Welcome to Freetown, Sierra Leone – a tiny remote city on the outer-most coast of West Africa. If you’re a fan of the wanderlust that is West African travel then maybe you’ve heard of Lagos, Accra, Abidjan, or Dakar – so what’s Freetown, and why Freetown?
Freetown is kind of like this exclusive hidden gem of; fresh coconuts sold on every street corner; sun, sand, and sea; natural excursions for days; sultry foods like oysters and lobster for a steal; never ending nightlife in clubs built on oceans; and globally connected historical sites. But only those who really know, know! So do you want to discover the best of yourself in this city that was once, and still is, a connecting coast for global trajectories?
Population: 6.6 million (July 2020 est.)
Lingua Franca: Krio
Official Language: English
Time Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Geographic Area: Total: 71,740 sq km, Land: 71,620 sq km, Water: 120 sq km 
Climate: The ‘rainy season’ lasts from May to December and is a time of humid, hot, and cloudy weather with heavy rains. The ‘dry season’ lasts from December to April and is a time of tropical and hot weather. 
Political System: Presidential Republic, Unicameral Parliament
Currency: Sierra Leone Leone (SLL)
Country Dialing Code Prefix: +232
Primary Mode of Purchases: CASH!
Visa: Citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) do not require a visa to enter the country; all other travelers require a visa, which can be obtained on arrival


Sierra Leone's history can be traced back over 2,500 years as migrants from other parts of West Africa settled in the tropical land. Freetown, the capital city, was founded by formerly enslaved Africans returning home to freedom. The returnees were a mixed group of Londoners, Nova Scotians, and Jamaican maroons who intermarried to create what was known as the Creole (presently referred to as Krio) population. When they arrived in Freetown they first settled around the massive Cotton Tree and threw a party! They sang praises and hymns of finally reaching a free land.
Although the Freetownians were overjoyed to reach a “free land” they soon discovered that Freetown was part of Sierra Leone – an African nation inhabitted by a multitude of ethnic groups, and controlled by the English under United Kingdom colonial administration. They were no longer enslaved but they weren't fully free!
The city and country melted into a cultural and commercial hub of West African tribes with strong practices around academia, art, trade, food and more. As a chief port city of Sierra Leone, Freetown was (and still is) a commercial center for trade in rutile, bauxite, platinum, gold, and diamonds. It is also known as the home of Fourah Bay College, established in 1827 as the first Western-influenced college in West Africa. Through the 19th Century, Fourah Bay College attracted students from across the continent. 
Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961 after Sierra Leoneans along with the entirety of West Africa led fierce anti-colonial wars, boycotts and protests against the economic exploitation and racial, social and political injustices of colonialism. Colonialism became too expensive for the British to maintain given all the riots and wars.
Once Sierra Leone gained independence, Freetown like most capitals of newly created African nations, received thousands of migrants in search of employment – further expanding the multicultural melting pot that is Sierra Leone as a whole. This legacy is reflected in the multiple (16) languages, tribes, and cultures of Sierra Leoneans today. And they all lived in harmony and peace for sometime. 
Unfortunately, Sierra Leone’s ability to avoid political unrest ended in 1991 when a civil war broke out. The war was largely a result of political power mongering on the part of the country’s political elite who had come to view politics as a means to enrich themselves via corruption, while leaving the populace to fend for themselves. The war destroyed much of the city’s infrastructure and economy before ending in 2002. 
Since 2002, Freetown has come quite a way in rebuilding its political, economic, and social sectors. The city currently has a full functioning and peaceful democracy, and budding economic sectors (mining, telecoms, agro-processing, fishing, hospitality/tourism and fast moving consumer goods). The majority of Freetown and Sierra Leone’s potential to be an economic powerhouse remains untapped and the city is ripe for lucrative investment opportunities.
Below is a list of resources to help you discover the rich history of Freetown, and Sierra Leone as a whole.

Medical Care

Sierra Leone has an emerging medical landscape and while there are many hospitals and private clinics scattered across Freetown, any serious medical procedures should be done prior to traveling to Sierra Leone or when one returns home. For minor medical services private clinics are recommended.
Below are some options for medical care.

Money Matters

The most common way of paying for things in Sierra Leone is cash. Not a lot of merchants accept card nor digital payments. This means that you should carry dollars/pounds/euros through your travels and you can exchange your money for the local currency, the Leone (SLL), through international transfer agencies, any commercial bank, or informal money transfer agents in any commercial area.
Most bank headquarters are located in the center of town but they will often have branches in the commercial strips. ATMs are available throughout the city for you to draw SLL from a foreign currency account, but machines sometimes run out of currency.
Pro tips: higher denomination foreign bills often get a better exchange rate in the informal market than lower ones, as do more recently minted bills. Also, the highest denomination Leone is 20,000 (USD $2), which means you'll need to carry the money in something other than your pockets if you plan on doing high end shopping or fine dining.

Communication & Co-Working

Leaving everything behind for a world of wanderlust is what Freetown is best suited for! But, you may still want to communicate with friends and family both inside and outside the country from time to time to let everyone know that you’re living your best life!
Sierra Leone is in the GMT time zone. That means it's the same time in Freetown as it is in London, except during the summer, and you will be on average 4-8 hours ahead of various cities in North America. The country code is +232, and cell reception can be found everywhere in Freetown.
To keep in touch with everyone through the internet, you can load data onto your phone, or find wifi at any and every formal establishment (for example hotels and restaurants) in Freetown.
Below is a list of places that will help meet your communication needs.

News & Media

There is so much beauty, adventure and excitement to discover in Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, however, if you don’t know where to look— you might just miss the splendor! The best way to stay updated on Sierra Leone news, current affairs, businesses, nightlife and more is to follow the buzz! 
From social media blogs and vlogs, to webzines, print magazines, independent radio stations, newspapers and more— Sierra Leone’s media scene is growing rapidly and in all directions. Following these platforms, is the best way to find out about the newest private beach resort that dawns local culture, the latest pop-up event, and where to buy organic fruit while supporting a local farmer.
Below are some of the best ways to stay informed and connected — we are here to ensure that you don’t miss out any breaking news, developments, or opportunities — be it business or pleasure! 


Getting around Freetown and Sierra Leone as a whole is super easy! There are a wealth of transportation options available for every budget and sense of adventure  from private car rental services (equipped with personal drivers) to public transportation that includes mini-buses, shared taxis, motorized tricycles ("kekes"), and even motorbikes!
Below are options for moving your feet, in the Freetown streets! And in case you are short on time or energy, we've included some concierge and deliery services that can do the running around for you.


Finding your home away from home can be tough. As much as we all want ‘the brand new feel’ whilst on vacation, we also want to feel safe, comfortable and happy with where we lay our head to rest at night! It’s a good thing then, that Freetown is not only one of the safest national capital cities in the world, it’s also home to a growing hotel market where hospitality gurus, top chefs, and budding entertainment strategists are constantly pushing the boundaries.
Below are our favourite Freetownian accomodations for every wallet!

Things to Do

Freetown may be small in size and population – but there’s never a dull moment here, and you will definitely never run out of things to do! As a coastal and trade port city, with one of the world’s most gorgeous topographies – it’s local attractions include breathtaking views at the highest elevations, pristine waterfalls, a natural chimpanzee reserve, numeros islands waiting to be explored, and museums commemorating the rich and diverse history of the city.
Check out our exclusive list of Freetown’s local attractions and most exciting activities! You heard it here!


If you’ve ever heard the word Sierra Leone in a sentence, you probably heard the word beaches in that same sentence too. Yes, Sierra Leone is synonymous with world class beaches! Along the West African coast, and on the continent as a whole, our beaches offer the rarest and most exclusive quality to the world’s top sands – privacy! 
All of our pearl white sands and clear blue seas also come surrounded by fresh green mountains, valleys and forests – giving you the wonderland escape feel that you really can’t get anywhere else. Are you ready for paradise?
Check out our exclusively handpicked list of favorite beaches just for you.

Beach Resorts

Hey! Looking for a weekend getaway with bae? With the family? With the crew? Or, solo? We’ve got you covered!
When the hustle and bustle of Freetown feels a bit overwhelming, here are the best beach resorts the outskirts of Freetown has to offer!

Food & Beverage

Freetown is only for the foodie! If you don’t want to keep it sultry, salty, sweet and spicy – Sierra Leone is not for you. Your dining options range from fruit stands serving fresh produce, to vendors selling affordable street food, to fine dining restaurants that rival some of the best in your home city. If you’re looking to explore some of the best cuisines the world has to offer, we’ve got you covered!
Here are some of our favorite food options for local and international cuisine across the city! We've also included some adult beverage options if you're looking to unwind. And there are delivery options for food and drinks in case you're not keen on heading outside.


Freetown never sleeps! And even long after you’ve left the party, Freetown will still be partying! The city’s growing nightlife can be attributed to the explosive music and entertainment scene in West Africa – so if you love afrobeats, dancing, drinking and – Freetown is the groove for you. Our city comes complete with clubs on the waterfront, shisha pipes with bottle service, and post-dancing street food to soak up all the inebriation!
Here are must-do or die clubs, along with with some nightlife resources!


Sierra Leone’s music scene is growing, with a number of local artists – mainly rappers and singers – recently finding international critical acclaim while on world tours. This means that their home never ceases to reap the benefits of the best live shows they can put on! Freetown offers a host of seasonal live music events and music festivals annually.
Below is a list of top artists for you to explore, and we've also included some of the most popular festivals and concerts. 

Art & Culture

Art scenes across the African continent are growing exponentially, profoundly influencing global trends and techniques, and Sierra Leone is a part of this movement. In recent years a number of creative collectives, exhibition seasons, festivals and isolated events have begun to grace the Freetownian cultural life with their interpretations of local economics, politics and social trajectories.
From all-female-photography collectives, to the local school of thought for fine arts known as The Barray – the city of Freetown now offers a unique creative journey to its visitors. Spoken word and live music movements are also on the comeup.
Below is a list of artists, programs, and festivals to check out!


If there’s one thing Sierra Leoneans both prioritise and cherish – it’s style! Akin to our counterparts across the West African region, Sierra Leoneans love to ‘bluff’ (that’s Krio for dress well). Freetown is home to countless up-and-coming fashion designers, private tailors, textile/clothing material shops, and accessory stores for the creative ‘bluffer’ ready to take the trends by storm.
Below are some of our favorite places and providers to get some of our favorite fashion items!

Health, Beauty & Wellness

Are you a health and wellness aficionado? Serious about your workout and self care routine? Or maybe you want to look your best at all times during your trip.
Freetown has a plethora of health, beauty, and wellness resources to choose from.
Below is a list of some of our favorite spots to keep your hair looking right, your six pack hard, and your manicure fresh! We've also included some local made beauty products!


Have a strong need to add impact and value during your visit to Sierra Leone? The country has many worthy causes to lend your time, resources, and platform to. From after school programs, to women in stem – wherever your passions lie in giving back, we have you covered with all the information you need to get started!

Here are some organizations we think are doing some amazing work for their communities and the country at large.


Feel like packing up your bags and escaping the hustle and bustle of city-life in Freetown? I understand! It can all be a bit too much sometimes. Luckily, Sierra Leone has 5 provinces with 16 districts of pure country-side peace and serenity!
The rural districts are also home to Sierra Leone’s richest historical tales – with their legacies, natural excursions and even some building remains just waiting to be explored by you… who else?!
Below are list of things to explore on your trip to the provinces.