Cheap Flights to Freetown
- Area : 357km² (138 sq mi)
- Area Codes : (+232) 22
- Currency : Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL)
- Population City : 1,050,301(2015)
- Official Language : English
- Time Zone : GMT/UTC+0
- Airport : Lungi International Airport (FNA)
Located in Lungi town, FNA is the only international airport out of Sierra Leone’s ten airports. The airport is separated from Freetown by the Sierra Leone River and travellers without pre-arranged transport can reach the city via sea coaches; private chartered speedboats; ferries; bus or a three to four hour drive by vehicle via Port Loko, more suitable for passengers heading up country and not to the city.
Sea coaches include the Sea Coach Express and Sea Bird Express, fairly pricey but the fastest means, a chartered speedboat crossing of 30 minutes is great if you don’t mind arriving fairly wet. Taking a ferry is not the quickest way (around an hour) but certainly the cheapest and most exciting with the majority of locals using this mode of transport to cross the river.
From Cape Town, South Africa travellers can fly to Freetown (FNA) with the following airlines:
- Air France
- British Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Qatar Airways
- South African Airways
Additional airlines flying to ‘FNA’ include:
- Air Canada
- Air Côte d’Ivoire
- Arik Air
- Brussels Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
- United Airlines
Reasons to Visit Freetown, Sierra Leone:
- Freetown is a major port city that’s capital to Sierra Leone, its largest city and home to one of the world’s biggest natural deep water harbours that plays a pivotal role in the economy of the city. The city founded in March 1792 by Lieutenant John Clarkson, black ex-slaves and ‘Nova Scotian Settlers’ was established for freed African American and West Indian slaves for resettling.
- Stay in the city, along the beach or on an island. Hotels and lodges are located along Tokeh and John Obey beaches while the 5-Star Radisson Blue Mammy Yoko is close to the very popular Lumley Beach. For cheaper accommodation rooms or apartments can be hired from ‘Airbnb’.
- The city has plenty to see and experience with vibrant market places, historical churches, Mosques, monuments, museums, festivals, marvellous beaches and islands, great restaurants, nightclubs and casinos.
When to Visit Freetown, Sierra Leone:
February, during summer from October to April, is one of the nicest times to travel with ocean temperatures at 27°C, highs of around 33°C and about 6mm of rain. January’s not bad with a dash more rain and a degree or two higher. Winter from May to September is wet. December’s great if you love the heat with lows of 28°C, highs of 35°C and around 33mm rain.
Places to Visit Freetown, Sierra Leone:
- The city’s impressive St George Cathedral took eleven years to build and was completed in 1828.
- St John’s Maroon Church was constructed by Jamaican Maroons in 1820 after deportation in 1796 when they surrendered during the second Maroon War. The church celebrated its 200th anniversary of the founding congregation years in 2007.
- The huge, old Cotton Tree is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a reminder of Freetown’s christening in March 1792, and close by, the Law Courts, damaged in the war but beautifully restored.
- King’s Yard Gate located in Wallace Johnson St is a stark reminder for present-day Krios on what their ancestors, as slaves, endured.
- Leading up from Government Wharf are the Old Wharf Steps, set in 1818, both settlers and rescued slaves climbed this stairway to the start of a new life.
- Not to be missed is seeing the grand Freetown Central Mosque, one of the two biggest mosques in the country.
- The State House comprising old Krio architectural styles overlooks downtown from Tower Hill.
- Destroyed by fire in 1999 was the oldest university in West Africa, Fourah Bay College. All that remains of this 1848 institution today is its stone shell. The building is listed by the World Monuments Fund as one of the world’s 100 most-endangered historic sites.
- Enjoyment for the whole family is visiting the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum housed in the old railway workshops, it affords a wonderful collection of historical relics including a coach constructed for Queen Elizabeth II’s visit in 1961.
- Located in Siaka Stevens St is the Sierra Leone National Museum that shows off interesting cultural and historical artefacts and hosts temporary exhibitions.
- For souvenirs, gifts or just meandering, the Big/Basket Market close to Government Wharf affords a variety of arts and crafts, carved wooden statues, gorgeous hand-made jewellery and more. King Jimmy Market, one of the country’s oldest markets still trades in the same place as it did when slave ships docked in the harbour close by. It bustles with traders on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays that come from Kaffu Bullom with fresh fruit, fish and fufu. Victoria Park Market provides perfectly fitted tailored suits in wonderful bright colours with shoes, hats and accessories to go along. While enjoying Lumely Beach visit the Lumely Arts and Craft Market. One of the busiest street markets is on Kissy Street that’s lined with multi-coloured umbrellas covering the stalls that sell everything from fresh fruit to textiles and delicious snacks. Haggling is expected at all markets.
- Established around 1670, the 600m Bunce Island was the biggest British slave castle on West Africa’s Rice Coast, exporting tens of thousands of slaves.
- Banana Islands just 40km from Freetown are great for a day or longer with idyllic beaches, splendid birding, fishing, diving and snorkelling opportunities, pleasing flora, restaurants, bars, guest houses and resorts.
- After shopping at Tee’s Shopping Centre in Wilkinson Road stop in for a drink at the bar above it or make your way to Crown Bakery on Wilberforce Street for lunch or a loaf of delicious fresh bread.
- Lagoonda Casino on Lumley Beach has the latest in gaming technology and its restaurant with stunning vistas of the sea serves up Lebanese, Sierra Leonean and European dishes. For pleasurable respite from the city, a delicious smoothie and excellent food pop into Oasis, a small café in a garden setting at 33 Murry Town Rd. Sit inside or out on the porch with wonderful sea views.
- For a great night out Quincy’s Bar & Nightclub that only closes when the last customer leaves is open from 2pm until 9am and located in Sir Samuel Lewis Rd. To dance until dawn, O Bar and Warehouse located along Lumley Beach Road are open from 22h00 to 05h00. For a more laid back evening, relax and listen to live music at the Country Lodge in Hill Station.
Getting Around Freetown:
Chartered or shared minibuses (poda-podas) can be waved down on the street and operate along fixed routes. Usually packed and uncomfortable they’re not the safest means but are the cheapest. The starting points and destinations are displayed on the front windscreen.
Private taxis can also be chartered and are more comfortable than minibuses but more expensive.
Motorcycle Taxis and Keke na peps:
Fast and cheap, these taxis are not permitted to drive in the city’s main areas.
Vehicles can be rented from Europcar, Sierra Leone Car Hire, Flash Vehicles and others but also from individuals, with or without a driver. A driver is a good idea unless you’re used to navigating through chaotic traffic. If plans include travelling out of Freetown, a 4×4 is recommended for handling rural roads.