Queen in 1961.