How Safe Is Sierra Leone for Travel?

Sierra Leone
Safety Index:
50

Sierra Leone is located on the West Coast of Africa, sharing its borders with the Republic of Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the east and southeast, while the Atlantic Ocean is to the west and south.

The country boasts 402km of coastline, and the Freetown peninsula, the star attraction of this country’s industry is 40km long and 17km wide with a mountainous belt.

If you’re longing for nature, look no further than the Banana Island, offering natural beauty unlike anywhere in the world and a bunch of underwater and water activities.

Sierra Leone is naturally both rich and diverse.

Visit some of its gorgeous beaches that boast a rare colonial heritage and offer a fantastic scenery, climb its mountainous region, or walk along the Freetown peninsula’s deserted and splendid coastline, with beaches so perfect they could be described as world-class – but you will probably be most enchanted by this country’s warm and welcoming people that are known for doing the impossible just to make tourists feel comfortable.

Warnings & Dangers in Sierra Leone

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Though many say it is the friendliest African country, the government of this country stands by their attitude that Sierra Leona is not the safest country to visit. It has extremely high crime rates, of both violent and petty crime. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something wrong happening.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Transportation in Sierra Leone is not too safe, due to poor maintenance of roads, and getting to and from Freetown in one piece is a serious success! Buses aren't reliable and though they cost less than taxis, they're far slower. Be wary of pickpockets in public transport.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

There is an extreme threat of petty crimen since the poverty in Sierra Leone is extreme. Pickpockets are an everyday occurrence, so you should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Sierra Leone is susceptible to flooding and mudslides. The most recent one took about 200 lives and left massive material damage behind. There are also diseases and epidemic outbreaks: in 2014 there was a tragic Ebola outbreak in this country.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Mugging is also an issue in Sierra Leone though it's not as common as petty crime. Still, be extremely vigilant when it comes to handling money and valuables, and avoid walking alone at night.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

There haven't been any recent terrorist attacks in Sierra Leone's recent history, but they shouldn't be ruled out since Sierra Leone contributes to the UN peacekeeping initiative in Mali. This may lead to it being targeted by Al-Qaida and its associated groups.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

As in any country, there's a risk of getting scammed. Be wary of people trying to distract you in order to steal from you and of taxi drivers overcharging you for a ride. We advise you to be extremely careful when handling money and around ATMs.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Sierra Leone isn't the safest place for a woman to be visiting alone. If you do, be sure to avoid remote streets, both during day and night, and do not flash your belongings or handle money in public. Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.

So... How Safe Is Sierra Leone Really?

Sierra Leone is, according to some, the friendliest place in Africa, yet according to the government warnings, it’s a country riddled with crime, corruption and is dangerously unregulated.

However, what definitely is true, is that it’s one of the poorest nations on earth, not just in Africa, and until recently was being slowly destructed by raging civil war.

It is only now starting to see signs of economic growth.

As expected, where there’s poverty, there are also high levels of crime, so you have to be very cautious when traveling to this country and bear in mind that going here is more of an adventure than a holiday experience.

Keep in mind that traveling anywhere outside Freetown is dangerous since the roads are extremely bad, poorly maintained and ridden with potholes, and the other drivers don’t help much – they mostly drive vehicles that aren’t in driving condition and the roads are filled with bandits.

Also during the rainy season that lasts from May until October, the rural roads can be extremely difficult to use, even if you’re driving a car suitable for travel on badly-rutted, unmade roads.

Another issue to keep in mind when it comes to traffic is that sometimes you may encounter illegal roadblocks put up by youths, who sometimes ask for a small “donation” in order to mend the road, all the while carrying weapons.

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries do need a visa to enter Sierra Leone, but it is easy to acquire one online. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the time of your visa application. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - Sierra Leonean leone is the official currency in Sierra Leone. ATMs and moneychangers are available throughout Freetown and other larger towns.
  • Weather - Sierra Leone has a tropical climate characterized by hot weather all year round. The weather is dry during winter and wet during the rainy season caused by the African monsoon. The rainy season lasts from May until November in the north, and from April until November in the south.
  • Airports - Freetown International Airport, locally referred to as Lungi International Airport, is the only international airport serving Sierra Leone. It is located in the coastal town of Lungi and separated from Freetown, the country's capital city by the Sierra Leone River.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Sierra Leone, since it covers not only the costs medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Sierra Leone Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 27° C
Feb 27° C
Mar 28° C
Apr 28° C
May 27° C
Jun 26° C
Jul 26° C
Aug 25° C
Sep 26° C
Oct 26° C
Nov 27° C
Dec 27° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
303030313029282728293030
Low
°C
232425252423232323232423
High
°F
868686888684828182848686
Low
°F
737577777573737373737573

Where to Next?

27 Reviews on Sierra Leone

  1. Scaremongering

    A LOT of misinformation here. When was this written?

    I have lived for years in Sierra Leone travelling all around the country and have not once see youths with ‘weapons’ or ‘bandits’. The civil war ended 19 years ago (the median age is only 19!)

    The roads going from Freetown to the other major towns are generally quite good. And the idea of Sierra Leone being targeted by Al-Qaeda is quite ridiculous.

    1. Misinformation

      Thanks James.
      This is utter rubbish..
      Bandits
      Weapons
      Bad roads linking Freetown
      Women not safe in the streets at night
      Adventure..

      Who the he’ll wrote this rubbish man..

      Hey James , hope you’re safe n sound,been a while, link up budfy

  2. Not Bad

    I’m Planning A Trip To Sierra Leone And I’ve Heard How Nice It Is I Wonder If I Can Plan A Trip All Around Africa

  3. Lies

    Sierra Leone is safe and this piece here is so full of misinformation. In my youthful days i used to go clubbing alone on frequent basis and it was safe. It is still generally safe out there for women or anybody for that matter. I am 37 now so my youthful days are not too long ago. The roads are generally in good conditions once you are travelling from Freetown to other parts of the
    country. Show me one country in Africa that doesn’t have pickpockets. I need to relocate.
    This stuff you wrote is nonesense.

  4. Misinformed Blog

    This blogger has never visited Sierra Leone. My country is one of the crime free country in Africa. I wonder where he get his information from. The roads to the country interior are good and the civil war ended the decades ago.

  5. P
    Precious Jah-Tucker says:

    Firstly this writer must be sued for misinforming the public about Sierra Leone, maybe this article was written ages ago and it only got published now
    Sierra Leone is one of the safest country to travel to
    The writer needs to check the facts before posting something like this for the world to see
    Am reporting this article and I’ll definitely get other people to report it

  6. A
    Abdul Kareem Jalloh says:

    When I read this article, I find it difficult to reconcile your story with the reality that prevails in Sierra Leone. This is so unrepresentative of the picture of Sierra Leone.
    I have travelled around West Africa and the World and I can safely say Sierra Leoneans are one of the friendliest people you can find.
    Your article does not do justice to Sierra Leone.

  7. A
    Ahmed Diallo says:

    Sierra Leone is, safe and peaceful.

    This is a complete rubbish. I have lived in Sierra Leone for over 36 years… nothing is quite related to what the writer says about Sierra Leone.

  8. Biased writing

    It is unfortunate that people can write and post without getting their fact right. How long have you been in Sierra Leone? Which Nationality are you? How can your assumption lead you to right such nasty article about a nation that you know nothing about.
    Regrettably, your article is completely biased and lack substance and you should be ashamed of yourself. Come to Sierra Leone and experience a complete opposite of the writer’s thought.

  9. M
    Mohamed Faray Kargbo says:

    Not the Sierra Leone I know

    Whoever wrote this piece must have missed the name of the country s/he has written about. Please cross-check your note to figure out which country you have mistakenly replaced Sierra Leone with as this description does not in any way fit the Sierra Leone I know. Sierra Leone is one of the safest places on earth. The country enjoys peace and tranquility. People are free to move in and out of Freetown without any issues. All then roads leading to big towns and cities are tarmac roads. No one touches women without their consent. Tourists are free to walk about both day and night. There are no bandits or youths with weapons to attack unsuspecting members of the public. Visit Sierra Leone today to enjoy the best in hospitality.

  10. a
    alhaji kamara says:

    Very Good Country To Visit

    The writer of this blog is a liar, sierra Leone is safe and good country to travel to. this writer must have been paid by foreign or bad evil forces that are not happy with sierra Leone gains over the past two year in tourism, just three month back sierra Leone welcome more than seven hundreds of tourist from Budapest Hungary and more than three hundred tourist from Denmark and more than two thousand from UK and more that Six hundred from USA.
    please dont buy that cheap lies please visit and see how lovely sierra Leone is with it lovely hotels, Beach, and friendly people

  11. Baseless and untrue

    Oh please! If you’re going to write a review of a country, at least be sure to visit it first rather than base it on a newspaper report that’s 20 years old.

    You’ve just completely ruined any sense of authenticity or trust in your whole site.

    Note: 1 star for your terrible review (because it won’t let me say 0). 4.5 stars for country safety

  12. Sierra Leone is very peaceful

    The negative description given by this blogger is unfortunate. Sierra Leone is a very peaceful country with happy people. What’s really the intention of this blogger to write such about my country. We have good roads, friendly people,,low crime rate , beautiful beaches. You’re welcome to come over to Sierra Leone and experience the warmness of Sierra Leoneans.

  13. T
    Tim Henshall says:

    Inaccurate description

    This blog is hugely misleading, inaccurate and outdated. The country is a superb tourism destination that few have visited. I love it and it’s important that it is presented fairly and honestly!

  14. P
    Pranesh Balu says:

    Misleading!!

    This is really a misleading blog!

  15. has the writer ever been to sierra leone?

    I’ve lived in and traveled to sierra leone off and on since 2006. I wonder if the author of this review has ever been there. yeah the roads aren’t great in a lot of places but it’s generally a safe and exceedingly friendly place to go.

  16. Fabrication

    This is completely misleading to say the least, and utterly far from the truth. The blogger ought to take this rubbish down!

  17. Total Crap

    It’s really unfortunate for some of u blog who don’t want to take their time to investigate or visit the country you want to write about before doing your write up…Sierra Leone is not in any way close to all you’ve said… kindly take this down and do a better research next time.

    Land that we Love 🇸🇱🇸🇱🇸🇱

    1. O
      Ogbu onyekachi says:

      I love to be in Sierra Leone have had a lot about it

      Wow this words of yours high me

  18. Pure rubbish

    Absolute and utter drivel. I currently live in Sierra Leone and have not come across the rubbish this writer is spewing.

  19. A
    Abdulai says:

    Lies

    Lots of rubbish and misinformation. Where do you get these information on risks.

  20. G
    George Tucker says:

    Mostly true

    The country is on an edge.
    Our President recently declared the opposition terrorists, in an effort to blame them for civil unrests, caused by his poor economic performance, and poor Democratic credentials.
    There are no kids at roadblocks with weapons.
    But corruption is at its highest, and because everything has now been politicised by the new government, the security situation is extremely volatile.
    A once safe country, Sierra Leone is now also being divided along tribal lines because of a reckless government, and it is geared that a Rwandan-styled tribal conflict could be the outcome.

  21. S
    Sheka Forna says:

    This article has been truly inspirational. It’s great to know that you can author a travel piece from the comfort of your own sofa. I’d always assumed that you needed to have actually visited the country. You’ve opened my eyes up to a whole new employment opportunity.

    1. 7 out of 10 for the entertainment factor

      Still not found a job yet Sheka. I hear bald blokes are coming back into fashion again.
      All the best to the family.

  22. A
    Abdul S Yateh says:

    Except the act of terrorism is boiling underground and that the president himself has said it, pointing to a political party, or that they themselves, “the leading greeds” are the terrorists, as it appears but if this act of terrorism is associated to the suffering masses, I take exception.
    We the suffering masses no longer believe on evil for evil. For it is written ” Vengeance is mine I will repay” say the Lord. Payday will one day come to pey every one according to his or her work.

  23. I
    Idrissa kamara says:

    For now our country is not safe political international is the problem now

    Am presently in Sierra Leone

  24. K
    Kolleh Bangura says:

    Wrong information

    The writer does not know Sierra Leone. He/she is ill informed and should bury his/head in shame. Our country is not only very beautiful it is peaceful. You are more likely to be mugged in New York or shot dead in Detroit than Sierra Leone.

Rated 3.85 / 5 based on 27 user reviews.

Share Your Experience