To most people civil war, ebola, poverty, or pot-belly kids with hungry eyes come to mind when they think of Sierra Leone. Of course, this is a very one-dimensional view of the country. In fact, Sierra Leone is very safe and an amazing country to visit. It is far from touristy and assures a unique and diverse experience that can attract any kind of tourist. Whether you’re an adventurer, come with your family or are merely interested in lazing about in a hammock on one of the pristine beaches, Sierra Leone has something for everyone.
In this top 5 we have selected some of the most popular and praised activities that you can embark on around Freetown when visiting Sierra Leone. Most of the suggestions are family friendly and can be tailored by VSL to get the exact experience you are looking for.
5 Clubbing on a Friday night in Freetown
The one activity where you want to leave your kids at home. Clubbing in Freetown is guaranteed fun and an experience you cannot miss out on if you want to have a full Salone experience. Apart from the fact that most clubs play the exact same music (read: afrobeat), the vibe is always on and it is rare to see nobody dancing. That is, if you go at the right time. If you show up at 10pm you can expect empty clubs and bars, so be like a real Freetonian and show up fabulously late. Some recommendations are 232-Entertainment complex, Whatsapp bar and Scarlett lounge (check out top 5 clubs in Freetown).
Warning: ff you’re a man you can expect to be approached by kolonko’s, ladies of the night who love foreign money. Your business of course, but beware of STD’s and pick pocketing.
- dress to impress
- bring cash
- expect to be home late
- go club hopping
- leave your phone in your pocket
- take okada’s to bring you home at night. They are not allowed on the street at this time and you can be arrested for taking a bike at the police check points
- expect any other music than afrobeat and Rihanna to be played
Price indication: from 10$-50$ for multiple club entries, drinks and snacks.
4 Go beach hopping
The beaches of Salone are fine-o! Empty, quiet, calm waters, coconut in one hand and fresh oysters in the other; not many countries can offer as nice a beach experience as Sierra Leone. Some of the best beaches are located along the Peninsular road that runs along the Western Peninsula (which includes Freetown). That means that within a 20 minutes ride you can enjoy pristine beaches that are devoid of any kind of mass-tourism.
You can either explore them one by one or spend one or two days beach hopping. Start off at Sussex and enjoy Italian cuisine with a beautiful view, continue to River Nr. 2 and swim in the river that flows into the sea, spend the night in a beach hut at Tokeh, have breakfast at the Cockle point and spend the entire day surfing or reading a book at the Bureh Beach surf club. VSL offers beach- hopping tours for very reasonable prices and can cater to your needs, just contact us for more information.
3 Take a surfing class at the Bureh Beach surf club
The river that flows into the sea at Bureh beach is what gives this beach surf-tastic waves. It does not matter if you don’t know how to handle a surfboard because the surfers of Bureh are happy to give you surfing classes. The lesson costs 80.000le (about 10$) and all profits go towards the community.
If you’re not into surf do explore all the other activities at Bureh beach. You can take yoga classes from Powerman, take a hike into the river or kayak to the little island that is about a 20-minutes’ swim away from the Bureh Beach.
2 Go snorkeling at Banana Island
Banana Island is on a 40-minute boat ride from Kent, a fisherman’s village about 1,5 hours from Freetown. There are maybe 1000 people living on this island where time seems not to have moved for a couple of centuries. Take a walk around the island and visit the old church, have a look at the cannon that has been there since 1883 or hire a snorkel at Dalton’s Banana guest house. Take a dive and see the brightly coloured fish swimming about the shallow reefs. The water temperature in Sierra Leone is always very pleasant, so no wetsuits needed for your swim.
1 Take a trip through history on Bunce Island
Sierra Leone used to be in the midst of the thriving slave trade from the 17th century until early 19th century. Bunce Island, an island located approximately 20 miles from Freetown, was probably the most lucrative slave port in West Africa. This means that tens of thousands Africans were traded on this island. Bunce Island has become a protected historic site in 1984 and is a must see for those interested in colonial history or are trying to discover and understand their roots. We offer tours to Bunce Island with a tour guide that is an expert in the history of the island. Part of the experience is the boat ride towards and from the island. The view of the hills of Freetown is absolutely stunning from the boat, mostly when heading back and the sun sets into hills.
Salone= Sierra Leone
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Esther Kamara is a Dutch-Sierra Leonean that was born and raised in Amsterdam. After finishing her bachelor Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam she moved to Freetown, where she now works as a freelance writer and artist manager. Her brainchildren are otherworldly short stories and peculiar drawings of non-existing characters.