Travel to Sierra Leone
Flying to Sierra Leone
Flights to Sierra Leone depart from a variety of European and African destinations and are operated by several airlines. Carriers including Air France (www.airfrance.com) and Brussels Airlines (www.brusselsairlines.com). British Airways flights from the UK are currently suspended due to concerns about the public health situation in Sierra Leone.
If arriving in Freetown after dark, you might want to spend the night in Lungi before continuing on to Freetown the next day, as you’ll have to cross the Sierra Leone River to enter the capital. There are several options for crossing this waterway.
The best methods of transit can book up rapidly, so it’s best to make your arrangements in as far as possible in advance or as soon as possible after disembarking the plane.
A private speedboat charter is one of the more expensive ways to get to Freetown, albeit one of the most fun too. VSL Travel (tel: +232 76 258 258;www.visitsierraleone.org) can charter these. Journey time is around 20-30 minutes.
Water taxis (basically, large speedboats) are one of the safest ways to transfer to Freetown, although the ride can be bumpy.
The cheapest option and one popular with locals is to take the ferry to Freetown. It is, however, not the quickest options and delays occur regularly.
Lastly, it is possible to drive from Lungi to Freetown via Port Loko, but the drive takes over four hours and makes more sense if you're heading up country rather than to Freetown. Hiring a car while in Lungi may be difficult, so it’s best to pre-arrange all transport while at the airport.
Freetown-Lungi International AirportCode
The airport is 13km (8 miles) north of the city (journey time - 45 minutes).TelephoneAddress
From London - 9 hours 45 minutes (including stopover); New York - 17 hours 45 minutes (including stopover); Toronto – 17 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Singapore – 25 hours 40 minutes (including stopover); Sydney – 35 hours (including stopover).
Departure tax is usually included in the airfare.
Travelling to Sierra Leone by Rail
There are no public passenger services at present connecting Sierra Leone to neighbouring countries; the only railways are privately owned by the mining companies.
Driving to Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is accessible by road via its two borders with Guinea and Liberia. It is possible to reach Sierra Leone by road from Europe and the rest of Africa. The best route for overland travel from Europe is via Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea and takes approximately six days.
It is possible to cross the continent from East Africa or South Africa to West Africa, overland, in two weeks.
Road conditions across West Africa vary, but it takes several days to travel overland from Europe to Sierra Leone. We recommend you take into consideration the advice from the Foreign Commonwealth Office (www.fco.gov.uk) before undertaking such a journey.
Getting to Sierra Leone by boat
The main commercial port is Freetown, from where there are services to Guinea and Liberia. A number of cargo ships, including Grimaldi Lines (www.grimaldi.co.uk) advertise passenger cabins and offer the possibility of travelling to other countries in West Africa via boat.
SilverSea Explorer (www.silversea.com) includes Sierra Leone on its cruise itineraries.
Because of the need to cross the Sierra Leone River when arriving at Lungi Airport, a commercial ferry option is available and cater for a variety of budgets (see Air notes).
Sierra Leone has a large number of waterways meandering across the country and acting as trade routes for rural villages that are not accessible by road. It is possible, along some of the larger rivers, to charter dugout canoes and boatmen from local communities. The best time of year for travel by river is between during the dry season, which runs from November to April.