Freetown © David Hond
Freetown, the capital and largest city in Sierra
Leone, earned its name when it was founded in 1792 as a colony for
freed slaves. The city, although a commercial centre, offers
visitors a base from which to explore the rest of the country.
While the tourist infrastructure is
underdeveloped, there are some wonderful attractions for visitors
without competing with hordes of tourists. The history of Freetown
can be discovered at the Sierra Leone Museum, the National Rail
Museum, the Cape Sierra Leone Lighthouse, and the colonial stilt
houses at Hill Station.
For those that crave the outdoors, the Tacugama
Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a must-see, located 40 minutes outside of
town. However, the trip must be planned in advance, as both a 4x4
and an appointment are necessary to visit.
One of the best things to do in Freetown is to hit
the beach. Beautiful and largely unspoilt, beaches such as Lunley
and Lakka offer accommodation and great amenities. Nearby, the
community-driven shops and restaurants at No. 2 River Beach are
also worth a visit, as well as the historical fishing villages at
Violent civil war in the 1990s took its toll, but
today Freetown is working to regain its vibrancy, and the tourist
industry is sure to grow as travellers find this hidden treasure on
the West African Coast.