View Full Version : Sierra Leone

10-17-2008, 07:17 PM
so at work I have the opportunity to travel to Sierra Leone for a few days in November.

The conference is at Bintumani Hotel, the country's largest with 150 rooms, suites and villas. Many of the reviews are bad though.

Anyway, at virtual travellor I saw this interesting piece:
Languages: English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), <span style="font-weight: bold">Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)</span>

I would like to visit Africa, but am nervous about Sierra Leone - has anyone been there?

10-18-2008, 03:36 PM
Looking forward to hearing about this. Only beleive about half of those reviews mangoskin. Did you check tripadvisor?

10-20-2008, 09:33 AM
I am a big world traveller, but to be honest, I would be nervous as well about this destination... would I avoid it if offered the opportunity?? Likely not. I wouldn't take my daughter as I usually do, but I would go. Just take a lot of precautions, listen to the local people about curfews and places not to go.
Also, I would adhere to your government's website for travel advisories (In Canada we have that anyway).
Also, Lonely Planet Thorntree forum might be a place where you could get soome solid information from some experienced travellers to the region.
If you do go - please show us and share with us what you can when you return - and most of all STAY SAFE!!

10-20-2008, 10:39 AM
i went in 83 before all the troubles. at the time it was a quiet rather bacwaterish place. met some krio (creole) folks who held themselves a little apart from the other africans. don't know if that's the case today. the krio sounded very much like patwa, except for some odd reason seemed to have more spanish words.

10-23-2008, 09:51 AM
Use to have a co-worker from there. I heard it's nice.
I would go if I were you.

01-08-2009, 02:01 PM
so Mangoskin..did you go?

01-10-2009, 03:49 PM
An if yuh nuh go post pikcha an trip report an you went still mi suggest yuh neva tell wi so.

01-22-2009, 05:22 PM
no I didnt get to go after all

I hope I get the chance to go somewhere in Africa in the near future though

01-22-2009, 07:13 PM
your pm box full up or i would have said happy new year http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/laugh.gif

02-03-2009, 05:23 AM
Oh, pity you didn't get to go......

I have heard Freetown is a great place, great beaches.....

Yea, dunno if it is still dangerous.

Have a friend from there, but he left before the war which probably saved his life (or limbs!).

I also worked for Medécins sans Frontiéres (Doctors without Borders) who were there during the war. They were forbidden entry through Freetown so they just went in through the northern border with Guinea (that's why they are &quot;without borders&quot;). They are also in Congo at the moment. Amazing organisation.

West Africa is an amazing place to go to. Have been in Senegal, Mali and Gambia, travelling 3 months. Ahum, met my (now ex) husband in Mali, which is where he comes from.

If you want to check out some amazing photos of Mali surf here:

also, check these sites:


02-03-2009, 05:52 AM
oh yea, and talking of guinea.....

friend of mine from there who came to visit me....


02-03-2009, 10:33 AM
Nice pictures of Mali Marielle!

It's on my to-do-list.

I've always wanted to answer the question &quot;where you going?&quot; with &quot;Timbuktu&quot; http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/704555_dwl.gif

02-06-2009, 06:45 AM
Yea, I would love to go there one day, wish they had passport control, so I could get a stamp http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/laugh.gif

The &quot;best&quot; time to go there is between November and January cos then you can go by (the Niger) riverboat, I think it takes about 5 days or so.
Even so, the river Niger now is something like 10 km/miles from Timbuctu itself (natural meandering over time/desertification), so well, not sure how you get there..
(4-wheel drive? camel? http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/70456-eyebrows.gif).....

Did meet a guy there who went in March, was a 10-day trip by 4-wheel drive through the desert http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif......not for the faint-hearted or those who can't do without their creature comforts like running water etc....)

Did you hear about the ancient texts &quot;re-discovered&quot; there, and now hastily being preserved for posterity?


&quot;The Timbuktu manuscripts are the principal written sources to West Africa's old history, and most have never been studied by modern scholars. They date back from the time when Timbuktu was one of the world's leading cultural and religious centres, hosting the ancient empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. The documents include the highest level of science from their era, demonstrating Timbuktu's importance as an intellectual centre.&quot;

Oh yea, heard about an american woman who married a tuareg from there and runs a hotel.
(Lonely planet forum is always a good source of info from and for travellers...).

02-06-2009, 09:15 AM
Sounds like an adventure. http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/70409-waytogo.gif

02-06-2009, 03:14 PM
adventure..?...... Yea...........,

ADVENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!! http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/grin.gif

02-07-2009, 09:01 PM
funny how this post has turned into a general west africa forum.... but that is how it is in west africa, travel in and out of different countries is easy, like europe, lots of countries close to each other, linked by train, bus, car etc.

not like caribbean!! not even a ferry boat to be had http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/cry.gif

anyway, had a link - previous post - about the festival in the desert.

so, for those of you planning your next holiday to another exotic location, and want to rough it a bit (not an american thing I know http://www.jamaicans.com/forums/images/smilies/704555_dwl.gif)

here's the gen:

<span style="font-weight: bold">Doing the Festival au Desert on your own</span>

It seems that many people have questions about getting to the Festival au Desert on your own, and what you can expect to be able to buy there so I've put together some notes from my own experience doing it by myself this year. Perhaps it will be helpful for people planning to go next year.

It is very possible to do the festival on your own and not book through a tour company.

You can fly to Timbuktu from Bamako (round-trip 250,000CFA in 2009) from any travel agent in Bamako, or through the contacts on the website (it is possible just to buy the ticket for the charter flights for the festival without booking a whole package). This year it was possible to just show up at the airport around the time of departure and buy a spot, but I'm not sure if that is always the case. Or you can take the bus to Mopti (about 9 hours, about 8,000CFA). From Mopti it is easy to find drivers going to Timbuktu, usually they will find a group of people to fill a 4x4 and you are off (about 13,000CFA per person, about 10 hours depending on the ferry). This even ends up usually cheaper than taking the public transport 4x4 which only leaves certain days and is more crowded.

Once in Timbuktu you can find again many drivers headed to Essakane for the Festival waiting at the airport or around Timbuktu. Going rate one way per person was 20,000CFA but you can always try to bargain it down. Make sure you check out the vehicle before agreeing to anything because your spot can range from a Toyota Land Cruiser down to being cramped into the back of an old pickup truck full of luggage and other people. After a 3 hour drive through the sand and sun you might not find that an enjoyable journey! You can arrange with your driver to take you back to Timbuktu (probably the best idea) but you can also wait until the last day and find some way back.

Once in Essakane there are people renting out tent space in traditional Tuareg tents, these were about 20,000CFA per night and can sleep at least 6-8 people. You can also bring your own tent and camp for free. There are some mattressess available but there wern't enough to go around. Having one might not be a bad idea because it was very cold at night and sleeping off the ground could make it a lot warmer. Most of the camping areas have a guard to watch your stuff while you are away. Make sure you find out for sure if the guard is being paid out of the amount you pay for your tent, or tip him a bit when you leave.

You can buy your ticket at the entrance to the Festival, or you can pick it up in Timbuktu on your way.

There are lots of little canteens selling street food (rice and sauce, coucous, fries, eggs, pasta...) for reasonable prices (about 500CFA) and there is even a little market where you can buy vegetables, bread (10CFA per piece of Tuareg bread), roasted sheep, and a few other basics if you want to make your own snacks. Water is available for about 1,000CFA a bottle, brining your own from Bamako (or Mopti) is a lot cheaper (350CFA per bottle). Soft drinks and beer are also available at the canteens, market and the few bars for about 750-1,000CFA per bottle. There is one 'nice' bar/ nightclub under a tent where you can buy meals for 4,000CFA for (generally) pretty basic pasta as well as beer, wine and alcohol of all sorts.

In order to keep costs down, I brought a box of water from Bamako as well as all my food. However, food at the festival was not that expensive, I was impressed to discover. You can find cans of tuna salad, humus, veggies in Bamako or Mopti/Sévaré that make easy but good sandwich filler.

If you want to travel around Mali it is very easy to do that on your own as well, before or after the festival. You can just show up in Mopti and arrange boat rides up to Timbuktu or guided trips to Dogon country for example. As well, you can easily get to most 'touristy' places such as Djenné, Ségou, Gao with regular public transportation



can't wait and can't wait to take my malian son with me.....(his family is waiting.....)

for fxconverter

02-15-2009, 11:35 AM
found this amazing link about a trip to Mali (hope he doesn't mind me posting).

Amazing photos!!!

oh, it's not working.....

just google &quot;bogolan&quot; and check the link &quot;The Dogon practice many arts, ...&quot;

02-17-2009, 07:42 AM
found a clip of Oumou Sangare at the Festival in the Desert