Sierra Leone Uncovered
Day 1 Freetown
Arrive at any time. Welcome meeting in the evening to meet your CEO and fellow travellers.
Day 2-3 Rogbonko (2B, 1L, 2D)
Head inland with a stop in Makeni. Meet the village chief, visit farms, learn about rural life on a cultural walk, take a dip in the river and try local cuisine while listening to some local music. About 200 miles from Freetown and the tourist beaches of the peninsula, you'll find another Sierra Leone, virtually unchanged over the centuries. With no running water, electricity or telephones and little contact with the outside world, the region is made up0 of subsistence farmers, traditional healers, secret societies and ancient traditions. Here, we sleep in a traditional house, eat local food and join in with the everyday life of the village. Built a little way from the village the retreat consists of two mud brick houses, each with two twin bedrooms, a living room and bathroom. Facing the houses is the ‘barray’ – an open-sided round house offering a shady place to eat, sit and chat. The village lies in a forest bounded on three sides by rivers. Monkeys are frequent visitors and dwarf crocodiles can be found in the nearby swamps. The surrounding area comprises grasslands and boli (flood plain) lands, where rice production is the major activity. The villagers are mostly farmers although there are other small-scale industries such as basket weaving, bag making, palm oil production and fishing. Cassava, peanuts, cashews, pineapples, maize and sorghum are also grown here. In the surrounding forests and bush there are opportunities for walks and some may choose to explore the rivers in a dugout canoe. The Bunbuna Falls, Mamunta Mayosso Wildlife Sanctuary and Kangari Hills Forest Reserve are nearby. The former is the first site to be managed as wildlife sanctuary in Sierra Leone and holds 252 species bird species, while the latter is home to chimpanzees, monkeys, antelope, forest elephants and buffalo.
Day 4-5 Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary (2B, 1L, 2D)
Cross the Moa River by boat to Tiwai Island and hike in the rainforest looking out for monkeys, chimps and birds. Visit a local village and take a relaxing boat ride. Tiwai is a community conservation program, managed by the Tiwai Island Administrative Committee (TIAC). All funds raised go towards running the project as well as supporting the Community Development Fund, to help finance community initiated programs. At the tip of Tiwai’s northern edge lie two stretches of sandy beach. Access to the beach is seasonal, as in the rainy season, the sandy mounds are hidden underwater. Enjoy a swim in the fresh water and look for river otter tracks as they sometimes like to play on the sand. Tiwai has one of the highest concentration and diversity of primates in the world with 11 species. Some of them are rare and endangered species like the colobus monkeys (black & white, red and olive) and the Diana monkey. There are also wild chimpanzees and the rare and endemic pygmy hippopotamus. Over 135 different bird species, including 8 types of hornbills and the white-breasted Guinea fowl, can be found on Tiwai, as well. Webs of trails weave through the Tiwai forest, allowing visitors and researchers to explore up to 50 km of walking paths. If you move silently through the forest, you can glimpse some of the rarest & most colorful primates in the world.
Day 6-7 John Obey Beach (2B, 2D)
Opt to volunteer in the community, relax on the beach, learn how to fish, or even take a day trip to Banana Island. John Obey is a true paradise. White sand, forest, mountains, warm water, beautiful fauna and flora and almost deserted! Here, there is a sustainable tourism project called "TribeWanted". It is an eco-hotel that produces its own food, within a "green" building, run by the local community. It is a small eco-tourism community living on about 6 acres of beach and lagoon-front land, adjacent to the John Obey fishing village on the Freetown Peninsula. Their mission is to build a model sustainable community, providing an unforgettable West African experience for travellers, while helping to change the perception of the country. There is an open beach kitchen at John Obey where travellers can get involved with food preparation or just hang-out with the team. There are heaps of activities for anyone looking for more than sunbathing- canoeing, fishing, sports, cooking, trekking, swimming, hammock-swinging & bonfire dancing. The team will happily cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements.
Day 8 River No. 2 (1B, 1D)
Head up the beach to this idyllic locale. Hike in the hills above the beach, try some palm wine, or enjoy one last day in the sun. River No. 2 is located in the peninsula region of western Sierra Leone,and is stunning! White sandy beaches, bright red hibiscus flowers, blue water, golden sunsets, jumping fish and a backdrop of rolling green hills. Order shrimp or fresh lobster from the beach and eat it while you watch the sunset. Go fishing for barracuda with our experienced guides, try some of the local food, buy beautiful cloth from the local tailors and buy fresh cocounuts or mangoes from your front porch. Once you get here, you'll never want to go home! The River No. 2 Resort is community-run and the proceeds from your stay support our village. Staying here helps support the community's health, welfare and future. Enjoy some options for evening entertainment ,as well. There's a beach bar for those who want to relax and sip a cold drink, with beachside drink delivery. Head out to the village disco. Locals come from miles away from to dance and enjoy the evening- join in! If you're in town during a football (soccer) match you can join the locals in watching a game. There is a small cinema for watching the games, and it's quite an experience to take part in. Enjoy football Sierra-Leone-style – packed shoulder to shoulder with loud cheering and heckling and foot-stomping. For something a little more low-key, there is a small selection of board games. And if you have extra board games you'd like to donate, please bring them along! A bonfire can be arranged as well.
Day 9 Freetown (1B, 1D)
Visit the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary in the morning before exploring Freetown in the afternoon. Sierra Leone is currently home to around 5,500 chimpanzees, double previous estimates. This exciting news gives new hope for the survival of the endangered western chimpanzee and also reveals that there are many threats to the remaining chimps. Over half are living outside of protected areas. Tacugama has been operating for 15 years and have continued to receive and rehabilitate orphaned chimpanzees from across the country. Freetown is the capital and largest city in Sierra Leone and has an abundance of historically significant landmarks that link the legacy of West Africans with African-Americans, Liberated African slaves and West Indians. A famous landmark is the Cotton Tree, which is a treasured symbol of the city because it represents the christening of Freetown in March 1792. In downtown Freetown is the Connaught Hospital, the first hospital in West Africa modeled after Western medical practices. Nearby is "King's Gate", built in stone with a statement inscribed which reads "any slave who passes through this gate is declared a free man", and it was this gate liberated Africans passed through. Slave steps carved out of stone are nearby the Navy Wharf. It was here that the Portuguese slave traders bought and sold many Africans and these steps are where their last footsteps on African soil were made. Freetown is home to Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, founded in 1827. The university played a key role in Sierra Leone’s colonial history. The college’s first student, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, went on to become the first indigenous Bishop of West Africa. The Big Market on Wallace Johnson Street is the showcase for local artisans’ work and the place to bargain for souvenirs. The Freetown Peninsula is ringed by long stretches of white sand. Lumley Beach, on the western side of the peninsula, is popular for local parties and festivals.
Day 10 Freetown (1B)
Depart at any time.