Destination Information for Sierra Leone
The largely unexplored country of Sierra Leone, on the West coast of Africa, is being hailed as an up-and-coming destination for adventurous tourists. With incredible white sandy beaches, which are some of the best in Africa, stunning scenery and welcoming, friendly local people, it’s not hard to see why.
The civil war which plagued the country from 1991 and 2002, as well as the recent Ebola outbreak, has lead to difficult times for Sierra Leone, however it is slowly addressing the issues of the past and travellers are gradually venturing back, to discover this unique country.
Freetown is Sierra Leone’s capital city, situated on the West coast, and offering a huge number of idyllic beaches which always remain quiet. This attractive city is filled with hidden gems, including a chimpanzee sanctuary, colourful colonial houses on stilts and the Sierra Leone Museum.
Banana Island is one of the main tourist spots, offering a beautiful tropical island with unspoilt views, beautiful beaches, and excellent walking and scuba diving opportunities. The country as a whole is blessed with an abundance of wildlife, including forest elephants and chimpanzees, as well as hundreds of species of birds and exotic insects.
If you’re taking a trip, it’s advisable to avoid the wet season from June to November, and opt instead to visit during the summer months of November to June.
Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa
A total of 33 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported during the week to 19 April 2015. This compares with 37 and 30 in the preceding weeks.
- Guinea - in the week to 19 April, 21 confirmed cases were reported, this compares with 28 the previous week.Transmission is still confined to the west of the country and mainly in the prefecture of Forecariah, bordering Sierra Leone.
- Liberia - the last confirmed case was buried on 28 March 2015; 42 days will have elapsed from this burial on 9 May.
- Sierra Leone - in the week to 19 April, 12 confirmed cases were reported, this compares with 9 the previous week. Western Area Urban, which include the capital Freetown, reported 6 new confirmed cases, which represents 50% of the total number, compare with 4 cases the previous week.
As of 19 April 2015, more than 26 044 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD and more than 10 808 deaths have been reported to WHO by the Ministries of Health for Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The distribution of the cases in West Africa is listed below, case numbers include confirmed, probable and suspected:
- Guinea - 3565 cases and 2358 deaths, cases in last 21 days 70.
- Liberia - 10 212 cases and 4573 deaths, cases in last 21 days 0.
- Sierra Leone - 12 267 cases and 3877 deaths, cases in last 21 days 30.
Advice for Travellers
The risk of travellers becoming infected or developing Ebola haemorrhagic fever is extremely low, unless there has been direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of dead or living infected persons or animals. Healthcare workers are at particular risk, although practising appropriate infection control should effectively prevent transmission of disease in this setting.
Travellers returning from tropical countries should always seek rapid medical attention if they develop flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, diarrhoea or general malaise) within three weeks after return, and be reminded to mention to their health care provider that they have recently travelled.
Malaria and regions within country:
There is a high risk of P.Falciparum malaria throughout Sierra Leone, anti-malarial medication is advised.
Malaria chemoprophylaxis for high risk zones:
If all other anti-malarials are not deemed suitable, Chloroquine plus Proguanil can be used but it is less effective.