Sierra Leone, The Diamond of Africa

*Depart from Atlanta or New York on Wednesday December 14, 2022
*Return to Atlanta or New York on Friday December 23,  2022


Trip Summary


Day 1

Arrival in Freetown, transfer to hotel - Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel

Day 2

Freetown Historical Tour
Transfer to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Welcome Party

Day 3

Bunce Island, Tasso Island
Sunset Cruise

Day 4

Transfer to Kabala - Stando Hotel, Kabala Hill View

Day 5

Full Day in Kabala, visit Senekedugu, Bintumani Foothill Trail, Community Walk

Day 6

Depart Kabala for Tokeh (Freetown Peninsula); Freetown Peninsula - Beach Hopping Tour - The Place Resort

Day 7

River Number 2 Beach, Day Trip to Banana Islands - Banana Islands
Farewell Dinner and Party

Day 8

Depart Sierra Leone - Freetown-Lungi International Airport (FNA)

***In the morning of Days 2 & 3 (between 8AM & 9:30AM), we will have a couple of our best local designers to showcase and sell some pre-made clothes, and also have fabrics to custom-make clothes.


Day 1

Arrive to Freetown’s Lungi International Airport, which is one of the world’s most uniquely-situated airports, located on the northern coast of the Freetown Estuary. On arrival, disembark and enter the arrivals hall for baggage reclaim. You will be met by a representative from VSL TRAVEL who will have a signboard with your name on it after customs. He will be available to deal with any immediate questions then get you on your private vehicle for transfer to the dock from where you take the 30-minute boat ride and make a charismatic entry to the city catching a glimpse of the towering hills over Freetown. Once in Aberdeen, you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel.

After check in at the hotel, you will have welcome dinner.

Overnight at Radisson Blu Hotel


Day 2

Today we start the day by having our first look around the vibrant city and make a sweep through its historical core. With the car and guide at your disposal you will visit sites such as the Railway Museum, St. Georges Cathedral, National Museum, Peace Monument, the Maroon Church, the Cotton Tree, The Gateway to the Old King's Yard, Freedom Steps and Fort Thornton (where the Presidential State House now stands).

Transfer to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary

After lunch, you will head for Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

You will see the amazing work being done by Bala and his team. Chimpanzees are often cruelly or ignorantly kept as pets, or sometimes hunted for their meat. Today however, more than 100 primates find haven at Tacugama, swinging from branches, hooting with happiness, throwing things at passers-by with the petulance of children, nuzzling each other with tenderness of mothers attending to newborns, and picking bugs out of each other furs with the attention of Madonna’s manicurist, even the least animal-friendly of visitors gets sucked into the magic within the moments.

Apart from the Sanctuary there are other attraction sites available in this area to occupy your time among which is the viewing of over 100 bird species that have been identified in and around the Tacugama Forest Reserve.

After the chimps’ tour, you are transferred to your hotel.


Welcome Party Hosted by Dr. Fatu Forna

This evening, we join a typical 'Salone style' party hosted by Dr. Forna.


Day 3

Bunce Island, Tasso Island

This morning we go to Bunce Island with a private speedboat, viewing the city from the coast as you go by. Bunce Island was the largest British slave castle on the Rice Coast of West Africa. Founded around 1670, it exported tens of thousands of African captives to North America and the West Indies until the British Parliament finally closed it down in 1808. Bunce Island is left to decay, and although this raises questions of preservation, it does have a certain charm. It is authentic, raw - a painful history that is burying itself under layers of greenery.

After spending a couple of hours exploring the substantial ruins on the island, including the factory house, fortification, slave prison, watchtowers, dormitories, storerooms, and power magazine you will be transferred to Tasso Island where you could have lunch before being transferred to Freetown


Sunset Cruise

The Sunset Cruise takes you along the scenic Freetown bay as the sun sets into the Atlantic Ocean. This trip is ideal for getting different perspective of the capital whilst enjoying a cooling ocean breeze, local snacks, drinks, and good company.

The boat sets off at 6 pm from the Sea Coach docking bay. As the Party Scatter leisurely rides towards the east, you get a unique view of the diverse city-scape. You pass by churches, mosques, and typical Freetonian houses with colored roofs that cover the flowing hills. Cotton trees and tropical palms pop out in between the buildings.

Meanwhile, there is enough entertainment on the cruise boat itself. It holds about 50 people, which allows for an intimate yet large enough group to get a party vibe. Dinner is served, oldies play in the background, and those who like alcohol take out their cans and bottles to quench their thirst.

Upon returning to the western area, the boat takes a detour to the bustling Lumley beach. The hotel, bar and restaurant lights contrasted to the dark sea give a beautiful last sight of the trip.



Day 4

Transfer to Kabala

Drive from Freetown to Kabala, departing 8AM. You will stop in Makeni with your guide to have a look around this provincial town before setting off for the final 2-hour to Kabala. Lunch at Choices in Kabala (or similar).

In the afternoon, we climb Gbawuria Hill for fantastic views across Kabala Town and the Wara Wara Mountains beyond (5.5km, approx. 1 hr 30 mins total walking time, low-medium difficulty).

In the evening, relax and witness tradition in full flow as Kabala welcomes you with a traditional dance performance accompanied by Medo’s balange and African drums band.

Overnight at Stando Hotel & Kabala Hill View




Day 5

Full Day in Kabala, visit Senekedugu, Bintumani Foothill Trail, African Drumming

On this day, there are 3 different activities that people could choose one they would like to experience.

1. Senekedugu

Arise early and travel to nearby Senekedugu (10 min drive), with the option of touring local farms and get involved with seeding/harvesting of crops or climbing Len Konke Mountain (foothills reached by 15-20 min off-road Okada journey, then 3 km, approx. 1 hr 45 mins total walking time in very steep ascent/descent, high difficulty) with astounding 360-degree panoramic views – great also for bird-watching.

In the afternoon, join a workshop in gara tie-dying, led by local expert, and make your very own tie-dye cloth using traditional methods and inks.

Abu will also take you to the ‘Norwegian Camp’ to visit Sarah Kamara and Dugeah Marah, inspirational survivors of civil war violence, to show you the art of weaving country cloth.

In the evening we join the Food Festival hosted by one of Sierra Leone’s finest Chef.


2. Bintumani Mountain Foothill Trail

Bintumani is Sierra Leone's highest mountain, at a staggering 1,945m. It's West Africa's highest peak till Cameroon. It's an amazing mountain! Climbing this mountain normally 2-3 days, but due to to your limited time you will only stop at foothill trail (Sinekoro village).

Depart at 6:30AM and drive to Sinekoro village. You should be prepared for a very rough terrain with anticipation of taking motor bikes or walking some distance (depending on the water level). You will pass-by a couple of villages and also have time to interact with community stakeholders. Arrive Senekoro at 11AM, take photos at the trail, interact with locals and depart back for Kabala

In the evening we join the Food Festival hosted by one of Sierra Leone’s finest Chefs

3. Crash-course in African drumming

In the morning join local musician Medo for a crash-course in African drumming and learn to play (and make) the balange.

In the afternoon, join a workshop in gara tie-dying, led by local expert, and make your very own tie-dye cloth using traditional methods and inks.

Abu will also take you to the ‘Norwegian Camp’ to visit Sarah Kamara and Dugeah Marah, inspirational survivors of civil war violence, to show you the art of weaving country cloth.

In the evening we join the Food Festival hosted by one of Sierra Leone’s finest Chefs.


Day 6

Depart Kabala for Tokeh - Freetown Peninsula - Beach Hopping Tour

After breakfast, depart Kabala for 5-hour drive to Tokeh and embark on a Beach Hopping Tour while en route to Tokeh. You will stop at Bureh Beach and enjoy its golden sands while having lunch by the sea, do a quick visit to a church used to hold slaves next to the white sands of Kent beach, stop by the beautiful Black Johnson Beach renowned for its gold and black sand, and drive through the quaint town of York with wooden houses reminiscent of 19th century Louisiana before ending at Tokeh beach.

Accommodation: The Place Resort




Day 7

River Number Two Beach

After breakfast, we take the 20-minute walk to River Number 2 beach to experience this beautiful beach.

The beauty of River number 2 does not only lie in its gorgeous beach side, towering mountains and mangrove forest that flank the river flowing into the sea, it also lies in the fact that it hosts a completely community-run tourist location. Their organization, the Community Tourism Development Association, was founded about 20 years ago and has been active in protecting the beachfront, developing the tourist industry and supporting their community.

In terms of activities, River Number Two is a great starting point for guided forest walks, fishing trips and boat rides to the nearby islands (Banana and Turtle Islands). If you are into surfing, River number 2 sometimes has a pretty decent swell, but there are no boards to rent so you have to bring your own.

Of course, you can just chill out on this stunning beach.


 

Day Trip to Banana Islands

At 11AM, we head to Kent Village on the peninsula to catch a boat to Banana Island, for a chance to explore this scenic paradise. Three islands make up the Banana Islands: Dublin and Ricketts are linked by a stone causeway. The third Mes-Meheux is uninhabited. We will be going to Dublin, with its backyard gardens, big breadfruit trees and rare and delightful butterflies. You will be welcome by the sleepy but friendly community and go on a tour of this quiet paradise.

These pristine islands are a wonderful place to experience laid-back Sierra Leone and there will be various optional activities available for everyone, including hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and or a scenic boat trip around the island. This is an opportunity to have an insightful land tour of the island and set aside some time to explore on our own around this virtually unknown area of West Africa. Lunch will consist of locally-caught fresh fish, prawns and lobsters (all subject to availability)

In the afternoon, you are transfer back to your hotel.

See below the link for more details about this Island:
https://www.visitsierraleone.o...


Farewell Dinner and Party

This evening, we experience another 'Salone type' fun-filled party but this on the beach.


Day 8

Depart Sierra Leone

This morning, you will relax on this stunning beach before taking a 3 hours drive to the Airport for your trip home, departing at 11AM.

📍Freetown-Lungi International Airport (FNA),
Lungi, Freetown, WESTERN AREA, SIERRA LEONE


Package Information

COST OF ALL-INCLUSIVE TRIP (includes hotels, flights from designated cities, and trip insurance for illness cancellation and medical evacuation): 

For as little as 3 payments of $1999 or $5,899 when you pay in full

Date

Installment Plan

Pay in Full

Due at time of reservation

$1999

$5899

Due before June. 14, 2022

$1999

Due before August, 14, 2022

$1999

TOTAL

$5997

$5899

*Fully refundable if you cancel before March 14, 2022 (minus 3% stripe/PayPal fee).
*After May 14, 2021: $3000 + 3% stripe/PayPal fee is non-refundable
*After July 14, 2022: is non-refundable as flights hotels will be paid in full. 


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