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15 Best Places to Visit in Sierra Leone

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Isatu Jalloh
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Sierra Leone is not all about the negative news you see on the media, it is a home of the most beautiful places, accommodating people and one of the country with the most beautiful beaches in the world. With all the negative news you may have come across about Sierra Leone, here are 15 beautiful places you should visit when you come to Sierra leone

After more than a decade of civil war – one of the most brutal and destructive that West Africa has ever seen – and an unexpected outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, Sierra Leone is working hard to get back on track. The efforts are going well, too. Gone are the days of rebel and government divisions. Supporters of the onetime coups and counter-coups are now re-integrated back into society; hardly anyone even mentions the troubles of the 90s.

The country is open for business again! But where to go? Will you choose the salt-sprayed beaches of the Western Region, where palm trees bow to the Atlantic Ocean and old colonial fortresses crumble on the clifftops? Or will you head inland, to where chimps roam the Guinean forests, and colobus monkeys tread the undergrowth of the savannah woods.

Here is list of 15 best places to visit in Sierra Leone put together by the crazy tourist

1. Freetown

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Source: flickr

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Cascading down the green hills of the Western Area, right to the edge of its own horseshoe bay, the capital of Freetown is a fine place to begin your travels in the country.

A cocktail of frantic port activity (the city is home to one of the largest natural deep-water harbors on the globe) and laid-back beachside living, it’s something of Sierra Leone writ small.

You’ll see what we mean as you move between the powdery sands of Lakka Beach and Lumley, into the party strip of Aberdeen district, and out to the industrial sprawl of the suburbs.

Oh, and don’t miss the amazing Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where mind-boggling primates will swing above your 4X4!

2. Bunce Island

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Source: flickr

Bunce Island

Deep in the recesses of Tagrin Bay, just a short ferry ride from the jetties of the capital at Freetown, the rock that is Bunce Island offers a glimpse into the darker days of West African history.

Just one of 40 individual citadels that were raised by the Europeans along the shoreline of the region during the heyday of the slave trade, the spot is known to have been one of the primary points where British vessels laden with captured people departed for the colonies of South Carolina and Georgia across the Atlantic.

Today, visitors can come and see the preserved castile, and learn all about this sobering episode of Sierra Leone’s past.

3. Banana Island

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Source: daltonsbananaguesthouse

Banana Island

Languishing off the coast of the Western Area, south from the capital at Freetown, the finger of land that forms Banana Island has all the shimmering, alabaster-hued beaches and lush rainforest you’d expect of a place so deep in the tropics.

In fact, that cocktail of beautiful natural draws has made this one arguably the most popular weekend getaway from the big city, and there are now some good guesthouses in hotels in the fishing settlements of Dublin and Ricketts as a result.

You can also head inland, and seek out the vine-clambered ruins of old colonial depots and slave processing centers.

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4. Tiwai Island

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Source: flickr

Tiwai Island

Engulfed by the weaving, winding capillaries of the Moa River as the main channel splits in two in the heart of Sierra Leon’s Southern Province, Tiwai Island remains one of the most famous conservation spots in the country.

A rare draw away from the coast, the riparian land is home to some of the last remaining virgin rainforest in Sierra Leone.

And the wildlife is equally as totemic, with Diana monkeys and pygmy hippos, tool-using chimpanzees (a truly awesome feat) and curious pangolins all making the reserve their home.

5. Turtle Islands

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Source: flickr

Turtle Islands

The Turtle Islands might just be the most picture-perfect tropical paradise you’ve never heard of.

Set out in the lapping swells of the Atlantic Ocean, this archipelago of eight is made from a patchwork of swaying palm blooms and mangrove, carved out by gorgeous white-sand beaches and empty bays of water so blue you’ll need to pinch yourself to believe it.

Add to that a truly rustic set of locals and ramshackle bamboo-built villages, bobbing fishing skiffs and campsites right on the shore, and it’s easy to see why the Turtle isles deserve a visit.

Just be sure to steer the boat away from Hoong, which is barred to visitors and used for coming-of-age religious rituals.

6. Tokeh

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Source: flickr

Tokeh

Bamboo parasols rustle in the Atlantic breezes; sands shimmer in gleaming yellow-golden hues; the salty whitecaps of the ocean buffet the palm-peppered shore: Welcome to Tokeh Beach – arguably the single most accomplished seaside resort in the entire of Sierra Leone.

Thanks to its gorgeous coastal stretches, this little town east of Freetown and in the heart of the Western Area Rural District has grown up with countless luxury hotels and guesthouses.

In fact, it’s been noted for its touristic potential since at least the 1960s, when one Shakib Basma built the first accommodations.

The civil war ravaged all that, but things are now in full swing again, and sunbathing on the sand is back on the menu!

7. Gola Forest Reserve