Chaotic transport and poor infrastructure might keep Sierra Leone off the mainstream tourist trail for a while yet but new flight choices could soon tempt the more adventurous traveller.
Dutch airline KLM will fly to Freetown three times a week from March 26, after a two-decade hiatus. It’s currently offering £470 returns from London or Manchester and there are signs that rivals are dropping prices, making a long weekend or week’s break more feasible.
So what are Sweet Salone’s top attractions? Here’s my favourite five:
5. The Sierra Leone Marathon
Okay, so I only ran the half distance – my body really wasn’t ready for 26.2 miles – but whatever you feel fit for, it’s worth making the journey for a race with a truly special atmosphere. The charity Street Child puts together a fantastic itinerary that allows runners to meet some of the kids they’re raising money to help, both in rural schools and the host town of Makeni.
We’ve been back home a week but my brain hasn’t quite assimilated that we’ve left Sierra Leone.
Since touching down at Heathrow I’ve felt like a rabbit in the headlights. Or, at least, one dazzled by the neon glow from the logistics warehouses at the back of Terminal 4, which seemed impossibly modern after the equivalent sights at Lungi.
I’ve spent most of the week hiding indoors, much as I did during my first seven days in Freetown. More than a sort of reverse culture shock, however, it’s a common cold that’s kept me confined to quarters.
It made for a low-key end to a tumultuous year. But 2017 got off to a great start when I discovered this website had been shortlisted in the Travel section of the UK Blog Awards.
Another visitor, another excuse to explore further afield.
Rather than a relaxing tour of the Western Peninsular beaches, my old uni mate Jody fancied climbing a mountain.
Not just any mountain. At 1,948m Bintumani is the highest peak between Cameroon and Morocco. And it’s a long way from anywhere sizeable enough to be called a town. Continue reading
I hate to be one of those irritating people who go on about amazing far-flung beaches while you’re pondering turning on the central heating.
But our last few beach outings really have been fantastic fun.
As the rain has eased, so has the flow of litter into the drains and on to the sea. The last seaweed bloom that left the sands covered in a festering mass seems to have finally cleared.
And at Lakka on Sunday the water was clear and perfect for bathing, to the point where I had what’s probably my first ever proper swim in the sea – covering about 500m aided only by the salt offering great buoyancy. Continue reading