Sierra Leone Shopping and nightlife
Shopping in Sierra Leone
Freetown is the major shopping area of Sierra Leone, where you'll be able to browse local arts and crafts in a number of markets. Victoria Park is one of the largest markets, where visitors can find all sorts of tailored clothes, hats and leather shoes to complement your wardrobe. Big Market (near Government wharf) will be of special interest to those looking for wood and bone carvings, traditionally woven baskets and cultural ‘bush-medicine’ trinkets to satisfy your curiosity for animistic artefacts.
At Lumley and Aberdeen beaches travellers can find small carvings, jewellery and Batik cloth, perfect gifts to take back to your friends and family. On a number of beaches along the Freetown Peninsula including Bureh beach, River No. 2 and Lakka beach, you can find well established tailors to get your clothes made sur mesure, old artefacts found on the beaches such as old coins, masks and colonial memorabilia, and a beautiful array of accessories such as bags and bracelets that can complement any outfit you decide to wear.
Handmade woodcarvings, baskets, patchwork, jewellery and tie-dye clothing are specialities. There are also numerous small retail outlets and supermarkets in downtown Freetown around Wilkinson Road (the cheapest supermarket being Freetown Supermarket) and Ecowas Street, the busiest road in Freetown.
It is common to haggle with the craft shopkeepers in Sierra Leone, and a negotiation would normally start with a high price from the shopkeeper. The main technique is to half the price, and then work your way up whilst the shopkeeper works his/her way down until you both reach a reasonable compromise.
There are no real regulations for shopping, but it is common sense not to buy endangered animal parts (skins, bones, etc.) and other internationally banned products such as ivory and firearms.
Mon-Sat 0800-1200 and 1400-1700.
Nightlife in Sierra Leone
The best entertainment occurs in Freetown and Bo where there are pubs, bars, nightclubs and casinos. For a lively night out, head to the hotels along Lumley Beach in the popular Cape Sierra district, or down to the closest beaches to Freetown, along the peninsula, many of which organise music, dancing and local entertainment. Aberdeen also offers some great nights out in places like Aces, O’Caseys or Paddy’s bar. Bo is slowly coming up in the party scene and is competing with Freetown in terms of live music presentations. For live music, head to After Work nightclub or Black & White where local artists show off their talents on a weekly basis. Some beachside clubs also organise concerts by local pop bands.
The only cinema has unfortunately been closed until further notice, but makeshift cinemas (widescreen TVs in a backroom) are popping up all over town, usually showing old cheesy action movies. There is however a booming film industry that is set to compete with Ghana, Burkina-Faso and even Nollywood when it comes to production and filming.
The National Stadium has regular ‘big music acts’ performing on a weekly basis, and also showcases some impressive national and international sporting events.
When it comes to celebrating bank holidays, Sierra Leoneans know how. You will often come across ‘all-nighter’ sound systems to which the youth will dance from the evening to the break of dawn, and sometimes for two to three days straight.