Attractions include beaches, nature reserves and remnants of the country's colonial past...
Its diverse environment offers both rainforests and savannah and a place where wildlife thrives.
Freetown is where most of the tourist attractions are, with many beaches and historical places of interest. It’s located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Sierra Leone River.
The city is surrounded by mountains and faces what is considered to be one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the west of Africa. Lumley beach, Lakka beach, No 2 river beach and Toke beach are all located along the peninsula. Offering stretches of white sand lined with palm trees, these beaches are quiet and come recommended as excellent places for tourists to relax.
There are many hidden gems among the attractions in Sierra Leone, including the National Rail Museum in Cline Town, which features a railway carriage used by HM Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit. Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary opens by appointment and is accessible by four wheel drive. The colonial houses on stilts in Hill Station offer a glimpse into how people lived during the time of British colonial rule, which ended with Sierra Leone's independence in 1961. King Jimmy Market played an important historical role during the colonial slave trade, as it became a refuge for freed slaves in 1787 and contributed to the founding of Freetown. It’s now a busy market which is well worth a visit.
Outamba-Kilimi National Park is also a must-see along the tourist route. This site is located 185 miles north of Freetown and is home to a great deal of wildlife, including chimpanzees and elephants. Other interesting things worth seeing are Government Wharf, Bunce Island trading stations and Leicester Park.
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Freetown is usually served by non-stop flights from the UK, taking around six hours...
British Airways operates a service from London, although at the time of writing (October 2014) these flights are suspended.
There are normally also flights via Brussels from many UK departure points, with Brussels Airlines taking around 12 hours. Royal Air Maroc usually flies via Casablanca from Heathrow. Almost all flights to and from the airport have been halted due to the Ebola virus outbreak.
Freetown International Airport is on an estuary, so flights to Freetown usually end with a boat trip to the city...
When they are operating, most flights to Freetown International Airport have one stop, although direct flights are available.
By far the easiest way to get to Freetown from the airport is by boat: water taxis, private chartered speedboats, hovercraft and ferries are all available at various prices.
As the airport is separated from the mainland, the cheapest option is one of the many river taxis for a few pounds, or you can splash out on a helicopter transfer (which needs to be chartered in advance). A quirky alternative is the hovercraft, which was once used as the ferry for the Isle of Wight.
Freetown has the lion’s share of tourist accommodation, though hotels can be found all over Sierra Leone...
Sierra Leone has only recently become a tourist spot, after the end of a civil war in the early 2000s. Before the Ebola outbreak, it was gaining a reputation as one of Africa’s safest places.
A good selection of hotels can be found in Freetown, as well as a handful of resorts by the sea. Flights to Freetown put you within touching distance of most of the country’s places to stay, although several private guest houses, camp sights and the odd resort lie further afield.
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