Trip reference number: ITN-SLE002
Trip Operator: Rainbow Tours
This tailor made sample itinerary showcases a lovely spectrum of Sierra Leone's highlights and has something special for most visitors: start with exploration of bustling Freetown and an excursion to Bunce Island, during which you can gain a poignant insight into the county's history.
Be inspired by the ongoing work at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, set up by Bala Amarasekaran and his wife Sharmila, and very highly praised by Dr Jane Goodall during her February 2019 visit there.
Continue to Tiwai Island, where visitors come to seek some of the resident Upper Guinea forest inhabitants such as Western red and King colobus, Diana monkeys and Sooty mangabeys, along with West African rainforest birds including Emerald starling and Johanna's sunbird. Night walks may reveal interesting species such as the bizarre Hammerhead bats and in the trees, Demidoff'sgalago and even a West African potto.
After your time in the rainforests, return to Freetown and head out to the Banana Islands for a night of glamping at Bafa Resort. Enjoy the relaxed island vibe here. (You can also indulge in some snorkelling, swimming and a boat trip around one of the islands).
End the trip at the sweeping, white sand beach of Tokeh, among the best of Sierra Leone's beautiful beaches.
During the holiday you will be looked after by one of our excellent and experienced driver-guides and transportation is in the form of a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Accommodation varies from very basic (Tiwai Island) to smart and modern (The Home Suites).
Day 1 Depart from London on the daytime Brussels Airlines flight (06h50) via Brussels to Freetown. On arrival into Lungi Airport late this afternoon (16h50), you will be welcomed by our local representatives and transferred on the Sea Coach Express boat across the mouth of the Sierra Leone River to Aberdeen. Transfer to comfortable Country Lodge set on Hill Station with sweeping views over the city with breakfast included
Day 2 After breakfast, you will be taken on an excursion to Bunce Island with a private speedboat. Bunce Island was the largest British slave castle on the Rice Coast of West Africa. Founded around 1670, this is from where tens of thousands of African captives were transported to North America and the West Indies, until British Parliament finally closed it down in 1808. While Bunce Island is left to decay, bringing about questions concerning its preservation, its appearance does add to its charm. It is authentic and as our Sierra Leonean colleagues express it, 'raw - a painful history that is burying itself under layers of greenery'. After Bunce island, you will be taken to see the highlights of Freetown including the Railway Museum, St George's Cathedral, National Museum, the ancient cotton tree and Fort Thornton. Transfer after lunch (cost of meal for own account) for a 2-night stay in one of the eco-chalets at Augusta Lodge, Tacugama, an inspirational Chimpanzee sanctuary, just outside Freetown with breakfast included.
Day 3 .Depart to Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary where you will spend the night.Learn about the inspirational work being conducted by Bala and his team. Chimpanzees are oftentimes cruelly or ignorantly kept as pets, or sometimes hunted. More than 100 find a safe home at Tacugama, where you can watch them swinging from branches, grooming each-other and afterwards, you can enjoy a forest walk to seek some of the 100-odd bird species that have been identified in Tacugama Forest Reserve. Accomodation is in one of the elegant thatched huts of Augusta Lodge.
Day 4 A visit to the tropical rainforest at Tiwai Island is one of Sierra Leone’s natural history highlights. Surrounded by the wide Moa River, you'll find yourself immersed in the Upper Guinea forest ecosystem. Most visitors manage to see some of the species of forest-dependent Monkey for which the area is best known, along with many rainforest birds and amphibians. Night walks can deliver some interesting and rare species too. (Take a strong torch with spare batteries). After a lunch stop at Bo, you'll arrive in Tiwai mid to late afternoon. During an afternoon / early evening boat trip up the Mao River you can enjoy spectacular views of Tiwai Island and the neighbouring mainland. Keep an eye open for monkeys and some of the 135 species of birds, as well as the occasional crocodile (Three species occur in Sierra Leone). In the evening, the camp staff will cook dinner for you.
Day 5 After breakfast, enjoy a guided walk the forest of Tiwai Island. With luck you will see a variety of forest-dwelling monkeys, birds, reptiles, frogs and wonderful butterflies. Departing after an early lunch, take a boat transfer back to the mainland and explore the culture in the rural villages of Kambama and nearby Nianiahun (20 min drive). You'll be shown sites of traditional sacrifice, meeting points for the ceremonies held by village elders; birth ceremonial sites and the ‘blood stream’ hiding place for knives and weapons of ancient warriors. In the late afternoon, take a stroll into the forest to seek more wildlife. We recommend a second night walk after dark to try to see some more of the rare nocturnal species which inhabit this area.
Day 6 After breakfast (you can do an early morning walk if you like), depart Tiwai Island and head to Freetown via Bo. If you wish, you can have lunch in Bo, before continuing on to Freetown. You are then taken to Kent Village on the peninsula, to catch a motorised boat to Banana Island, for an overnight stay in Bafa Resort. (Glamping). Enjoy the relaxed ambience in this corner of the country. Optional activities include hiking, snorkelling and a scenic boat trip around the island.
Day 7 After breakfast, depart Banana Island for Tokeh with a stop at Bureh Beach to meet the residents at Beach surf club and have a seafood lunch. Then depart for Tokeh, a mall coastal village on the Western Area Peninsula, where you'll find one of Sierra Leone's loveliest beaches. Backed by lush, forested mountains, the beach makes for a wonderful place at which to relax. Alternatively you can chill out by the pool. Overnight at The Place Resort with breakfast.
Day 8 Enjoy the morning relaxing at the beach. This afternoon you will be taken back to Freetown, to stay overnight in the Home Suites Boutique Hotel with breakfast included.
Day 9 After a sightseeing trip which can include some shopping today, you will be transferred back to the airport in time to check in 3 hours prior to the departure of your overnight Brussels Airlines flight departing around 6pm back to Brussels.
Day 10 On arrival in Brussels Airport, remain air side and connect with the Brussels Airlines flight back to London Heathrow.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown
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