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Explore Bonthe and Sherbro Island, a forgotten but alluring tropical destination. Let the locals welcome you to their peaceful home, filled with coconuts, palm kernels and mango trees. Experience what it is like to live your life as a tropical islander. Fish in a wooden kunu, venture into the rainforest to see how the locals source their food, or join them watching a friendly game of football on the open playing field.
Known to some Sierra Leoneans as Christmas Island, many visit this tranquil place to enjoy the holidays in peace. As a tourist destination, Sherbro Island has not received much attention. Most visitors spend their time exploring the rich historical past of the main town Bonthe, or engage in sports fishing. Since the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 (which ended in 2016), the total amount of visitors has declined. But prosperity for the island is in sight. The current president of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, comes from Bonthe, and has promised to invest in the island.
Meanwhile, Sherbro Island remains a raw diamond. Tourist infrastructure is not quite there yet, and the facilities are limited. However, the charm of the island lies in this forgotten solitude. There are little to no cars, the roads are sandy and unpaved, the locals welcoming and kind. They will happily show you how they engage in daily chores, such as the preparation of palm kernels, climbing a palm tree, or cooking on an open fire.
Arrive at Freetown’s Lungi International Airport, which is one of the world’s most uniquely-situated airports, located on the northern coast of the Freetown Estuary. A representative from VSL TRAVEL will await you after customs and will help you transfer to the Sea Coach ferry that will bring you to Freetown.. Our agent will have a signboard with your name on it after customs, and will always carry his VSL TRAVEL identification. Once transferred and in Aberdeen, you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel to drive to Yargoi, after which you will take the boat to Sherbro Island. The drive will take approximately five hours through the mainland of Sierra Leone. You will be able to see mining villages and Sierra Rutile mining sites along the way. Once you arrive at Yargoi the boat ride takes two hours and offers you a stunning view of the estuary the villages along.
Upon arrival, which will be around 6pm, dinner will be served. The rest of the evening can be spent enjoying the sunset on the pier.
You will spend the night in one of the beautifully decorated chalets, each with: a double bed, air-conditioning, hot shower and mini-fridge.
Awake to the sounds of tropical birds and swaying palm trees. Ready to start your explorations after a freshly prepared breakfast? The staff will help you navigate the island and ensure that you can make the most out of your visit.
In the morning you can do the history tour with one of the local guides, who will explain everything about the colonial history of the island. or test your water skills by canoeing around the island. The tour takes about two hours, but could be extended if you decide to spend more time walking around.
After lunch, a fisherman will take you in a local canoe to the next village and back. The calm waters make this a truly enjoyable and peaceful ride. This trip can take 1,5 or two hours, after which you can relax and spend your evening enjoying dinner.
Ready to further your explorations? After breakfast you can choose between two activities; you either take a boat ride to Mania beach at the other side of the island. Or you can venture inland and explore villages, witnessing how the islanders engage in agricultural activities.
The boat ride takes an entire day, and departure time depends on the tide. The agriculture trip takes half a day, and is best to be done in the morning as most activities are done early on.
Either way, you will have a truly unique experience as you get the opportunity to get to know the islanders and their way of life.
The evening can be spent as you please. The staff can tell you about any ongoing activities in town, might you wish to go for a drink.
Breakfast will be served early as the boat to Yargoi departs at 8am. From there, a vehicle will be waiting to take you on a drive back to Freetown.