Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

“This place saw all sorts of armed conflict not very long ago, so the locals don’t yet have much experience of dealing with tourists. The fact is, though, Sierra Leone has become one of the safest countries in Africa. There are no atrocities committed against tourists now, and the locals are extremely friendly. Unfortunately, however, the above circumstances mean it is still very much a ‘true sub-Saharan Africa’ destination, with all that that implies, and it will remain that way for some time. Still, that’s no problem at all, so long as the tourist is prepared, and knows what to expect in the real Africa. (2018)

 

Practicals

Transport

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Sierra Leone - country road

Others

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Sierra Leone - an environmentally conscious punk singer

Background

Destination in brief

Sierra Leone is West Arican country with a coastline along the the Atlantic Ocean. Neighbors: Guinea (north and east), Liberia (south east).

Sierra Leone was called Salone. The country takes its name from the Lion Mountains near Freetown.

Size:71,740 km² (27,700 mi²)

Capital city: Freetown

Population (in 2020): 7.9. million

At 52.4 years, average life expectancy at birth in Sierra Leone is the worst in the world.

Languages: English is the official language, but Krio is the most widely spoken - English-speaking locals are mostly living in the cities - Krio is an English-based informal mixture of speech

Religions:72% Sunni Muslim, 11,2% Traditional native beliefs 

Form of government:presidential representative democratic republic

Sierra Leone is the 9th poorest country in the world. (Central African Republic is the poorest)

Sierra Leone's economy is based on the export of diamond.

Currency: Sierra Leonean leone (SLL)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 520 USD

Most common surname: Kamara

The country is quite safe for visitors.

Top tourist attractions: Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Tokeh Beach, Turtle Islands, Lakka Beach,Tiwai Island wildlife sanctuary, Outamba Kilimi National Park, Bombali

Nowadays

“There are virtually endless opportunities to promote Sierra Leone as a beach holiday destination, but I have no idea how it could succeed. The first thing would be to overcome the reluctance of Western holidaymakers and tourists when it comes to Africa, which in turn would make it worthwhile to invest in infrastructure and hospitality facilities. But as long as no one wants to come here, it would be stupid to spend money on nothing. So I guess it’s one of those catch-22 situations. This, in turn, leaves it for the chilled-out backpackers and a brave handful of wealthier tourists, who take an air-conditioned jeep or even a helicopter from the city to their seafront lodge, so they don’t have to encounter too much Africa...” (2018)

Sierra leone - Freetown - i.s. photo

People

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Sierra Leone - joy - h.b. photo

Sierra Leone - kids

Tourist etiquette

1. Every communication must start with a polite greeting, a hello.
2. Very unpolite to refuse an offered meal, especially food that was prepared by the host

Attractions

Freetown

“Freetown is a relatively liveable city, but visitors shouldn’t expect a hassle-free leisure experience. The number of tourists is almost zero, but the crowds of people and cars streaming into the city can be pretty frustrating if you just want to take a walk in the old town. It’s hard to even walk down the street. The suburban slums aren’t exactly reassuring (just like everywhere else), while in the windy coastal districts you hardly even see a dog out walking, which is kind of annoying. Some crazy huge hotel construction has begun along the coast, but work seemed to have stalled, which is hardly a surprise. I think even the huge Hilton investment being built at Cape Sierra has gone bankrupt, or at least there’s no activity around the semi-finished buildings. The downside is that conditions on Freetown beach are not ideal for the stratum which could afford a luxury hotel.

The city beach is pretty long, stretches for miles, and, unlike the Guinean coastline, is still tidy. On the other hand, a stinking soul (i.e., a white-skinned tourist) encounters nobody — except for a few local loafers — which is pretty crappy on a city beach. There are plenty of things you don’t feel like doing in such a situation, and stripping off and changing into a bathing suit is especially unappealing. In this respect, the beaches outside the town, near the fishing villages, are a thousand times better, because at least there’s no one there besides ourselves.” (2018)

 



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