Fly To Freetown, Sierra Leone

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Located just north of the Equator, Sierra Leone is one of the more vibrant African nations and its capital city is Freetown. Freetown is one of the oldest and most colourful ports and cities in the continent and is well worth any traveller’s time. Cheap flights to Freetown will take passengers to this West African wonder that has a plethora of beaches and exotic wildlife.

Requirements for Entry to Sierra Leone

All travellers from Nigeria must be in possession of a valid passport prior to travel. At this time, visas are required to enter Sierra Leone. The visa must be obtained in advanced at the Sierra Leone High Commission Liaison offices in Abuja or in Lagos.

Getting to Freetown from Freetown-Lungi International Airport (FNA)

The local airport, Freetown-Lungi International Airport has an unusual way to reach the capital city- boats are used to reach Freetown. The most popular and cheapest option is the ferry, which runs regularly to the city. There are other boats available to take such as the Pelican Water Taxi which is quicker than the ferry but more pricy. A road that connects the airport to the city and can only be reached via a rental auto. A journey by car to Freetown takes roughly 3 hours.

Major Attractions

Freetown and its neighbouring islands are well known for their historical sites. Freetown was founded in 1787 when the British resettled 400 slaves that were now free. King's Yard Gate is located at Tower Hill, which is now the Connaught Hospital. This is where escaped slaves were brought to begin their new and free lives. Large buildings have become a source of national pride, especially the government State House and the national football stadium, which is a central gathering place for many large events.

An icon of the city is the Cotton Tree which is located in the historic part of town. Some say that it dates back to thousands of years and provided shade when the settlers first arrived in Sierra Leone in 1787.

Things to Do

River Number Two merges to the Ocean and packs quite a crowd. It is well worth taking a swim in the refreshing waters and this is a great place to cool off during the day.

Dive off the coast on the Banana Islands to get a glimpse of the undersea world amongst many shipwrecks. Banana Island is home to many luxury resorts.

The historical sites found on Bunce Island are linked to the colonial times and the slave trade.  Providing a glimpse of the past, the most important historic site in Africa of the slave trade is the 18th-century British slave castle.

The Tambakula Arts and Crafts Centre Cooperative is a centre for local artisans selling their hand-carved and made arts and crafts.

The Sierra Leone National Museum is a small museum that houses a treasure trove of history and art pertaining to the country. 

The Nationals Railway Museum houses some well preserved engines and carriages as well as photographic timeline of its past railroad system. 

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the nearby Bathurst Falls and Charlotte Falls make for a nice day trip that is in close proximity to Freetown.

Take advantage and obtain a glimpse of area outside of Freetown that is only 193 km away.

Outamba-Kilimi National Park is a mix of savannah and jungle, home too rare animals such as colobus monkeys, sooty mangabeys, hippos, bongo antelopes and over 260 different species of bird available to see.  Guides can be hired to go canoeing in search of hippos.

Dining

All along Freetown, great local seafood dishes reign and are very affordable. Dining on mouth-watering fresh fish, lobster, oysters or crabs is an everyday occurrence in restaurants, beach-side shacks and in markets. For good cheap eats try the street stalls where the freshest of oranges, pineapple, mangoes and papaya are found. 

Street food offers some specialties with skewers of grilled spicy meat or shrimp served with rice and green sauce.

Everywhere are fried dough balls and plantain topped off with a spicy sauce.

Other cuisines are Senegalese, Chinese amongst other international food choices.

Hotels & Accommodation

Freetown has a good mix of accommodation styles, with new options opening regularly. Hotels in Freetown range from island resorts, guest houses to budget accommodations.  Many offer self-catering and that means taking advantage of what is available at the market and eat in at a home away from home.

Transportation

One of the fastest ways to get around in Freetown is by using an okada or a taxi-motorbike. As traffic can get quite congested in Freetown, this is a speedy way to cut through the cars and save time.

Another regional form of transportation is ‘poda podas’, wood slated minibuses. They function much like regular buses, with a fixed route throughout Freetown. The buses run at regular intervals.

Taxis are also very common in Freetown and the majority of them run on a shared basis. Most taxi fees are based on the distance travelling.

There is a regular bus service that is run by the Sierra Leone government, the Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation. They have the same cost as taxis and are much more comfortable but take longer to reach a destination.

Car rental services are plentiful and usually come with a driver though they can be very costly. For those looking for extensive travel and to see more of the country, it is best to obtain a 4X4 for hire.   

Best Time To Visit

Freetown maintains constant hot and humid weather conditions all year round with temperature averaging 27°C every month. The humidity is at its highest from mid-May to mid-November with July to October being the least comfortable. The best time for a visit is from the end of November to January.


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