Banana Island offers visitors a real tropical island castaway experience in a setting where quiet beaches are surrounded by tropical rainforest and the relics of Sierra Leone’s role in the slave-trade.
In reality, the Banana Islands comprise two main islands, Dublin Island and Ricketts Island, linked by a causeway, and uninhabited Mes-Meheux. The best of the forest is on Ricketts, while Dublin Island has the best beaches.
The island is only accessible by boat from Kent beach on the mainland. The journey takes about 30 minutes and provides spectacular views both of the southern beaches of the peninsula and Banana Island itself.
The island itself is ringed by a series of white sand beaches, each nestling in a secluded cove, bordered by dramatic rock formations and lush rainforest. The forest is rich in fruit trees – mangoes, bananas, papaya, citrus fruits, coconuts and starfruit. Wildlife includes a range of reptiles, birds and grey long-tailed monkeys who fish for crab with their tails.
Dotted across the island are reminders of the island’s dark days as a slaving station. The remains of a slaving fort are clearly visible and rusting canons are scattered across strategically important headlands. Ship-wrecks, visible from a boat, lie in the waters around the island. Near Dublin, the island’s main settlement, the ruins of an 1881 Anglican church rise up from the undergrowth.
The 900 friendly inhabitants of Banana Island are mostly the descendents of freed slaves brought to Sierra Leone after the 1807 Abolition of Slavery Act. They are more than happy to provide tours to curious visitors and share the stories of the island with you.
The snorkelling around Banana Island is excellent with both shipwrecks and abundant marine life to explore. There is also fine fishing from the shore or from a boat: grouper, snapper, lady fish, yellow fin tuna and barracuda are all plentiful.