Distance driven: 962km
Days spent: 25
Distance driven/day: 38,48km
Diesel price: 0,77€/l
Money spent: 1044€
We got our visas a couple of hours after applying on the same day at the High Consulate in Banjul (The Gambia) without any fuzz.
Costs are 100USD/person for 1 month single entry and 150USD/person for 3 months multiple entry.
Sierra Leone is a country where things are slowly going forward. We felt very comfortable walking wherever we wanted, even in the slums of Freetown and were only met with friendly curiosity. The level of English spoken is surprisingly high and people love to communicate and are mostly not shy to talk about the war. Freetown is an interesting place by any means compared to other African capitals with its location on several hills directly at the sea. The beaches along the peninsula south of the capital are mostly unspoilt and little developed but picture perfect. Definitely worthwhile was our visit to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary just outside Freetown. We did not make it to the very north of Sierra Leone but enjoyed our visit to Tiwai Island where we saw quite a variety of monkeys and beautifully dense forest.
The police and military were mainly friendly and just chatty with the occasional question for a gift but no unnecessary delays.
The border crossing from Guinea took a while due to many different stations on the Sierra Leonean side but was otherwise correct. With a foreign registered vehicle you have to pay 100.000 Leone (17€) road tax for one month and some extra ECOWAS insurance additional to your existing one which should cost 64.000 Leone (11€) for a 4×4 but we bargained our Oldie down to a small vehicle with the friendly insurance lady (42.000 Leone/7€).
The embassy of Ghana (N8 28.283 W13 16.130) has recently moved from the city centre up the hill and is easiest reached by taking a poda poda up to Wilberforce Roundabout. The usually only issue visas to residents so it took us a couple of hours of explaining and waiting until our application was accepted. Having the Nigeria visa already in our passports helped as it proved our intentions to travel to South Africa. It took 6 days to process our applications as everything had to go through Accra and had to be done perfectly. Even the smallest mistakes on the application form needed to be fixed with correction fluid and rewritten.
You get one form from the embassy and need to copy it three times. The four identically filled out forms together with another form provided by the embassy and 4 passport photos should do the trick.
We paid 100US$ (no notes smaller than 50US$ accepted) for a 1 month single entry visa with entry within 1 month.
The Liberia embassy (N8 28.280 W13 16.212) is situated close to the Ghana embassy and just opposite the British high commission. You supposedly need an invitation letter and reference but they did not care. We needed to fill out one form and bring one passport photo. The process usually takes 2 days but we said that we were in a hurry and could pick it up the next day. For 50US$ extra you can get an emergency visa the same day.
We paid 100US$ (Leone also accepted) for a 1 month single entry visa with 3 months time to enter the country. A 3 month multiple entry visa costs 150US$.
Recommended Campings (prices for 2 people and a 4×4):
St. Edward’s Pre-School Training Centre, Freetown – N08 29.347 W013 14.769
Close to city centre in relatively quiet location, safe parking, rooms including fan and bathroom
We camped 2 nights and were allowed to pay what we felt like, 60.000Le/night (10,26€) room
SamTom’s Place, Tokeh Beach – N08 18.272 W013 11.457
Small, rustic place made of bamboo with great staff, generator and delicious seafood
Tribe Wanted, John Obey Beach – N08 14.426 W013 09.769
Community run eco project where guests can get involved, friendly staff and good food
Bureh Beach Surf Club, Bureh Beach – N08 12.446 W013 09.350
Simple, relaxed place run by local surfers with cheap surfing lessons, board rental and good seafood
Giewubae Eco Campsite, near Tiwai Island – N07 33.499 W011 21.892
Brand new community run eco campsite founded by the charming village chief Hindua, good base for visits to Tiwai Island and lovely local food