I love going back to Sierra Leone because it’s a great place for me to rest and relax.
If you want to visit Sierra Leone, rest assured that all your needs will be taken care of. Tourists are treated like kings and queens, they don’t have to do anything but enjoy. From the moment you leave airport to getting the boat from the airport to Freetown to the moment you enter my accommodation, there are multiple people wanting to hold your bags, give you water, help you. Its ridiculous. My mum calls it lazy culture, she says people get lazy if they stay for too long because they get used to it.
Also be aware that not everyone wants to help out of kindness, some people want to be tipped, so make sure you have some leones with you. If we tip, we usually tip around 5,000 – 10,000 leones, which is 50p to £1.
For example, when I’m in the car and I want to buy roasted corn, but the corns are 10 footsteps away, people (and by people I mean locals who are about in the street) offer to go and buy it for me so I don’t have to walk. It’s the same with directions, people don’t just direct you, they take you there, they get in your car and direct you the whole way, before making their own way to where they were going. Its great.
As a tourist you would want to get around and visit different parts of the city. You could hire a car and a private driver, or you could use public transport.
We have 4 different public transportation. The first is buses, which are called poda poda in krio. Poda podas have always been in Sierra Leone as far as I can remember, and it is a very popular method of transport. Unlike the UK, these buses are not all uniform, they have different names, lights, patterns, designs, different sizes. They even have American school buses (the yellow ones with the ‘School Bus’ sign) that is used as a poda poda.
The second are taxis, which are yellow and they remind me of New York taxis but with a different design. They have no special name.
The next one is the motor cycles. These are called ocada. They are the fastest form of transport as they can wiggle through traffic. They’re fast and easy, and fun to try out.
The final one is keekee, these are recent additions to Sierra Leonian streets and are from India. The drivers are impatient as they want to wiggle through traffic like the ocadas but are not always successful as they are bigger than ocadas.
If you do visit, I suggest getting on each of these public transport just to experience them. I personally prefer the keekees (pictured above).
The beaches are absolutely stunning in Sierra Leone. We have stretches and stretches of sand all around the coast. We have yellow and white sand beaches. Most beaches have the ocean on one side, and the mountains as a back drop.
Tourist season is November and December, so if you visit in late January or February, the beaches are empty and so peaceful. My uncle lives 10 minutes walk from the beach and goes jogging on the beach every day, whilst my cousins go there to play football.
Sierra Leone is a very mountainous country. There is never a moment when you’re not viewing the mountains or the valleys. It’s absolutely wonderful.
The views are magnificent. Below is the view from my house, that I woke up to every day.
On one side is the river and on the other is mountains.
We also have palm trees everywhere, which makes the views all the more beautiful.
There is a market on almost every street is Freetown. Its one of the things I love and hate. It means that the streets are always busy and heavy with traffic. The main markets are in the centre near Victoria Park. There’s markets on Malama Thomas street, and Goodrich Street. You can buy anything from fresh fish, to bangles, to lace, to slippers.
- Only drink bottled water, western stomach do not take well to local water.
- Never pay the asking price in markets, haggle haggle haggle.
- People love to beep their horns – so be prepared for excessive noise.
- Try the local cuisine, especially sea food.
- Make sure you eat at Crown Bakery and Lagoonda (which has an amazing view)
- Most importantly, enjoy!!
Thank you for reading.