Don't Miss Places In Sierra Leone
In 1787, an Englishman named Granville Sharp founded Freetown, now Sierra Leone’s capital, as a settlement for escaped slaves. The streets of Freetown present a typical West African scene. Beneath the mosque are market stalls, shared taxi wagons, and colorfully dressed crowds.
The following are the places in Sierra Leone that are not to be missed:
Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (Freetown Western Area)
The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary is an appealing attraction in Sierra Leone. There, you can see chimpanzees up close and learn a lot about them. Upon arrival at the Sanctuary, you’ll pay the entrance ticket that includes a guide. These guides are very knowledgeable, knowing answers to all kinds of questions you may have about chimpanzees. The Sanctuary and chimpanzees are fascinating and worth a visit, even if you’ll need a 4x4 vehicle to get there. It is one of the major attractions in Sierra Leone that highlights their efforts to preserve and protect these special creatures.
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It is almost impossible to visit Sierra Leone without checking out the nursery of the chimpanzees. The best time to see them in action is during supper time,(4:00 pm) because you can watch them gather and grab their food, running into their own corner to enjoy a part of their feast. It is also fun to watch as the large chimpanzee pick through the "exciting" food. The chimpanzees are free to be themselves, and you can observe these animals in their natural habitat. One of the great impressions you will be left with is of a large male chimpanzee climbing to the top of the highest tree and swinging from it. It is a beautiful site in the Freetown peninsula, and it is only 15 minutes away from downtown.
River Number Two Beach
The River Number Two Beach is one of the few pristine beaches where you can relax and leave your worries behind. There are residential homes and a small restaurant. It is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. It offers the most pleasant scenic view of the ocean, and you must bring your partner or family to appreciate this natural beauty. This river forms two paths to the ocean and gives an extraordinary color to the water.
While it is a bit far, most families bring enough food and everything they need to spend some time on a picnic. There is also barbecued meat and seafood for sale along with cooked meals for everyone’s convenience. It is one of the best shorelines on the planet - spotlessly clean, not very many sightseers, and surrounded by lush green covered mountains, fine white sand, and turquoise water.
Being located in West Africa, and teeming with chic empty beaches, Lumley Beach is a good option if you want to frolic in the sun and sand along the African shores. It is very enjoyable and there is no need to take food and drinks from Freetown, because all of these can be bought in shops and bars on the beach. It is clean and almost empty. It is easily accessible from any of the hotel resort areas and within walking distance from the Aberdeen. In the evenings, however, it becomes lively and entertaining due to the variety of musical performances and concerts by local artists. You can enjoy long walks on its promenade and, if you come on a weekend, you can watch the young African locals play football and beach volleyball in competition. You can buy fresh fish during a walk and admire a great place for sports or meditation.
The ships moored by the entrance to the beach add a special touch and character to this idyllic beach. The sand is clean, and the spectacular waves roll and almost reach up to the cafes and shanties. The food in the cafe is highly enjoyable and affordable. It also has its own shops that sell cheap souvenirs. In August, the water is cool - and sometimes even cloudy - but the atmosphere of absolute serenity there is simply mesmerizing.
John Obey Beach
One of the ideal holiday destinations in Sierra Leone is the John Obey Beach. It is famous for its sustainable lodging units. As part of an interesting nationwide project, most of the accommodations are environmentally viable, well-groomed and clean. There is no problem finding a place to stay while you enjoy the beach as all units are ideal for camping and catering.
You can spend all afternoon relaxing in the available hammocks while everyone takes a dip or plays on the beach. You also have the chance to discover a local fishing village with hospitable families who’ll welcome you into their home. This place, and the beach, provides lots of surprises and is an absolute must to discover.
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum is a historical museum on the history of the Sierra Leone Railway. While there, you will be accompanied by an expert guide. The odd thing about the place is that there are no existing railways, just the trams where you can observe the design and history of each. At the end of the tour, the guide will ask you to donate something and sign the guestbook.
It looks somewhat like the British left and locked this warehouse full of old trains back in 1958. The vehicles still remain intact mostly as they were. This is the best way to cross the waterway around a large portion of the littler towns, for example, Daru. At least a short visit is a must for understanding the early means of transportation in Sierra Leone.
National Cotton Tree
This attraction is nothing more than a rotunda and a National Cotton Tree that has become a symbol of the capital city, Freetown. Right next door to this landmark attraction is the national museum and the court - just a few more meters away is the market for tourists and other business activities as well as other major establishments. It is considered the center of Freetown, although most locals say Freetown has no center, instead it is divided into many areas.
One of the few attractions of Freetown is a large 500-year-old Cotton Tree. This tree is located in downtown, in the middle of a roundabout. That said, it is a useful landmark in the city and a particularly helpful sign or destination when you ask for directions about where the downtown of Sierra Leone is. Aside from the birds, bats are commonly found hanging around its branches - especially at night.
Aberdeen is the beachfront district of Freetown overlooking the lagoon with a bridge that allows you to go straight to Far Beach, with beach mileage that is often empty. Here you can find beachside bars where you can spend time relaxing both day and night. Aberdeen is mostly a resort community in Sierra Leone.
The locals say it is the safest area of the capital, and includes a large number of hotels, lodges and restaurants. You can find all the nightlife and, of course, its magnificent beach. Tourists are mostly attracted to the local’s effort to amuse and entertain anyone who visits Aberdeen. Despite all of the attractions, the streets are for the most part quiet during the day.
Sierra Leone National Museum
The Sierra Leone National Museum is not large, but it is very picturesque. Tourists really enjoy the old pie, which went on the seas and residents of this beautiful country, hundreds of years ago. It also has a remarkable collection of traditional masks that are still worn by the locals on holidays. There are several figures of warriors from the old era. The museum makes it possible to imagine how they lived, fought and protected the ancestors of the modern inhabitants of Sierra Leone.
This museum holds valuable information about the history of the country. From here, you will learn that in 1808, Sierra Leone peninsula became a British colony, and soon British rule spread inland. The country became independent in 1961. Some of the descendants of freed slaves, the Creoles, still live near Freetown and speak Krio, a dialect of English. They are far outnumbered by the indigenous people, the Mende in the south and the Temne in the west. Since independence, there have been periods of military and single–party rule.
The Bunce Island is like an unnerving transport back in time of the early inhabitants of Sierra Leone. Many may agree that this site deserves to be upheld as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or as a rich cultural landmark of Sierra Leone. Venturing onto this island is similar to going back in time, from the deserted cannons donning the seal of Queen Victoria up to the fort of the shocking slave post.
It is best to hire the guides that can be found anywhere on the island and they hold lots of chilling stories with the help of a neighborhood interpreter. To explore this place comfortably, wear good strolling shoes and warm clothes with sleeves. You’ll also need an adequate mosquito repellent because you’ll be treking through the thick forest.
The Lakka Beach is near the downtown area of Sierra Leone, yet it is considerably less crowded than that of the touristy sites like the Aberdeen or Lumley Beach. This site has a rip tide, yet the swimming is still excellent and most swimmers are mindful of the rip tide presence. There are a few dining places here that serve extraordinary flame broiled lobster, and you can choose lobsters right from the cages. Barbecued fish and huge shrimps are additionally remarkable and the beach is a famous meeting point for several NGO offices that work for Sierra Leone.
The Lakka shoreline is not as astoundingly lovely as the other shorelines of Sierra Leone, but it is near Freetown (around 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the volume of the traffic). The water is warm and there are some pubs/bars/bistros along the shoreline that offer high-end brews, carbonated soda, mineral water, and grilled fish. All of the seafood and lobsters are freshly captured by the local fishermen who reside in the nearby fishing village, so it is guaranteed to be clean and fresh. Towards the end of the day, you can see vessels landing and unloading all the fish, crabs, and the huge catch of the day.
When it comes to food, the options are very delectable. The friendly and endearing locals will greet and welcome guests along the way. This shoreline is never empty and always busy, as there are more sightseers, contract workers, and Sierra Leoneans, who visit Lakka Beach than any other shoreline, due to its closeness to Freetown. However, it looks more vibrant because it is always full of people and it gives a positive impression of the country ever since the Ebola scare that has hounded Western Africa.
Located along the shoreline is the official headquarters of the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA), a neighborhood NGO that initiates awareness campaign and projects about environmental protection in their nation. You can visit and learn some valuable information about eco-tourism. Currently undergoing construction works for rehabilitation, the staff believe that toward the end of this current year, the Biodiversity Learning Center will be finished. When that occurs, they will have tons of methods for promoting the tourism and natural highlights of Sierra Leone.
Mount Bintumani, Loma Mountains
Mount Bintumani of the Loma Mountains is a Sierra Leone mountain that is mostly visited by experienced and established mountain hikers. This mountain has its own magnificence and showcases its diverse personality among the other mountains you can find in this country. It is an extraordinary spot to ascend, trek, and engage in intense mountaineering.
This is the most elevated crest of Sierra Leone with an imposing stature of 1945 meters. This peak is also otherwise known by the locals as the Loma Mansa. The base areas of the mountain is secured with thick green and lush tropical forest, and contains a few wild animals that can only be found in the magical land of Sierra Leone.
Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are an avid wildlife enthusiast, then the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary is the best tour option for you while in Sierra Leone. The Island offers astounding shared perspectives of the Tiwai Island wildlife, and is full of exciting segments of the animal kingdom. This Island is considered an inner portion of the Moa River.
There is a wide variety of wildlife to observe - and if you are into hippopotami, a great number of them can be seen roaming around this exclusive sanctuary for wild animals. It is highly recommended that you bring a good camera with plenty of space on your memory card for those unforgettable photos of Sierra Leone.
The Turtle Islands gained prominence because of its natural charisma. This striking island has become the official home to some turtles which are kept, studied, and preserved in this sanctuary. They are also monitored to see if they returned back to the shore. The entire island is actually a blend of eight tranquil and serene islands in Sierra Leone. There is also a fishing group that settles on this island, and every morning, the fresh catch of the day can be purchased at a much lower price than the local market. The cold breeze from the ocean and the clean water makes this island the most stunning part of the country. You can also engage yourself in a fishing expedition with the experts just to have the experience of angling with the most skilled fishermen of Sierra Leone. For this adventure, you must rent a speedboat from Freetown for about three hours, or you can save money by going on your own and waiting for a local vessel to transport you to the Turtle Islands.
Sierra Leone is one of the progressive nations in Africa that has greatly improved in terms of nature, economy, tourism, and assets. It cannot be denied that. After the civil war, the country had lost a great part of tourist arrivals and had a struggling economy. Yet the movers of this nation are attempting their best to reconstruct or rehabilitate the spots just like before and they have a goal to make tourist influx more than twice what it used to be. The island boasts beautiful white sand shorelines, and the high tops of the mountains are waiting to be conquered. The intriguing islands and the unmatched natural life in this part of the world has created for Sierra Leone a slow but sure approach as one of the top tourist destinations in Western Africa.