Sierra Leone
Forts, Chimps and Beaches Tour

Sierra Leone – Forts, Chimps and Beaches Tour – an 8 day Small Group Tour.

Once occupying the pages of package holiday brochures, and attracting more sun and sand visitors than Gambia, Sierra Leone’s beaches even offered ‘a taste of paradise’ in 1970s Bounty bar commercials. War changed everything.

However, after UN and British military intervention civil conflicted ended in 2002. Real economic, political and infrastructure progress was being made. Free and fair elections were held, electricity issued from wall sockets and water from taps. Skilled Sierra Leoneans, many refugees from the war, returned in their thousands to rebuild their country.

Then in 2014, from nowhere, came Ebola. Sierra Leone was finally declared free from the disease by the WHO in 2016.  Exacting a tragic human cost, for many the economic effect was more profound.

Airlines stopped flying, hotels closed, and the businesses collapsed.

Today Sierra Leone is once more emerging, ever hopeful, working hard for a better future. The country has much to offer, more than just white sand beaches. An immensely important history intrinsically linked with the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition, combines with an energetic contemporary culture, wildlife-filled forests and idyllic offshore islands in a welcoming anglophone microcosm of West Africa. What are you waiting for?

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


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.

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)

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)

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)

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.

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)

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)

Transfer by boat to Freetown’s Lungi Airport in time for onward flights.

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 3 travellers.

Single Supplement from £275

Return flights from London to Freetown start at £700. Contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Sierra Leone costs from £82 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £146 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Sierra Leone Tour map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • 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)

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips (discretionary)

I had a wonderful trip. One of the best ever. Festus and Alieya were great and I now call them friends. They helped me out in many ways and it was great being with them.

Gregory Griffith, USA