Sierra Leone travel info
Leone: 14 days, Dec 07- Jan 08
INTRO SIERRA LEONE
Kind of travel:
alone in a 100% independent travel
24th Dec07- 05th Jan08
need a visa?
Yes, I got
it in Italy and it has been an Odissey (read
here the details)
this's really tough: crowdy minibuses and shared taxis max 20
km/h on the non-existent super-bumpy roads, connecting all the
main villages, though. Luckily I got a 3 days long lift on a
jeep (thanks Ben and Mir!) and I jumped for 100km in a remote
area on the back of a motorbike.
Dry season (Dec-
Jan) is the best period of the year to visit the country. It's
hot (24-28 C) and a little humid, but never unpleasantly. The
inland, Kabala, is definitely dryer.
In most of the small towns you'll always find basic guesthouses
(5-10$). In Freetown be ready to spend at least 30$ and in 'Tiway
Island' there'r some tents available: generally forget running
water and electricity.
Two great adventures: the visit at the diamond mine and the
100km from Kabala to Faranah by motorbike. The last but not
the least I found people more relaxed (and NOT PUSHY) towards
the whites than in many other African countries.
What I disliked:
The obsession of the locals for the cellphones (no food but
holding a cell!), the bribing culture, the frequent fights among
the locals and the food sucks!
Not very cheap. Accommodation prices are reasonable (5-10$)
but Tiway Island (2 days :40$), motorbike lifts (100km: 40$),
staying in Freetown (80$/ night, I had to get the visa) brought
to 45$/ day.
no more a single rebel in the country and little criminality,
but two risks: malaria (I took Lariam) and the main one, the
car crashes. By the way, while on the motorbike we seriously
risked to smash down twice.
mosquito-net, candles and a flash lamp. Ear-plugs could turn
out useful against the generators in the night. And what about
the book 'Memoirs of a Boy Soldier' by Ishmael Beah?
TRAVEL IN SIERRA LEONE
Thanks to a bird eager to enter the jet while
my plane was taking over, I arrived in Conakry from Paris with
a 24h delay!
Looking for a hotel in the Guinean capital when the city is
wrapped in the darkness, means coping with dodgy taxi drivers
and asshole hotel keepers.
Once it got morning I went to the bus station to take the minibus
to Freetown. I had no clue how tough it would have been the
15 hours to reach the Sierra Leonese capital, through corrupted
soldiers, bastard border guards, and a lot of dust along the
In Freetown I slept at the 'Family Kingdom hotel', where I had
to book in advance to have a proof of reservation required to
get my visa in Italy.
I didn't fall in love with the capital, or maybe I was just
nervous to start my travel in the country, so I left Freetown
quite soon reaching the city of Bo. It's a 6h minibus travel,
half of which on a dirty road, but works were on going to pave
the road, hence I guess in a near future it'll be quicker and
In Bo, thanks God, I bumped into two wonderful people, Ben and
Mira, who were taking a holiday from the work in a NGO at Makeni
hospital. They were visiting Sierra Leone by their own jeep
and the initial lift to the Tiway Island, turned into a 3 day
long trip together around the country.
The landscape around had been red roads following the shapes
of the green hills and once a while some locals walking from
nowhere heading to nowhere.
Tiwai Island is protected island on the Moa river, where I slept
in some sheltered tents. We walked around (a guide is mandatory)
and we did a boat tour, looking for chimpanzees, small hippos
and crocodiles, only partially succeeding (info
about Tiwai Island).
The day after in 3 hours of a bumpy dirty road we reached Kenema,
the town where most of the diamond buyers (they buy, but they
don't sell openly!) are concentrated.
50 km north of Kenema I had the best experience of the whole
travel: the visit to the diamond mines of Tongo (read
about it, in Italian)
From Tongo in 4h we got to Makeni where I greeted Ben and Mir
(Thankssss friends!!!) and I proceed to Kabala. Here first I
walked to the top of the small mountain overlooking the town
and then I organised the 100km motorbike trip across the remote
region of Sierra Leone bordering with Guinea. The next day I
left early, and it was a loooong day. (read
[Proceeding in Guinea]