Waterloo normally has no spot on the tourist map. The most attention it gets is as a town where you pass through on your way to Bureh beach or Kent. However, there is a true hidden gem in this seemingly unadventurous town; the Ategbeh Garden. With cultural workshops and eco-lodges built with local materials, this getaway is especially interesting for the more sober-minded tourist. Read on to discover what the Ategbeh Garden has to offer.

Lodges surrounded by green

To clarify, the Ategbeh Garden is not really a garden, it is the general name for three cottages that have been built in a tropical garden. The result is quite spectacular. Palms and a cashew tree shade the fertile soil. Surrounding the cottages are farms where the beloved Sierra Leonean plasas are grown; potato leaves, cassava leaves, greens and krain krain. Chickens squarrel about, colourful birds relax in the fruit trees, their song part of the gardens’ tranquil soundscape.

The cottages themselves are built in an eco-friendly fashion, aiming also to support local craftsmen and women. Almost all the materials used are sourced locally, including the bedframes, the tie-dyed bedspreads and the dark-wooden floor. The result is an afro-chique, bright and clean lodge with a Sierra Leonean twist. The cabins are also price-friendly, ranging from $50-55,- per night, including meals.

Cultural workshops

The creators of the Ategbeh Garden are Ayo and Beth, a British-Sierra Leonean couple who spend half of the year running the guesthouse. They also offer cultural workshops to elevate your holiday to the next level, leaving you with skills you might have never envisioned yourself having.

Ayo is a renowned Sierra Leonean artist that has been living and working in the UK for 30 years. He offers drumming workshops that will take you through the musical history of the bata (the Sierra Leonean name for the drum that is also known as the djembé or the bongo). Ayo takes you through the ins and outs of drumming with extensive knowledge and a playful teaching style. The result is that even those without a single musical bone in their body leave the Ategbeh Garden with rhythm in their hands.

For those who are more interested in the intriguing masque culture of Sierra Leone, Ayo’s brother Abai offers a masque-making workshop. Here you can learn everything you need to know about full-body masques. From creating them to using them in full-body masquerades.

These workshops are offered every two or three months and cost 35$ per day. There is often a special offer that combines a night at the lodge with a workshop, or a total package for two workshops in one weekend.

To summarize, Ategbeh Garden is a perfect getaway to recharge your battery, either by getting involved with the arts or by simply lazing about in a hammock and watching the birds. The garden is only 20 minutes away from Bureh beach, Kent and Mama beach, which are some of the peninsula’s finest beaches. And in case you wondered what Ategbeh means, it means ‘that what is inside,’ or ‘content,’ in Loko.


£35-39, –  per night (approx. $50-55, -)

$35, – per workshop

How to get there

It is quite a daunting task to get there, so it is advisable to rent a private vehicle with VSL to get there. The address is Cambletown road, Ategbeh, Waterloo.

* please note that the Ategbeh Garden is only opened during the dry season from October to May.