Pickett Hill, situated in the Peninsula near Waterloo, Western Area in Sierra Leone is a 855m (2,805ft) mountain rising above sea level and the highest peak in Freetown and the 13th highest mountain in the whole of Sierra Leone. The Peninsula in Freetown is the only part of West Africa where mountains rise high above sea level giving the capital (Freetown) and the surrounding its magical landscape.
Though a majority of the village’s inhabitants are Muslims, one can still see traditional huts used as shrines where the villagers often seek protection from their gods. Coba water is the last existing village when climbing Pickett Hill but there are other villages-though no longer in existence, that still have some significance in Sierra Leone’s history.
Like Yankeh Soko for example was a village named after a famous and popular herbalist-Yankeh Soko who was very popular within the Western Area. Yankeh used Cut-Nose devils to heal people during her days. It was believed in those days that women should not see the Cut-Nose devil and she being the only woman to have seen and worked with the devil makes her even more powerful. Other villages along the mountain trail include: Magbatha, Kissi Gim, Masophe, Monomor Resting house (Built by the Portuguese around 1700 for travelers between Waterloo and York. It also used to host security personals that used to escort people between the two villages in the 1800s and 1900s) and a few other sites. Even though these villages no longer exist, there are still remains of the lost villages as well as sign posts and road signs.
The three hour experience to the top of the mountain can be both fun and challenging. Despite the challenges to the top of the mountain, there are some interesting sights too. Different bird species and butterflies can be seen along the mountain trail. There is always the sound of a bird singing either closer or far away or the sudden flap of another bird’s wings taking off from a branch. The smell of fresh flowers is sure to awaken the sense of smell.
The path having old villages along the way, there is always a hunger for fruits since there are fruits like mangos, guavas, oranges and other trees like cola nuts, bitter kola and ginger plants. And when one finally makes it up to the top of the mountain, the long tiresome trip is automatically forgotten. The amazing view of the Freetown peninsula spreading from York to Waterloo will magically fall around. Whether on a hot sunny day or cloud hours, there is a sudden emergence of a minute fog rising above the mountains fading away in a magical form. The air on the top of the mountain is fresh and soothing. The view around can be a breath-taking view. The journey up to the top can be truly memorable if one was fit enough to make it to the top.