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 transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to either relax after your journey or start exploring the town. No meals or activities included today. Overnight at Sierra Palms Hotel.

Today we head to Bunce Island. The island was established as a major slave trading fortress and castle in 1670 and is located approximately 20 miles upriver in the Freetown Harbour on the Sierra Leone River. Bunce Island is a powerful experience for anyone interested in the history of the country and the slave trade. After lunch you will visit the Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary, which is located about 40 minutes from the centre of Freetown. The Sanctuary was set up in 1995, and is committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees. The chimps enjoy a semi-wild life within the 100-acre reserve. Overnight in Augusta Lodge in Tacugama (B)

The Banana Islands lie south west of the Freetown Peninsula. The journey to the islands takes us about 2 hours by a combination of car and boat. Once here, you will be staying in a traditional eco-chalet with mod-cons. There is ample time for you to explore the Island and snorkel in the clear blue seas. Overnight at a permanent campsite. (BLD)

A leisurely day to take in the amazing array of fish, flowers and birds the island has to offer. You may get to meet some of the friendly local people who live on the island. Overnight at a permanent campsite. (BLD)

Drive to Tiwai, a unique rainforest island where visitors can camp in prepared tents surrounded by an evergreen forest and the sounds of hornbills and monkeys calling from the canopy. The flora and fauna to be found on Tiwai is stunning. Over 700 different plant species live on Tiwai and there are over 135 different bird species, including 8 types of hornbill. Overnight camping at a permanent campsite. (BLD)

Notes: All non- alcoholic drinks and camping items are provided (tents, bed sheets/blankets)

On occasions it may not be possible to visit Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary. On these occasions the trip will be replaced with Outamba-Kilimi National Park, which is equally as impressive.

We spend today exploring the area, walking through the forest, and travelling on the river by canoe and motorboat as we look for Tiwai’s wildlife. Overnight at a permanent campsite. (BLD)

Transfer back to Freetown for your final night in Sierra Leone. Overnight at Sierra Palms Hotel. (B)

This morning we explore Freetown. Visit some of the main sites including the Maroon Church, Big Market and St George’s Cathedral. Transfer to the airport on due time for your flight home. (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

Single Supplement from £295.

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

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