Sierra Leone FAQ

1. I heard there was a war there is it safe?

2. Is it safe to travel alone?

3. Is it safe for single females?

4. What about health requirements?

5. Do I need a visa?

6. How do I get from the airport to Freetown?

7. What about transport when I am there?

8. What about the weather?

9. How are the water and electricity supplies?

10. What’s the night life like in Freetown?

11. What shall I wear?

1. I heard there was a war there is it safe?

There was a terrible civil war that lasted for over ten years. It was largely orchestrated from Liberia in an effort to give Charles Taylor control over Sierra Leone’s diamonds. The international community helped bring that war to an end in 2001 and Charles Taylor is currently on trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Sierra Leone is now a very peaceful country trying to rebuild itself after the war.
It is holding its second free election on 11 August 2007.

back to top

2. Is it safe to travel alone?

Sierra Leone is a very safe place for people to travel around. Sierra Leonean people are mainly very friendly and helpful.
Even in Freetown, the capital city, it is safe for visitors but take all normal care of your belongings.

back to top

3. Is it safe for single females?

Yes. People, male and female will say “hello” to you and the children will wave to you. There is not a problem of being hassled as in some countries. Women are independent and free to walk alone in Sierra Leone.

back to top

4. What about health requirements?

Anti-malaria tablets are advisable, make sure you take one that is effective in Sierra Leone (not all anti-malarias are).

It is recommended that you sleep under a mosquito net. These are provided in our compound accommodation.

If you are arriving from or via a yellow fever infected area you will need a yellow fever certificate. Take professional health advice about other precautions you may require.
Long lasting UVA/UVB protection is advisable.

back to top

5. Do I need a visa?

Yes unless you have a passport from an ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) country.
You will need to obtain a visa from Sierra Leone’s high Commissions or Embassies abroad.
See link for full information from the UK High Commission.

If you have queries about visa applications from any other country please ask at info@jaysbar.net or use the contact form.

back to top

6. How do I get from the airport to Freetown?

Lungi International Airport lies across the mouth of a river from Freetown.
You can cross by ferry, hovercraft or helicopter. This is a new helicopter service.
The ferry terminal is approximately 20 minutes taxi or bus ride away.
The ferry takes approximately 45 minutes to cross and ends up at Kissy Ferry Terminal on the eastern side of the city.

There is a direct transfer service for both the helicopter and hovercraft departure terminals. They both go directly to Lumley on the western side of the city. The helicopter takes approximately 7 minutes, the hovercraft approximately 15 minutes to cross.
We can arrange to meet you at the airport or at the terminals. (see our accommodation section)

back to top

7. What about transport when I am there?

Poda Podas (minibuses and small buses) and shared taxis travel set sections and routes at fixed prices. This is currently 800 Leons per sector.
Taxis can also be chartered for a specific trip, by the hour or by the day. Prices are arranged by negotiation with the driver. A typical hourly rate would be in the region of 15,000 Leons.

Car and 4×4 hire can be arranged in country. You need a full international licence to drive in Sierra Leone.

back to top

8. What about the weather?

Sierra Leone has a tropical climate. It has two seasons, wet (May- October) and dry (November – April).
The day time temperature ranges from 28o Celsius in August to 33oCelcius in March and April.
There are serious amounts of rain from July to September.

back to top

9. How are the water and electricity supplies?

The water supply in the compound is good. It is advisable to drink bottled water which is readily available.

The compound has its own generators so there is a reliable source of electricity.
National Power Electricity comes on rather erratically every two to ten days for an unpredictable length of time in Majay Town. It is starting to be switched on more frequently in Freetown now.

back to top

10. What’s the night life like in Freetown?

Buzzing. There are nightclubs, casinos, beach bars and city bars with music and dancing. Freetown is a city that likes to party. It welcomes visitors joining in.

back to top

11. What shall I wear?

There are no cultural requirements or restrictions. For formal occasions Sierra Leoneans usually dress up in suits or traditional clothing.
Sierra Leone is hot and humid so be sensible about your choice of clothes.

A Men: Light, short sleeved shirts or open neck loose T-Shirts are the best option.

A Women: White and light colours are preferable. Sleeveless or short sleeved tops are good. Shorts, skirts, trousers or jeans are all fine.

You will never need a coat, jacket, jumper, pullover, cardigan or wooly hat!

In the rainy season it is still hot and humid Wellington boots and an umbrella are recommended.

back to top