Airport and Freetown are separated by the Sierra Leone River. In the past, this journey across has been an adventure in itself and on very rare occasions, with fatal consequences. In recent years, more reliable boat services are now operational and the airport and transfer experience is much improved.
There are three main fast boat transfers from the airport. Sovereign Ferries, Sea Bird Express and Sea Coach Express. Our recommended option is the Sea Coach Express as they are most experience with the widest fleet of boats, but it is your decision which mode of transfer you choose.
As most of the flights arrive in Freetown after dark, it may also be advisable is to spend the night at Lungi before continuing on to Freetown the next day. Have a look at our listed hotels in Lungi if this is your chosen option.
Tip: Arranging your tickets in advance can reduce the amount of time it takes to get you out of the airport.
The water taxis are slightly bigger than your average speedboat and run on dual engines. Sea Coach Express, Sea Bird Express and Sovereign Ferries offer this service. The ride is sometimes bumpy so you must prepare yourself for that. Price is $40 with journey time around 25-30 minutes. These services can all be booked on our website here. Sovereign are the only service which goes into the central business district (Government Wharf). You can select other options when booking, such as assistance or vehicle pick up.
Arguably the most fun way to get to Freetown. You may get drenched though so keep this in mind if you opt for a private speedboat charter. Journey time is around 20-30 minutes. Both water taxi companies also offer boats for charter and are probably your best option.
The ferries operating from Kissy are the cheapest option of all is to take the Ferry to Freetown but it is certainly not the quickest option neither the most convenient. This is how most Sierra Leoneans travel. A ‘VIP’ seat will set you back Le5,000 but this excludes vehicle costs – be sure not to expect much from a ‘VIP’ seat that costs less than $1 USD. Currently there is only one operational ferry. Our least recommended option as you could experience significant delays.
It is possible to drive to Freetown from Lungi (4+ hours) through Port Loko, but this makes more sense if you are heading up country rather than to Freetown. Or if you really wish to avoid the water crossing. Keep in mind that it might prove difficult to rent vehicles from Lungi, so it is advisable for private transport from the airport be pre-arranged.