Until some days ago, if you had asked me to inform you approximately Sierra Leone, I would have needed to assume lengthily and difficult to inform you much approximately this West African u. S. I should likely have defined more or less in which the united states is placed. I may additionally have referred to something about the slave change being connected to Sierra Leone. I may want to truly have instructed you that they had experienced brutal civil warfare. I might actually have admitted that I wasn’t sure whether or not the warfare became one hundred% over. And it really is about it.
Slavery and conflict. A pretty terrible view of what’s, in reality, an exceedingly advantageous u. S . A. Today, I see Sierra Leone from a completely distinctive perspective.
It is tough to disregard Sierra Leone’s history and cognizance merely on the existing. Once a fertile place inhabited with the aid of dozens of tribes, it becomes settled by way of the Portuguese within the 1400s, who constructed a castle as a buying and selling publish for gold, spices, ivory slaves. A British protectorate in later years, Sierra Leone had the dubious honor of turning into domestic to greater than forty,000 freed slaves who gave Freetown its name.
As a protectorate, Sierra Leone changed into exploited for its mineral and diamond wealth within the 1900s. Sierra Leoneans fought towards the Germans in Cameroon within the First World War and alongside the British inside the Second World War. In 1961, Sierra Leone accomplished independence from Britain and governed itself peacefully for 30 years. The peace became now not too final and became followed by using a decade of brutal civil battle that destroyed the financial system, brutalized the people, and left a rustic rich in sources as one of the poorest inside the globe.
The conflict was formally declared over in January 2002, and President Kabbah reelected in May 2002. Since then, the people of Sierra Leone were pulling collectively to repair, renew and regenerate.
Whilst researching a new internet site looking at travel and tourism in Sierra Leone, I got her into touch with Sierra Leoneans from all manner of backgrounds dwelling in each Sierra Leone and elsewhere. Their ardor for the country becomes infectious: they absolutely wanted to get the message across that Sierra Leone has some distance greater to offer than an unhappy latest history and that reconstruction is moving ahead at a speedy tempo. And certainly, proof of reconstruction is anywhere – new roads are being built, mines are being re-opened, dam tasks commenced earlier than the battle are over again underway, markets are all over again thriving and humming with life.
There is also an extraordinary deal of self-assurance in Sierra Leone’s capacity as a tourist destination: a Chinese agency has recently invested a reputed US$270 million within the lodge infrastructure; enterprising businesses like Kevin McPhillips Travel (based totally in the UK, USA, and the Netherlands) offer extraordinary two times weekly flights to Sierra Leone; African Tour specialists are studying feasible package holidays within the region. The exciting component approximately investment in Sierra Leone is that extra is ready to follow!
They have a right to be confident. The seashores alongside Sierra Leone’s golden peninsula are stated to be one of the global’s first-rate kept secrets and techniques. Secluded, easy, and stretching for miles on the stop, seaside tourism is one of the pinnacle items on the authorities’ tourism advertising schedule. Beaches with very British names like Kent, Lumley, Sussex, and York mix with extra African names like Bureh Town, Tokey and Mammah seashore, and
Although many of the forests and lots of the natural world has been disturbed and, in some instances, destroyed, by using the battle, eco-tourism is an important focus of Sierra Leoneans and herbal treasures like Outamba-Kilimi National Park, populated by recreation animals including elephants, chimpanzees, and pygmy hippos. Mount Bintimani, the very best factor in West Africa, are simply two of the profitable natural world sights on offer. Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary rescues orphaned and captured chimps. It has been described as one of the maximum hit Sierra Leonean wildlife endeavors, while Tiwai Island is domestic to over 3000 chimps and different recreation.
Lakes, rivers, and dams are ideal for picnics and relaxing. The marshlands conceal a myriad of colorful birds – indeed, the chicken life has been less affected by the warfare than the animals, and anywhere you pass, the air is packed with birdsong. Sierra Leone is a fowl-watchers dream! Tiwai Island, for one, boasts over one hundred thirty-five extraordinary chicken species!
For traditional vultures and those with historical pastimes, the remnants of the slave trade make thrilling and, although upsetting, expeditions. Bunce Island, a slave-trading castle, is a quick boat ride up the river; Freetown is itself a monument to freed slaves and its Cotton Tree, which stands in the heart of what’s thought to be a vintage slave marketplace, is now an excellent countrywide image. Graves, monuments, and forts are all that remains of British and Portuguese electricity in Sierra Leone: each has a story to inform. There are over 16 special ethnic groups in the use of a, along with the Krio, descendants of freed slaves who communicate an English-based total Creole known as Krio, traveling villages, and chatting to humans in markets and inside the streets is worthwhile for all parties!
Freetown is probably the maximum advanced of the towns, imparting a level of safety this is difficult to match even in Western nations. Hotels, restaurants, and nightspots are sprouting like mushrooms, and ingesting out in Sierra Leone promises quite a several traditional and worldwide threats and seafood. This is a past notion!
One has to marvel at what enchantment will tip the scales in making Sierra Leone the famous vacation spot that it once was before civil warfare. Based on my stories with Sierra Leoneans in the latest weeks, I experience that it will be those who make the difference. Without exception, every Sierra Leonean that I have met or worked with has been pleased with their country, pleased with its development, and excited about the destiny. They are unfailingly welcoming, greeting resource-employees and visitors alike with smiles that you can simplest discover in Africa, with an optimism – no, positivity – that different international locations might do well to emulate.
For travelers searching for a “diamond inside the rough,” Sierra Leone gives a holiday like no different – my best advice to you is to visit quicker as opposed to later, to avoid what’s certain to be a stampede as soon as holiday-makers and tour operators latch directly to this gem of a destination.
Suzanne Whitby is the founder of Naturally Africa Dot Org ([http://naturallyafrica.Org/]), which presents tour, tourism, enterprise, and occasion statistics about international locations in Africa. To date, South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar are staying at the website online.