Discover Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone

Freetown is the capital and biggest town in Sierra Leone. It is the country's financial, economic and cultural capital. Freetown is located to the North of the country, and its seaside location makes vast economic activity possible. It is one of the largest deep-water ports in the world. We can for instance note the Queen Elizabeth II docks, which welcomed huge trade ships.

The town is now home to more than a million inhabitants. Yet Freetown exists since 1787, and was created by former slaves. It was christened "city of freedom" in 1792.

To book your airline ticket to Freetown, you had best avoid the rainy season that ranges from May to October. Between December and April, the weather is much less humid and temperatures stay around 27°C. The heat will not be too disturbing as the ocean is nearby and the currents mean a pleasant breeze runs through the city.

To reach the capital of Sierra Leone, you will land at Freetown airport - located in Lungi, 25 km away from the centre. Air France offers regular flights from London, with a lay-over. Your flight to Freetown will last about 8 hours from London, without counting the lay-over time (Paris or Amsterdam). Once there, you will not be too disturbed by the time difference as you will only need to push your watch back one hour.
Regarding the administrative requirements for your trip, do not forget to check the various things demanded by the country of destination, to avoid any bad last-minute surprises.

Freetown, colonial heritage and architecture

Freetown is a rather well-preserved tourist destination. There are often only very few tourists visiting the town. The city is a great starting point for discovering Sierra Leone, but is still worth a visit too.

During your trip to Freetown, you can discover the old colonial-style buildings. St John's Maroon church is the oldest religious building in the city, built in 1820. It bears the name of the founding group - the Jamaican Maroons.
In that same colonial style, you have the Fort Thornton bastions, that used to protect the local Governor's abode. The site is well-preserved and allows for full immersion in this rather unfamiliar colonial period.
After slavery was abolished, English ships would sail intercepted and condemned slave ships back to Freetown. There are still vestiges of this time, in particular the city's three old canons that used to belong to slave ships, now mounted on stone blocks and marking out the city's borders in the early 19th century.

During your trip to Freetown, you can also discover the Old Fourah Bay College. Its picturesque architecture dates back to 1848. It became the symbol of university education in sub-Saharan Africa.

Freetown and its must-see sites

If you have come to relax, Freetown's beaches will meet all your expectations. The tranquillity that lies there, as well as the miles and miles of white sandy beaches such as River Beach and Lumley Beach will amaze you. If you prefer a more lively atmosphere, you should shop around the Freetown market. The typically African markets are brimming with local produce, crafts and every-day products.

During your trip to Freetown, another great place to visit is the chimpanzee reserve - located just outside Freetown, in Tacugama. This reserve was created in 1995 and boasts a chimpanzee rescue and reintegration programme so they can live in their natural environment. The visit is particularly interesting.

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