Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Top 11 Places To Visit in Sierra Leone


These are the best historic, cultural and ecotourism sites in Sierra Leone

Whether you’re visiting Sierra Leone for the first time or you live there, you can’t say that you’ve experienced Sierra Leone if you haven’t been to eight out of these 11 destinations in Sierra Leone. 

As one of the countries in the world filled with fascinating history, Sierra Leone offers a never-ending array of fascinating places filled with culture, amazing sights, and deep history. 

How did the country get its name? Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra is credited with naming the area. He called it ‘Serra Lyoa’ which translates to ‘Lion Mountains,’ some say the name was inspired by the range of hills that surround the harbour of Romarong, which is now Freetown, the capital city.

With so much to see and feel, it can be difficult to know where to visit when planning a trip to Sierra Leone as it offers endless options for memorable experiences. Whether it’s visiting a World heritage site on an island, a hike through the rainforest, castle, or a one of a kind award-winning animal sanctuary, there are many fascinating attractions in Sierra Leone. Here is a list of our top 11 places to visit in Sierra Leone. 


  1. Bunce Island



You cannot visit Sierra Leone without stepping foot on Bunce Island. The deep, emotional tales of the place will have you introduced to dark times of slavery in Africa. The inhabited Island lies approximately 20 miles up the Sierra Leone River from Freetown and is 1600 feet above the water level. It is noted for holding a castle built by the Royal African Company in 1670 which facilitated the shipping of thousands of slaves from Sierra Leone to South Carolina and Georgia in America specifically for their rice farming skills. This is just one out of 40 castle that were built along the shoreline of Sierra Leone during the days of slave trade. Today, remnants of the Castle are preserved for visitors to learn about this sobering’ past of Sierra Leone.

  1.  St. George’s Cathedral


Situated in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Freetown is the ever glorious St. George’s Cathedral. Noted for its beautiful stained glass windows, it was built in 1817 and is one of the oldest Anglican Cathedrals in West Africa. It was funded by the British government and built under Governor Maxwell who felt that Freetown needed a church in its centre.

The Church, which was frequented by free black slaves and Nova Scotians from America, is strongly associated with the Krio people of Sierra Leone and was described as the ‘bastion of Creoledom.’ It is now known as the Anglican Diocese of Freetwon and is one of the highest attended churches in Freetown.

  1. The King’s Gate and The Cotton Tree, Freetown, Central Business District


The King’s Gate is the strongest surviving monument of the King’s Yard, a facility which was developed to receive liberated slaves that were dropped off in Sierra Leone. After the British Empire outlawed slave trade, the Royal Navy West Africa Squadron stopped slave ships on route to the Americas and liberated 150,000 slaves. The King’s yard received these liberated individuals and offered them support and medical treatment.

In the 1880s, it was converted to a hospital and however the yard has lost some of its pieces and today, the remaining structure of the yard is its gate. The site is necessary in the Krio story as it gives insight to how the beautiful Krio culture was introduced to Sierra Leone.

Not too far from King’s Gate and living monument of Freetown is the Cotton Tree. No one knows for sure how long the tree has been there but legend has it that when the librated Nova Scotians, African Americans, and Maroons landed here, they planted gathered around this tree and said a prayer. For over 400 hundred years the tree stood in Freetown as a symbol of Freedom. On May 25, 2023 a heavy storm felled the cotton tree but the root and some branches still stand.

  1. Freetown Central Mosque



Now if this does not give you an idea of how religiously diverse Freetown is, then we don’t know what to tell you. Aside from having a historical Anglican church in the centre of Freetown, there also exists the Freetown central mosque.

This mosque is one of the two largest mosques in Sierra Leone. It serves as a  hub for the muslim community in the region and remains a fervent cornerstone in Freetown’s identity.

  1. Old Fourah Bay College

Freetown holds a lot of history and an important part of that is the Old Fourah Bay College. The first university influenced by western culture in the Sub-Saharan region stands as a reminder that despite how gloomy the past is, one can rise up and make the future brighter.

Established in 1827, it was the first university of western education in the sub-saharan region. It aimed training individuals using western ideas, religion, and politics but during the civil war from 1991 to 2002, displaced people used the college for shelter and safety but after a severe fire in 1999, only the main masonry remains standing today.

The history of this building is rich and you can only know about it when you visit.