The Tropical Banana Islands
The Banana Islands are located south of Freetown on the western peninsula. This small island chain is made up of Dublin, Ricketts and Mes-Meheux. The population of Dublin and Ricketts combined is 900, the two island villages connected by a stone causeway. The third island is uninhabited. Dublin is particularly known for its pristine white beaches, whereas Ricketts is renowned for its tropical rainforest.
Colonialism and Slavery
The islands are an ancient slave colony. It is thought that they were first discovered and visited in the 17th century by Portuguese sailors. The first inhabitants arrived in the late 18th and 19th centuries. These inhabitants were freed slaves from the Caribbean. It is their direct descendants that make up the islands population. There are many historic sites and monuments scattered over the islands as well as churches. It is this heritage that shows evidence of colonial times and the slavery trade.
Today, life on these islands is very sustainable. Locals live off the land and sea, catching and eating fresh fish and harvesting crops and leaves. Visitors are welcomed and you will be greeted by warm, hospitable people.
There are a hive of activities on Banana Islands. Snorkelling is a popular way to take in the surrounding sea, exploring ship wrecks scattered off the islands or the reefs. If you are lucky enough you may come across the endangered sea turtles found around these islands. Why not take a canoe trip around the islands, or go fishing. Local fishermen can arrange this for you for a small fee.
The rainforest is teeming with wildlife. Take the opportunity for either a guided or unguided walk through this tropical landscape. Be aware that there are numerous hiking trails and it is easy to lose your way. If you just want to sit back, relax and take in the fabulous surroundings, that is fine too.
Kent is the starting point to sail to Banana Islands and is less than 40 minutes from Freetown. It is recommended to organise your trip in advance to make sure that there is a boat available and waiting to take you over the water for the 20 minute boat ride. The staff at the Radisson Blu Manny Yoko Hotel, Freetown will be happy to help with organising this unforgettable day trip. Freetown is the ideal place to be situated for taking day trips in Sierra Leone. One other recommended trip is Bunce Island.