Passports, Visas and Other Documents Required
All visitors to Sierra Leone are required to carry a valid passport. Visitors must also have a valid visa for entry, with the exception of citizens from ECOWAS states. Visas can be secured at Sierra Leone overseas missions. The National Tourist Board and handling agents such as VSL Travel, KTI Travel and Tours, IPC Travel and Tours and others also assist in facilitating this process.
A river separates Freetown city from Lungi International Airport. A ride on the ferry, which takes approximately 45 minutes, is an experience in itself and transports passengers to Kissy and Government Wharf in the Eastern/central parts of the city. Hovercraft and water taxi services are available and guarantee a faster transfer to and from the airport to Aberdeen. Helicopter shuttles will soon start operations from the Lungi International Airport to Aberdeen. Water taxi terminals are less than five minutes ride to most of the Hotels in the Lumley Beach are only two minutes ride to most hotels in the Lumley Beach/Aberdeen area.
Vehicle Hire and getting around
Vehicles may be hired through local companies, hotels and private individuals with or without a driver. Hotel taxis are available at all major hotels and guest houses, the airport, water taxi terminals and the helipad at fixed rates. Private taxis are negotiable on a trip, hourly or daily rate. For your safety and comfort only use National Tourist Board approved Taxi and look out for their stickers and identification. Government and private coach services operate to and from major towns and cities. Local taxis and mini buses (Poda-poda) are available throughout the country. They are the cheapest means of travelling and often over crowded but a great way to absorb the local flavour.
A vaccination certificate for yellow fever is required. It is advisable to take anti-malaria tablets and consult your doctor or travel agent on what other precautions may be required. Bring plenty of mosquito repellant.
There are several Government operated hospitals and clinics, along with private health clinics including Connaught Hospital, The Choithram Foundation Hospital, Blue Shield, Davidson Nicol Hospital, Brookfield Community, Curney Barnes etc. Please contact your hotel for the nearest hospital/clinic.
Sierra Leone Telecommunications (Sierratel) is the main telecommunication provider for both national and international services in Sierra Leone. Orange, and Africell are also leading providers of GSM and 3G services. There are several private companies providing internet services. GSM Sim packs and recharge cards are available at authorized dealer shops all over the country.
Appointments must be made in advance. It is customary to shake hands on meeting and when taking leave. Business cards are exchanged after introduction. Visitors should be perceptive to local conventions and care should be taken to respect local, religious customs and practices. When a service charge is included, gratuities are optional. Service charge in restaurants is 15%. English is the official language.
It is advisable for visitors to take a comprehensive travel insurance covering injury, illness, death, and delayed/lost/damaged baggage and personal belongings.
Traffic drives on the right. An International driving licence is required to drive in Sierra Leone the country.
The official currency of Sierra Leone is the Leone (LE or SLL). Leones are available in coins of 100 and 500, and bills of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000. Foreign currency can be exchanged at commercial banks, Foreign Exchange Bureaus, hotels and supermarkets. It is illegal to exchange money in the street with unlicensed money dealers. Credit cards (American Express, Master Card and Visa) can be used to settle bills in some hotels and restaurants. Please confirm with management prior to any transaction. Some commercial banks operate international ATMs for Leone cash withdrawals. Traveller’s cheques can be used at major hotels or cashed at banks and some shops.
Sierra Leoneans like to dress well especially for official occasions. For Business meetings the dress code mostly includes dark trousers, white shirt and tie for men and women dark trousers or skirt with matching shirt or African attire. Otherwise casual, lightweight and informal clothing is appropriate during the day and evening time and cotton is recommended. Bring rain gear for the rainy season and a light sweater or jacket during the harmattan period from November to
February. Don’t forget beachwear, comfortable walking shoes and sports equipment.