Welcome to Sierra Leone
Open to the world once again, Sierra Leone is a West African gem with white-sand beaches, lush rain forests, mountains, wildlife and more. For beaches, head to the Western Region; for chimps and colobus monkeys, head inland. Sail to Banana Island for its castaway feel and cute guesthouses in Dublin and Ricketts.
Search for the endangered pygmy hippo on Tiwai Island. Take some time to explore the university town of Bo in the Southern Province. Wherever you wander, Sierra Leone enchants.
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Need To Know
- Sierra Leone is famous for a giant snail – the Ghana Snail – that lives within 99 to 190 miles of the country’s coastline. This native snail can measure up to 12 inches long and 6 inches wide.
- Chimpanzees are the star of Sierra Leon’s Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the rain forest of the Western Area National Park.
- The ancient cotton tree in Freetown is known throughout the world. The story goes that a group of ex-slaves from America settled in Freetown and gathered around the tree to pray for gaining their freedom. Experts believe it’s the oldest cotton tree in the world. Modern-day citizens still visit the tree to pray for their ancestors.
- Sierra Leone means Lion Mountains. It was a Portuguese explorer in 1462 who gave the area around Freetown its name, representative of the area’s “wild and rugged appearance.”
- History is literally built into Saint John’s Maroon Church in Freetown. The pews and rafters are made from recycled pieces of a ship that brought freed Jamaican slaves from Nova Scotia, Canada.
Sierra Leone’s official language is English.
When To Go
The best time to go to Sierra Leone is October to May.
Freetown International Airport
Passport must be valid at time of entry for six months beyond arrival date.
Visa Required By US Citizen?
The CDC recommends the following vaccine for all travelers when visiting Sierra Leone: Measles, Yellow Fever and routine vaccinations. Most travelers should receive the Hepatitis A, Malaria and Typhoid vaccines. Some travelers should receive the Hepatitis B and Rabies vaccines.
Power plugs and sockets: types D and G. Standard voltage: 230V. Frequency: 50Hz.
Sierra Leone Leone
The roads in Freetown are navigable, but narrow and potholed.
Public transportation is unreliable. Public taxis and minibuses are particular targets for pickpocketing. Motorcycle taxis are unsafe.
An international driving permit is required.
US Embassy Info
U.S. Embassy Freetown
Southridge, Hill Station
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Telephone: + (232) (99) 105-000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (232) (99) 905-029
Local Visitor Info
Local Emergency Phone Numbers
Safety and Security
The crime rate is high in Sierra Leone. Crimes include armed mugging, assault, burglary and pickpocketing. Use extra caution on the ferry to and from Freetown International Airport and in the bars, restaurants and nightclubs or Lumley Beach and Aberdeen in Freetown.
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