Sierra Leone was once a major tourist destination for Europeans. Visitors came to relax in the midst of remote sandy beaches, unspoiled tropical rainforests, and gorgeous waterfalls. Today, Sierra Leone remains the lush tropical paradise it has always been, only the tourists have disappeared thanks to decades of civil war. Although the war ended in 2002, the country is still struggling to rebuild its infrastructure and entice travelers to return.
Sierra Leone is a small country that is located at the bulge of Africa. This land is known as the “mountains of the lion” because of the thunderous storms that roll through the country’s mountains. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea in the north and west and Liberia in the southeast. The country claims one of the world’s largest natural harbors in the town of Freetown, which sits on the north shore of the Sierra Leone Peninsula. Much of the country is dominated by the rugged Sierra Leone Peninsula with its mangrove swamps, flat interior plains, and mountains. The interior of Sierra Leone is streamed by a network of rivers that run rapidly through the deep valleys.
Sierra Leone’s coastal beaches are secluded and beautifully-colored white, providing visitors with the perfect place to relax and unwind. The interior features spectacular waterfalls that drop into pools that are fun to wade through.
The country also has some national parks in its northern region. One of them is the Outamba-Kilimi National Park. This park offers some spectacular scenery and reserves that are filled with elephants, pigmy hippos, and chimpanzees. It can be reached by driving or flying in from Freetown.
More great scenery can be enjoyed by touring the Freetown Peninsula. At the top of Leicester Peak, there are incredible views of the mountains, seas, and the scatter of old Creole villages below, which include Regent, Leicester, Glouchester, Kent, Waterloo, Hastings, Sussex, York, and Wellington.
At the Sakanbiarwa plant reserve, there is an extensive collection of unique orchids.
Historic sites in Sierra Leone include Bunce Island, which was one of the first slave trading stations in Africa. You can reach the island by taking a boat up the Rokel River.
Freetown, which is the main city in Sierra Leone, has a historic port, a 500-year-old cotton tree, colonial architecture, and the King’s Yard, which is where slaves waited to be given free land.
The climate in Sierra Leone is quite hot and humid. The rainy season lasts from May to November, a time when fierce thunderstorms are common especially along the Sierra Leone Peninsula. The storms often welcome months of steady monsoon rains before the arrival of the dry season. During the dry season, especially from December and January, the harmattan plagues the country. This hot and dry wind blows in from the Sahara filling the air with dust particles and humidifying everything in sight. The north and interior regions are particularly affected.