What comes to mind when you hear Sierra Leone? A lot of questions. A quick peek at the map will remind you, that yes, it sits on the West coast of Africa and it is the Atlantic Ocean that meets the shores. It is the coastal mountain range that inspired the glorious name of the country, meaning Lion Mountain, as it looks like a resting lion. That’s the geography lesson but the truth of this land is one of wonder and variety that needs to be experienced.
Freedom in Adventure
Sierra Leone - Freedom in Adventure
Sierra Leone - Adventure Highlights
- Climb Mount Bintumani, one of the highest mountains in West Africa and admire the distinct stunning views from the summit over Sierra Leone’s incredible landscape
- Trek through small villages, dense jungle, rivers and open plains
- Visit Masanga Hospital, a rural clinic supported by the Adventure Boutique Foundation and witness the day-to-day life and challenges of the hospital’s staff and patients
- Experience some of the most breathtaking star-filled skies in the world
- Explore the tropical paradise along Sierra Leone’s Coast, wide sand beaches and turquoise water
- Visit a chimpanzee sanctuary and learn about the non-profit’s amazing work
1,945m/ 6,381ft elevation
TECHNICAL AND FITNESS LEVEL
No special technical skills are needed. You will be in the hands of some of the finest Expedition Leaders who will make the trip as comfortable for you as possible. We’ll be doing a lot of walking, the majority of it uphill. With greater fitness comes greater enjoyment of the trek, so it is worth spending some time working on your fitness before you leave, but you don’t need to be an athlete to go on the expedition. The key to your fitness should be endurance. We are here to support you every step of the way. Even before you go we’ll be on-hand to give you expert advice and can provide a comprehensive personalised training plan should you desire.
RECOMMENDED GROUP SIZE
A range of accommodation from hotels to tents
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Sierra Leone is winter, in December and January in inland areas and from December to March along the coast, where the temperature is more stable. The worst months are those of summer, from July to September, when the rains, often torrential, create extensive flooding.
Your itinerary at a glance
|1||Arrive in Sierra Leone||Hotel close to Lungi Airport (D)|
|2||Masanga Hospital||Simple accommodation in nearby village (B/L/D)||Learn about this unique medical project, staff and patients|
|3||Masanga Hospital||Simple accommodation in nearby village (B/L/D)||Experience the day-to-day work of a rural clinic and healthcare education institute|
|4||Loma Mountain Range||Camping close to local village (B/L/D)||Scenic drive into Lomo Mountains through coffee, rice and cocoa plantations|
|5||Loma Mountain Range||Camping close to local village (B/L/D)||Visiting traditional villages along the trek|
|6||Loma Mountain Range||Camping close to local village (B/L/D)||Changing landscapes – trekking along rice fields, open plains, rivers and rain forests|
|7||Loma Mountain Range||Camping next to river (B/L/D)||Dining traditional Sierra Leonean food cooked over the open fire and eaten under the stars|
|8||Mount Bintumani||Camping in the jungle (B/L/D)||Summit Day (1,945m)|
|9||Loma Mountain Range||Camping close to local vilage (B/L/D)||Celebrating the achievement with the village community|
|10||Coastal area around Freetown||Simple accommodation close to ocean (B/L/D)||Sierra Leone’s beautiful coast and beaches|
|11||Coastal area around Freetown||Simple accommodation close to ocean (B/L/D)||Sierra Leone’s beautiful coast and beaches|
|12||Coastal area around Freetown||Simple accommodation within grounds of sanctuary (B/L/D)||Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary|
|13||Return home||(B)||Flight home or onward journey|
*B= Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Sierra Leone - Your Itinerary in Detail
Arrive in Sierra Leone, Africa
We land at Lungi Airport and upon leaving the plane a welcoming wall of tropical heat clearly signals we’ve arrived. We are transferred to a hotel that is near the airport. Even on this short drive it is very clear this is a country rich in colour and character. Our accommodation tonight is a welcome place to lay our heads before commencing our real travel. We will meet together with our Expedition Leader from The Adventure Boutique where we are provided with a briefing about the exciting journey ahead. It may be likely we’ll indulge in a beverage and bite to eat before heading to our respective rooms to rest.
We depart the hotel and head to Masanga Hospital. We will spend two days here. We are soon to realise this is not just any hospital and discover there is a clear reason it is uniquely included in our travel itinerary. The two days we spend here will give us time to adjust to the surroundings but it is part of the journey where we will see the future of Sierra Leone evolving. This kind of trip is about our own experience and also about respecting, learning and giving back to the place you are visiting. The accommodation may be simple but the highest rating of stars cannot match the extraordinary experience of being welcomed by this place. We have the opportunity to stay onsite and witness day-to-day life of the Sierra Leone staff and those who have come from around the world to work at the hospital. A canopy of trees envelope the enclave of buildings. We overlook a swiftly moving river that mirrors all the activity around us and from our shore we can see the lush jungle stretching far in the distance and the sky providing light at day, and hopefully a sunset when night falls. A short walk from our special accommodation is a small village enclave where we can wander; feeling welcome and sharing chats and laughs with the local people, young and old.
It is the second day at Masanga Hospital. Today we will have a full tour of the hospital, it’s facilities and staff. There is much to see and take in. The enthusiasm for development in all areas is palpable. The staff openly tell us what their current projects are, what they aspire to in the future, as well as a few projects they had the courage to try but proved to not be as viable as expected. We may see the school where nurses are being taught or shown resourceful developments that help the hospital function, such as solar panels or recycling equipment. We could call by the tailor shop where creations are sewn up on vintage machines for local use or even for other parts of the world. There are potential offsite projects that vary as they are also in a constant state of development or testing for success. Whether it be a farm raising pigs or a local gold mining operation, whichever are currently active, they are all examples of local industry, human will and resourcefulness. It is truly a work in progress and an inspiration to hear the history and see the present and future aspirations.
We leave the hospital this morning in our 4×4’s and head ever closer towards the Loma Mountains, admiring the picturesque scenery en route. This includes the lush greenery and rushing rivers where people are doing laundry, and agricultural plantations in the wide territories. The plantations may cultivate coffee, rice, cocoa, coconut palms, cassava or citrus fruits. While passing through unspoilt local villages we gain an insight into the way of life of these unique people. Our final destination is a village at the edge of the Loma mountain range where we set up camp.
Start of Trek
We wake up knowing there is another interesting day ahead. This is the day we start our trekking. Each village we pass through will have a story. Perhaps we will stop for a rest as our Expedition Leader sorts out porters or charts our intended path with a local chief. The children often run alongside and we will see and greet villagers engaged in their daily tasks of laundry, farming and marvel how the women in particular can carry so much on their heads, perfectly balanced. It’s not simply the variety but the impressive volume of colourful plastic bowls, clay pots or bundles of firewood that they balance improbably while making their way gracefully and effortlessly.
As we continue our journey into the jungle there is much to see and the terrain is vibrant and varied. It will include rice fields and groundnut (peanut) crops, verdant jungles where we look up and see even more green and maybe some fruit high above. We may look down and note the peelings of that same fruit on the ground that a greedy monkey has left behind. As we walk together there is the chance to look about at all that is around us, while also allowing moments to let our mind wander and clear itself of any chaos but instead allow it to take a more mindful approach. We should reach camp by afternoon and have some personal time to absorb the wonderful surroundings and experiences.
Today we will visit small villages, dense jungle, rivers and open plains, making our way a bit further in the direction of the mountain peak. That is the direction where our steps are being guided but even more we are encouraged to absorb the journey, taking in what appears each moment. We will finish this day by setting up at a camp beside another stream. While we set up our tents, another dinner is cooked. Sierra Leonean cooks are passionate about their traditional dishes and enjoy presenting them to visitors who have never tasted them before. Many of the dishes are from recipes that are centuries old. Simple and yet flavourful and made over an open fire.
Summit Day (1,945m)
This is a momentous day. Today, the goal is to summit Mount Bintumani. At 1,945m it is the highest mountain in Sierra Leone and one that is rarely climbed. Sometimes it is concealed among the mists, or reveals a subtle hint at its impressive existence. On this trek we will experience the most varied terrain of our trip yet. The open spaces will let the sun heat us quickly and remind us why we were advised to bring a hat. The grasses we walk through will be tall, with feathery golden tips brushing against us. When we enter the jungle there is a different kind of heat and we will walk through or over streams and bound grass bridges. A highlight is the intricate spider or hammock bridge. Every year it is remade, plaited together with leaves and roots. It is an example of local ingenuity at its most impressive. The jungle will give way to open spaces dotted with huge rocks that appear to have been splashed with white and ginger paint. These are what we will follow, and in the distance see the mountain. It is impressive. Dark craggy rock is prominent and acts as a beacon to guide us to the top. We will climb to the summit and indulge in the stunning views that await. As we complete the day with the descent we can contemplate all that we saw and experienced in this day. It’s been a full day and we will listen to the jungle come alive as we drift to sleep.
Return to the Village
After waking up in camp and having breakfast we will start our day trekking in the open rolling plains and then nature will kindly put forward the dense vegetation of the forest for variety. Experiencing these contrasts makes the days’ walk interesting and refreshing. As we get back to the village bordering the jungle, we will remember the hamlet of mud-brick homes with thatched roofs, bleating goats, women in traditional head-scarves crushing chillies for the evening meal and feel a genuine welcoming. Tonight we will camp in the village.
Arrive at the Coast and Beaches
We head to completely different terrain, the coast of Sierra Leone and beaches. First a trek through the villages to our vehicles then a drive. This gives us an opportunity to watch the countryside slide past as we think about the diversity and grandeur we have seen, what we have achieved, and anticipate what is to come. It won’t be long until we are each doing what comes naturally in a tropical paradise setting with glorious sand and an unfettered view of turquoise water. It could be wading, jumping or splashing in the soothingly warm sea water, strolling along the beach enjoying the sand, pale and soft under our feet, or taking a snooze under a palm tree or simply staring out to the ocean wiggling feet in the sand.
Rest and Relaxation
Today will be waking to the sound of the water against the shore knowing the day ahead is a beach one. If we’ve forgotten where we were overnight, then the first steps outside confirm it’s all still there. Dazzlingly white sand fringed by palm trees and a dramatic mountain backdrop. It’s wild, spacious and feels a world away from most beaches. These look like they go on forever as they curve around the edges of the coast in either direction we look. Fishing is very much a way of life here and we can watch as the nets cast in the morning are pulled in by hand in the evening’s calm tide. Today is a day to relax and unwind in white sand and tropical waters.
Today we spend time at a chimpanzee sanctuary and see the amazing work the staff do in providing a haven for rescued chimps with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. In the hills above Freetown is chimpanzee sanctuary. We will actually be staying on the grounds of the sanctuary in a beautiful and natural environment, where we dine hearing our merge with the sounds of nature and our primate neighbours.
Today we will be leaving Sierra Leone. It was aptly named after the first viewing from sea, the mountains appeared as though a lion. Beaches with sand coloured like its golden coat and tall grasses shifting in the breeze as the mane of the great animal. Its vivacious sparkling energy radiating from the people, culture and landscapes. People, whether in a small village or a city are eager to live each day to the fullest and propel forward into an exciting future. When there we forget about time, so rich are the experiences and views that we are fully immersed in the journey. It becomes our home for these wonderful days and will have a place in our hearts forever.
This trek will depart with a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 12*.
From £6,450.00 per person based on two people sharing, this includes international flights with KLM/Air France from London (flights from alternative airports worldwide possible), an Expedition Leader from ‘The Adventure Boutique’, local guides, porters, accommodation, scheduled meals, park fees, tips for the local staff and porters, local chefs and local transportation.
A non-refundable deposit of £1,995.00pp will be required.
*We can accommodate private groups less than 4 or more than 12 people. Please ring for further information.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are we catered for?
A quality local chef and kitchen team will accompany the group when camping throughout the trip; you will not fail to be anything but amazed by their creativity on the mountain. You will be provided with proper balanced meals to enjoy, that will be nutritious yet tasty. These meals will be tailored to your dietary needs.
What are the toilet facilities on the mountain?
We will be specially bringing ‘Portaloos’ for you all the way up the mountain to each of our campsites. This is to offer you the comforts that are missed by others on mountain treks ensuring you are made to feel as happy as possible.
Do you provide expert training advice in advance of the trip?
Yes. Even before you go we’ll be on-hand to give you expert advice and can provide you with a comprehensive personalised training plan should you desire. Our Expedition Leaders have a high level of experience and can give you sound advice based on their numerous past experiences.
What is the weather going to be like?
It depends a little on the time of year you go. But generally, temperatures are high and the climate is tropical year around. At night, however, they can drop below 20°C, especially around the Loma Mountains. Due to heavy rains over the summer months this trip can only run between November and April.
What clothing/equipment do I need?
The Adventure Boutique team will give you a full comprehensive kit list when you sign up and be on-hand if you have any questions before the trek.
I see we have porters, do they really carry everything for me?
Yes, the porters are there to make life as easy as possible for you without detracting from the challenge of trekking through the Loma Mountain Range. Every ounce of weight becomes magnified at altitude, so we want you to save as much energy as possible during the climb to ensure you have plenty in reserve for summit day. All you need to carry is a light daypack, containing essentials described in the daypack kit list that will be provided. Even if you don’t want to carry this, we can organise a local guide to personally carry it for you.
Do I need to tip our local staff?
You do not need to tip the local staff. Unlike other companies, we have included the tipping into the price so there are no hidden surprises when you arrive in the country. Tipping the Expedition Leader is at your discretion but will be much appreciated, especially after you witness their dedication and professionalism in looking after you and helping you to the summit.
Will I require any spending money?
Throughout the experience, you won’t need much spending money as the trip is comprehensively covered in the initial cost. You may require money for the very occasional meal not shown on the schedule and any alcoholic drinks. You may also wish to buy some souvenirs or make a satellite phone call home or for work purposes. It will be best to bring your usual currency and this can be changed into local currency soon after arrival.
Do I need special insurance?
You should not need specialist-climbing insurance, but check with your insurer that you are covered trekking to the altitude you will be reaching (2,000m). If you do not have adequate insurance cover, The Adventure Boutique team can refer you to appropriate insurers.
Do I need a visa?
This is dependent on your nationality, however all British citizens need to obtain a visa in advance, from the Sierra Leonean High Commission.
Do I need any vaccinations?
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide. You should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. Sources of information include: www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialist travel clinic. Clients travelling to worldwide destinations are recommended to seek advice from the sources mentioned above and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example, Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. Please note that all passengers are required to carry a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate with them. The vaccination needs to have been given no less than ten days prior to travelling.
How large are the groups?
The group size should be a maximum of twelve people. The number of participants is kept to a level where quality can be maintained. We at The Adventure Boutique do not want you to become a number on the mountain or a blur after the trek has finished. We normally have a maximum number so as not to allow the groups to become too large. We believe that by doing this, the Expedition Leaders will be able to look after you more carefully, in turn you will find the group dynamics work better and your success rate and enjoyment level increases immeasurably. If you are a group of friends of more than twelve, then obviously we will work together to accommodate you. If you would like to have a more personalised trip below the recommended group size, we would happy be to facilitate this for you too.
What is the minimum age a person has to be to go on this adventure?
Normally the minimum age is 16 years old accompanied by a legal guardian or 18 years old otherwise. If you do have children and want to bring them, the minimum age is 10 years. We have the expertise and would be happy to make necessary arrangements to accommodate a young person into a private group.
Is there a maximum age?
There is no maximum age limit, providing you are fit and in good health.
Will my mobile work? Can I stay in touch with the office or my family?
You will find very little mobile phone reception on the mountain so don’t be surprised if your phone does not work. We specially carry a satellite phone in case of emergencies, but we also realise people may need to keep in touch with their loved ones or have some work commitments to deal with. The satellite phone can be used for a charge.
Can I organise this adventure exclusively for myself, my friends and family?
If you have a group of friends or family who want to travel together, a bespoke date can certainly be arranged to suit your party. If you do have your own group and want to discuss any variations in the schedule or particular objectives, feel free to discuss this with The Adventure Boutique team.