Secret Sierra Leone

Rachel Wasser August 25, 2013 6
See what you've been missing? Photo courtesy of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone

See what you’ve been missing?
Photo courtesy of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is one of those unique destinations you can’t even begin to formulate expectations for. Venturing into the previously war-torn region of West Africa is like charting a new course on the ever-expanding tourist trail. Sierra Leone is set up to succeed at reopening its doors to a host of travellers seeking something different, something meaningful. It has that  elusive combination of cultural experiences, wildlife-viewing opportunities, stunning white-sand beaches and warm, friendly locals. With the country stable and safe, now is the time to meet the people of Sierra Leone and help them build their tourist infrastructure in a sustainable way, helping preserve history, cultures and natural resources for future generations of locals and travellers alike.

River No 2 2.27_0

White sand hugs the serene River No. 2.
Photo courtesy of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone

River No 2 is in the Peninsula Region of Western Sierra Leone- white-sand beaches, red hibiscus flowers and golden sunsets come standard. The resort in here is community-run and the proceeds from your visit support the village. This is a quintessential beach town complete with a beach bar and evening bonfire.

Children (Tiwai) 2.1_0

Some village kids hanging out on Tiwai Island.
Photo courtesy of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone

This area is perfect for hiking in the rainforest and spotting monkeys, chimps and birds. The Tiwai Island Wildlife Reserve is a community conservation program. All funds raised go towards running the project and supporting the Community Development Fund to help finance community initiatives. Tiwai has one of the highest concentrations and diversity of primates in the world including rare monkeys and chimps.

John Obey Beach hut - credit TribeWanted

Can’t get much closer to the beach than this!
Photo courtesy of TribeWanted

This is one of the huts that’s part of the TribeWanted sustainable tourism project in John Obey Beach. It’s an eco-hotel that produces its own food in a “green” building run by the community. The community is on 6 acres of land adjacent to a fishing village. There is an open kitchen where visitors can get involved with food prep or just hang out with the locals. Activities in the area include canoeing, fishing, cooking, trekking, swimming and hammock-sitting.

See what's happening beyond the beach. Photo courtesy of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone

See what’s happening beyond the beach in Freetown.
Photo courtesy of the National Tourist Board of Sierra Leone

After visiting the natural highlights, wildlife and welcoming people of the country, head back to Freetown, the capital city. The city is filled with landmarks linking West Africa with African-Americans, liberated African slaves and West Indians. Spend some time learning the history of this country as well as enjoying its modern day sights.

6 Comments »

  1. Claire B August 23, 2013 at 6:53 am - Reply

    Having lived in Sierra Leone (2002-4) this brought back many memories of afternoons at River No.2! Stunning. I highly recommend this beautiful country with it’s beautiful and very welcoming people.
    I’m excited that the eco-lodge has opened up and I will definitely put it on my list of places to go and stay in Africa!

    • Rachel W August 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      So glad to hear you had such a positive experience! I think Sierra Leone could be the next amazing destination if people would give it a shot. Thanks for your feedback!

  2. Amadu Massally August 23, 2013 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Well, well, well… I am Sierra Leonean and had lived out of my country fro 26.5 years before I returned in 2009 to work on a four-month long project with regard to Sierra Leoneans pooling their financial resources and buying one or more of the State-owned Enterprises that were being privatized. After visiting my country for the first time since leaving for the US to attend college, I did not return to the US. For two reasons: the natural beauty that I did not know we had in our country even though I was born and raised here, and the desire and aspiration to help bring Sierra Leone up to where it ought to be. I formed the Fambul Tik (Family Tree) Tours tour company and today I am proud of the positive relationship we have with G-Adventures; a world class tourism company based in Canada. Earlier this year, the G-Adventures cruise ship visited our shores for the first time and what a ball they had in a very short period of time. It was simply their best stop along 8 shores off the south and west coasts of Africa. Got tourism? The ‘pax’ were lucky to get a taste of our national dance troupe on the ship, visit a national fair that was on-going that same night, and the next day some went to the Chimp Sanctuary while others got a historic tour of downtown Freetown. All of this within 24 hours! Oh, we even got the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone to visit their ship shortly after they docked… Only in Sierra Leone! In Jamaica the locals endear tourists with “no problem” and in Sierra Leone we spoil them with “you’re welcome.” Truly so…

  3. Jo D August 25, 2013 at 7:52 am - Reply

    I lived in Bo, inland, south Sierra Leone for 2 years from 1978. The people are warm friendly and welcoming. River No 2 was one of the special places we visited when we needed to go to Freetown, it is absolutely breathtakinly beautiful. This sounds like an excelent project to support and a great oportunity to visit this wonderful part of the world. I too will be adding it to my to do list!

  4. Nige August 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    how do i get from ouagadougou to River no. 2?

  5. Julia August 29, 2013 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I’d be curious to know if there are any risks worth considering when planning a trip – this looks so idyllic, I’m having trouble reconciling it with what I thought I knew!

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