About Sierra Leone
If you are visiting Sierra Leone for the first time, here are some facts to get you started. The country is located in West Africa, bordered by Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean. As African countries go, the population of approximately six million is modest but for a small country, this nation has a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking nature. Sierra Leone has been inhabited for over 2,500 years and was one of the first British colonies in West Africa in 1787. It gained independence in 1961.
Freetown is the nation’s vibrant capital. Sitting on hilly terrain, it is possible to see the sea from almost any point in the city. It also means the beaches and beautiful coastline is never far away. Some of the city’s top beaches include Lakka, Sussex, No. 2 River, Tokeh, and Bureh. The sea plays an important role in culture here and fishing and boating are popular pastimes.
Freetown has a number of popular attractions. The best place to start is at the Sierra Leone Museum where you can browse artifacts that tell this nations story. Outside, stands the Cotton Tree. It cannot be missed due to its immense scale. It stands in central Freetown as a historic symbol and reminder of freedom. St. John’s Maroon Church was built in 1820, as is a national heritage site. It is also a prime example of colonial architecture. The construction of the grand St. Georges Cathedral began in 1817 and was completed eleven years later. It has stood as a place of worship since. The Portuguese steps are another must-see, a representation of the first steps made by many from the Old Wharf, when they were historically brought here by the British.
Shopping in Freetown is a unique experience and there are several markets worth visiting. Each market offers a vibrant and atmospheric vibe, and may even appear a little chaotic with the noise of vendors trying to capture your attention with their goods. For local fruit and vegetables, and a selection of other goods such as textiles visit Government Wharf or Kissy Road Market. King Jimmy Market specializes in edible treats so here you can also pick the best local seafood catches. If you are looking for tradition hand-made crafts and fashion items then the Victoria Park and Big Markets are the places to shop. Freetown has a strong identity for fashion and often you will see second-hand clothes redesigned into unique pieces. Color is also important in fashion so clothes are often vibrant.
Sierra Leone’s nature is awe-inspiring and from Freetown you can easily find yourself surrounded by mountains and rainforest. The climate is tropical and much of the environment is made up of jungle, National Parks and hilly vistas. Natural attractions in and around Freetown include Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Bunce Island, Charlotte Falls, Banana Island and Turtle Islands. Nature contributes to resources and the palm tree is a national symbol, which plays an important role in daily life. The versatile palm tree provides food in the form of oil, fruit and nuts, as well as soaps and thatching for roofs.
Rice is the staple food in Sierra Leone and is eaten with almost every meal. It is also a national symbol represented in song and traditions. There are in fact over 20 words to describe this versatile ingredient. In Freetown’s restaurants and street stalls, you will also find that spices, herbs, nuts and seafood dominate the menus, making for a delicious blend and food culture.
Make the Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Freetown your base and discover the rich culture and stunning natural environment, as well as the bustling city of this nation’s capital.