Day 1 – Freetown
Arrive in Freetown and after travelling from Lungi Airport by boat, transfer to hotel accommodation. After time to freshen up, explore Freetown and visit some of the main sites, including the Maroon Church, Big Market and St George’s Cathedral. Overnight at Sierra Lighthouse Hotel or similar.
Day 2- Freetown - Bunce Island – Tacugama
This morning we take a boat to Bunce Island. The island was established as a major island slave port in 1670. Strategically located in the vast Freetown Harbour, approximately 32km upriver on the Sierra Leone River, the island is at the limit of navigation for ocean going vessels. A lone caretaker oversees the island’s ruins; a manager’s house, fortified castle, holding cells, and graves. Slavery for most Europeans is a dark period now of historic interest. For many West Africans the injustice of the trade remains raw. Unlike some other West Africa slave islands, Bunce is not yet protected by UNESCO. It should be. The island provides a powerful experience for anyone interested in the history of the country and the slave trade. Later, we return to Freetown and drive up from the city to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The sanctuary is committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees. Chimps enjoy a semi-wild life within the 40-hectare reserve. Overnight in Augusta Lodge in Tacugama (B)
Day 3- Freetown - Banana Islands
The Banana Islands lie south west of the Freetown Peninsula, a forty-minute boat ride from Kent. Trails crisscross the main islands of Dublin and Ricketts, linked by a stone causeway. Named for their shape rather than their fruit production, a forest village and a fishing village are as metropolitan as the islands get. There’s ample time to explore, and swim and snorkel in the clear blue seas. Accommodation is provided by thatched beach chalets with modern, private bathroom. Overnight at chalet camp. (BLD)
Day 4- Banana Islands
A leisurely day to take in the variety marine life, birds and flora the islands have to offer. People are friendly, and if you can track him down, the Paramount chief will relate the island’s ancient and fascinating contemporary history. Perhaps investigate Banana Islands palm wine, much sought after on the mainland. Overnight at chalet camp. (BLD)
Day 5- Banana Islands - Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Heading back to the mainland, we drive to Tiwai, a unique rainforest island reserve initially established to protect pygmy hippo. The reserve lies at the edge of the immense Gola forest, which extends to the Liberian border. The flora and fauna here is stunning. Though pygmy hippo are very difficult to see, troops of wild chimpanzees, together with diana and colobus monkeys are much more visible, noisily inhabiting the forest canopy. Over 135 bird species, including eight types of hornbill have been recorded too, in addition to 700 plant species. The reserve is managed in conjunction with the local community, providing employment that’s an alternative to the diamond mines of Liberia. Overnight camping, at a permanent campsite. (BLD)
Non-alcoholic drinks and camping gear (tents, bed sheets/blankets) are provided.
Please Note: On occasion it may not be possible to visit Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary. If this is the case the similarly impressive, Outamba-Kilimi National Park will be included instead.
Day 6 - Tiwai Island
Today we have a full day exploring the reserve, walking in the forest accompanied by local guides, and taking to the river in canoes and motorboat. Overnight at a permanent campsite. (BLD)
Day 7 - Tiwai Island - Freetown
This morning we drive back to Freetown for a final night in Sierra Leone. If you have the energy, and you think you can take it, head downtown for a last taste of Salone in one of the city’s everchanging line up of nightclubs. Overnight at Sierra Lighthouse Hotel or similar. (B)
Day 8 - Freetown
Transfer by boat to Freetown’s Lungi Airport in time for onward flights.
- All accommodation
- Transport in a private vehicle throughout.
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- Visa support (letter of invitation)
- International flights
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips (discretionary)