Sierra Leone

by James Knight and Katrina Manson

Sierra Leone

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About this book

This new, thoroughly updated third edition of Bradt's Sierra Leone remains the only English-language guide dedicated to this unique West African destination, one of only three countries where the über-elusive pygmy hippo can be found and where coastal mountains and sheltered beaches are the stuff of daydreams and postcards. With Bradt's Sierra Leone you can explore the infamous diamond mines and rainforest-covered mountains; go in search of pygmy hippos or relax on the country's beaches and islands. Offering significantly more coverage than any other guide, it is an ideal companion for tourists, volunteers and international workers alike, and also covers newly declared eco-tourist sites as well as the trans-boundary 'peace park' of Gola Forest National Park, shared with neighbouring Liberia.
This new edition also covers Freetown's new beach music festival and the Sierra Leone Marathon, shortlisted for 'best marathon' in the 2017 Running Awards, as well as details of everything from where to visit rescued chimpanzees to touring the traditional wooden-board homes of the Krio people, descendants of repatriated slaves from the Americas and Europe.
Sierra Leone continues to be one of the best beach destinations in West Africa, and also one of the region's best trekking destinations, given the varied topography and the presence of Mount Bintumani, West Africa's highest peak. The country has seen a heartening recovery since emerging from civil war a decade ago and the Bradt guide is the first to take stock of the country's post-Ebola travel situation. Sierra Leone is proudly back on the tourism map for the adventurous, beach-loving, jungle-exploring, mountain-scaling and curious of heart traveller.

About the author

We had already been in West Africa six months when we first heard about the spectacular beauty and variety of Sierra Leone, a frontier country even by the standards of the region. When Bradt heroically accepted our urgings that it was time to publish the first ever guide to the country - which at the time was emerging from a desperate civil war - we found a beautiful, storied, proud, sometimes painful, and always absorbing country. We found in its resilient splendour a place where you can track monkeys, buffalo, and rare hippos; pick your own oysters fresh from the sea; dine on an unspoilt, empty beach with only the moon for company; dance all night to Freetown's thriving scene; step onto a former slave island drenched in history; clamber to the top of mist-shrouded mountains; swim around a tiny island poking out of the Atlantic; trek impenetrable forest for Jurassic Park-style views, listen to the anger of the surf off abandoned beaches, the confessions of diamond smugglers or the corruption-busting invocations of musicians. Since then one or the other of us has returned to document elections, work with the tourist board, produce coffee table books, report on politics and the economy and watch enormous changes in the country. Most important we have seen how it can intoxicate and bewitch visitors, whether diaspora returning home, tourists looking for something new, or foreign workers keen to explore. No wonder they call it swit Salone (sweet Sierra Leone).

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Contents

PART 1 GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography, Climate, History, Government & politics, Economy, People Language, Education, Religion and Cultural beliefs, Culture, Natural History and Conservation
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Embassies, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating & drinking, Public holidays & festivals, Shopping, Sport, Photography, Media & communications, Business & Investment, Buying property, Cultural etiquette, Language, Travelling positively

PART 2 THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 Freetown
History, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information, Where to stay, Where to eat & drink, Entertainment & nightlife, Festivals, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see
Chapter 4 Western Area
The interior, Bunce Island, The beaches
Chapter 5 Southern Province
Southwest of the Bo road, East of the Bo road
Chapter 6 Eastern Province
Kenema, Gola, Koidu, Around Koidu, The far east
Chapter 7 Northern Province
From Freetown to Makeni, Makeni, Around Makeni, The far north and northeast, The northwest

Appendices
Language
Further info
Index