Franco's offers some of the best quality accommodation along the peninsula. What it lacks in the community involvement of Number 2 or Banana Island, it makes up for in charming accommodation, a lovely beach and the country’s most famous restaurant outside Freetown. Owned and run by Franco Miari, an Italian who has lived in Sierra Leone for decades, and his wife Florence, this is a unique spot which brings a bit of glamour to the peninsula and it is well worth stopping at Sussex Beach either for lunch or to stay the night.
There are 5 rooms over 2 floors of an attractive Mediterranean-style villa. Each room has a double bed with mosquito net, fridge, television, the best bathrooms on the peninsula and the only ones to have hot running water – sometimes. Four of the rooms are fitted with air-conditioning and the two without have the compensation of a steady breeze through the shutter windows on three sides and sweeping views out over the beach. Franco’s is one of the best restaurants in the country and is packed with residents and ex-pats making the journey down from Freetown at week-ends. True to his roots, Franco offers a wide range of pasta dishes including the best carbonara in the country and the house special with fresh lobster.
The beach is not as stunning as some of its neighbours – in the immediate vicinity of the guesthouse, it is slightly marred by a couple of muddy pools. Go beyond the ridge separating you from the sea and you will be rewarded with a long stretch of white sand.
As all the beaches south of Freetown, the waves are quite rough but this is a great spot for a romantic stroll at sunset (or sunrise if you have spent the night here). Franco runs a diving centre from the restaurant, but only experienced divers should be tempted. There is no decompression chamber in Sierra Leone, so you should be capable of assessing the condition of the equipment and the quality of oxygen. Boat trips are available from Sussex Beach to all the usual destinations – Banana Island, Tokeh Island and along the peninsula – or you can walk the forest trails. Fishing is also offered and snorkelling equipment can be hired.