Sierra Leone is one of West Africa’s hidden gems as it's virtually undiscovered and unexplored by tourists. It boasts lush rainforests, pristine beaches, amazing wildlife, fascinating history, and a truly vibrant West African culture. In a country that was plagued by civil war and health issues in the past, the people of Sierra Leone are some of the most warm and welcoming people you’ll ever meet.
Whilst religious beliefs and practices are very present in every day life, there is no prejudice between the different groups. Uniquely you see a cross over of religion and shared practices, creating a pot pourri of Islam, Christianity and traditional tribal religions. Different groups, including ‘secret societies’ (nowhere near as scary as it sounds!), perform their own religious rituals and ceremonies throughout the year.
Sierra Leoneans have a unique blend of cultural traditions. They are vibrant, exuberant and expressive people and their cultural values, traditions and belief systems are widely practised and respected. A variety of food, flamboyant clothing, jewellery, hand-made crafts, lively festivals and the performing arts are expressions of this colourful society.
Keep your eyes open and you never know what you might come across! Around the next corner, there could be a national cultural show where traditional dancers twirl and revel to the drums and music.
Sierra Leoneans are well known for their love of food and music and these elements are ever-present in the country’s capital, Freetown. Be it pop music blaring out of a bar, pounding reggae blasting from a poda poda (taxi), or local hip hop booming from street stalls and markets... you’ll hear music wherever you go in this most vibrant of capital cities.
The restaurant scene in Freetown offers a wide variety of international cuisine, but local is the way to go. Rice is the local staple accompanied by plassas (sauce) such as cassava leaf, groundnut soup, binch or stew with chicken, beef or fish and served in generous portions.