The Republic of Sierra Leone, more commonly known as simply Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It occupies a total area of 71,740 km2 and is bordered by Guinea in the northeast and Liberia in the southeast, with a coast in the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. The capital and largest city is Freetown, also functioning as the economic and political centre.
What to see & do
Outamba-Kilimi National Park - Outamba-Kilimi National Park in northwest Sierra Leone (near the border with the Republic of Guinea) is divided into two areas: Outamba and Kilimi. The former covers an area of 741 km2 while the latter occupies an area of 368 km2. The National Park was established in October 1995 and is named after the highest peak, Mount Outamba, and the longest river, River Kilimi. It contains vegetation of woodland savannah with a mixture of jungle and savannah, and is home to a large number of chimpanzees. Facilities in the park include simple one bed and group huts.
Banana Islands - Off the coast southwest of the Freetown Peninsula are three islands collectively called Banana Islands. It comprises of Dublin and Ricketts, linked by a stone causeway, and the uninhabited Mes-Meheux. Dublin Island is a tourist spot known for its beaches, while Ricketts Islands is popular for its forests. Shipwrecks lying off the coast are good for scuba diving.
Tiwai Island - Tiwai Island, or Big Island, is a wildlife sanctuary and tourist attraction, as well as one of the largest inland islands in the country. It lies over 12 km2 on the Moa River in the Southern Province. It is home to over 135 bird species, several pygmy hippopotamus, and one of the highest concentration and diversity of primates (11 species) in the world.
How to get around within Sierra Leone
Following the civil war, the road network in Sierra Leone was severely damaged. Though much of the main roads have been reconstructed and are in better condition, watch out for missing blocks of cement, called 'death traps', on the roads in Freetown. Not paying attention to where you're stepping on the sidewalk can cause you to have a nasty fall into an open gutter. Because of this, the local residents avoid the sidewalks and choose to walk on the streets instead. There are old West African bush taxis, called Poda-poda in Sierra Leone. They are very cheap but aren't very comfortable nor safe. Taking a shared taxi is the way to go for a good combination of convenient, comfortable, and cheap means of travelling. Another good option is the moto-taxi; these are also cheap and are much more efficient for skirting past traffic. The downside is that it can be dangerous and, by law, can only take one passenger at a time. The driver is also required to offer a helmet to his passenger and wear one himself. If you do not want to entrust your life on someone else's driving skills, you can rent a motorcycle instead for independent travel.
How to get there
The main airport serving Sierra Leone is the Freetown-Lungi International Airport in the coastal town of Lungi. There is direct passenger service to Sierra Leone from the cities of London, Casablanca, Monrovia, Abidjan, and Brussels. There were also flights connecting Sierra Leone to Paris, Banjul, Dakar, Lagos, Accra, Lomé, and Nairobi, but services to these cities have been suspended until further notice. The commercial airlines serving the airport are Air Côte d'Ivoire, Air France, Arik Air, ASKY Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Gambia Bird, Kenya Airways, and Royal Air Maroc.
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