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Helen Kennedy
Helen Kennedy Africa Travel Specialist
"'Of Sierra Leone's wildlife, the most interesting aspect for me was the primates. It was great seeing evidence of Chimps in the forests, and a nature enthusiasts should visit Tiway Island, which is accessible but still under-developed: we stayed in tents under shelters and on platforms - it was very well organised'."
Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Reviews

We just wanted to write to thank you making our trip to Sierra Leone  so interesting and enjoyable . We probably told you that we were a bit nervous about visiting because of the previous problems your country has had and also because we had never heard of anyone else who had been there. 
We needn't have worried because Kamara and Idris looked after us so well and told us so much  interesting information about the history and the lives of the people .
We have contacted the RSPB and told them that they should go out and see the camp at Gola and spend some money putting it right. I dont know if this will do any good but at least we have tried as it seems such a shame that the facilities are all there but nothing works .
We have some great photos that we took at Gola and Tiwai especially of the the schools and have been showing them to our friends and family. 
Thanks again for making our trip one we will never forget .
Marion and Tim Kniveton 
Mr and Mrs Kniveton
February 25, 2020
So Sierra Leone really was a good trip. I really liked the overall nature/vibe of the place and the people – just very friendly and happy to talk and engage.  I thought the community experience we had before Tiwai Island was great – felt real and not cheesy or exploitative. Tiwai Island was beautiful but that campsite needs a bit of a spruce-up, particularly because seeing wildlife isn’t all that easy so I feel it’s more of an eco-retreat and then if you see monkeys etc, 
it’s a bonus! A few simple lodge rooms would be good too. And they’re obviously working on the poaching issue but hearing shots isn’t the greatest 😉 
But I feel that place has so much potential and there seem to be lots of communities around that area who want to be part of homestay/community tourism itineraries.
Gola – hard to comment as we arrived quite late in the day so not really enough time to do a trek that gave us more than views. From the talk we had at the centre, I’m sure there is plenty on offer, and that whole Gola Rainforest/Tiwai region really is very peaceful and scenic.
Kanema. Might have been interesting/fun to have had a diamond shop experience perhaps. I wasn’t keen on visiting a working mine at Kono. I know they want to change the narrative on blood/conflict diamonds and I think there’s great potential for a diamond museum/engaging interactive interpretative experience but I felt some of the miners weren’t that into a group of tourists watching them work. Had mixed feelings on that one. Dorwalia Inn was a good guesthouse/hotel.
I really liked the towns we passed, such as Makeni and Kabala, and the local markets and shops etc. We had a great walk up Wara-Wara mountain although perhaps wrong time of day 😉 as meeting the chiefs took up much of the morning. That was interesting, as was the dancing/community experience afterwards (if a little long, if I am being honest). We ate at a fantastic local restaurant though with bright murals, music, lovely staff and I think experiences like that just really lift 
an itinerary. I am not one for too many hotel dinners so creative lunch and dinner stops are always a bonus. Wasn’t wild about Makambo Village Resort as a hotel – I think the place Sue W stayed out when she was in Sierra Leone last time sounded more atmospheric. Same for the hotel in Kono – Diamond Lodge. I have no issue with 
slightly characterless places on my travels – it’s all about the place you’re in and staff can make it too – but thinking of certain clients here. Some will be fine, I guess if it’s explained, others less so!
Obviously loved The Place after all that driving! I prefer smaller beach places but The Place was just lovely! Enjoyed Banana Island although not much time to get into it but the trip to Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary was great. The new guy heading it up seems so on-the-ball – staying there a night or two would be great on an itinerary for someone into wildlife. I’d definitely do that next time.
Freetown – a real highight for me as I love most African cities e.g. Tana, Entebbe, Joburg, Maputo etc. Just found it had a brilliant energy – loved the markets,  local restaurants, beach strip, architecture etc - and I’d definitely suggest 2 nights here. Bunce Island is very moving – we didn’t have a proper guide but with the right guide, it’s all good. Not much on the island itself by way of tourism – probably needs a few facilities/signage/interpretation but I also think some places are fine as they are. The Bunce Island exhibit at the museum in Freetown is probably best done before a Bunce Island visit so you have some info and context  before you go.
I could talk for hours on it but I think that’s an overall view.
Ms M Dattani
May 9, 2019
I'm just back from their trip to Sierra Leone. First, a huge thank you for - it was brilliant.
...And apologies for not getting back to you last week about Tiwai. When I was there two years ago I interviewed Tommy Garnett, founder of EFA that supports Tiwai and he said that there were lots of plans in the pipeline to tidy it up, do more trails, maps, photos etc. 
But it really hasn't changed much, other than that the solar power is back working again and the jetty is done.
Sightings are still tricky too and there needs to be more training and resources for guides - on the kayak trip, there wasn't a proper guide, just polers and the guides who came for the (very early) morning walk didn't have torches so arrived 45 minutes late.  Last time, we'd done a motorboat trip with a really good guide who talked about the birds, plants etc but I gather he's left now.  I think with Tiwai it might need two full days there generally so that if guests don't see much, they can at least get a feel for the island and perhaps appreciate it to be more than just somewhere to see monkeys and pygmy hippos if you see what I mean (in which case they might be disappointed), take the longer hikes to say the beaches or the chimps in the south (although they're unhabituated) or do a community activity. Just a personal view but I  guess it's a case of managing expectations. 
We saw red colobus and black and white colobus, but not much else - oh and potentially the backside of a pygmy hippo.
Ms S Watt
May 9, 2019

Great accommodation - loved Christo. Service, meals and location excellent.

January 18, 2014

Thank you Rob for all the arrangements you made....the choice of guide and driver...were excellent.  They knew what they were expected to do and then did it well.  We felt very safe with them.  Abdulai took good care of us and was flexible and cooperative if we wanted to do something different.  Idrissa drove well and carefully...I would highly recommend both of them for any future visits.

Hotel Barmoi was a really good idea for our first and last night in Sierra Leone, but we were so pleased otherwise to be in guesthouses or lodges of one sort or another for the other nights. They were all different and charming and provided all that was necessary for our comfort.  We were of course hot on nights when there was no air cooling system but would not have wanted it any other way.   The food was good and plenty of it.

Gola East had not expected us so that was in a bit of a state, but that is where Abdulai, Idrissa and a local man proved their worth… it was a really good experience and I know all our hearts were engaged in that country and  we might well individually  like to return in the future knowing we would find something pretty different.

Patti Price
April 7, 2013
Review items: Sierra Leone    

We will definitely use Rainbow Tours again (we understand the difficulties in visiting developing nations). Your local representatives seemed to be a competent and caring operator.

January 14, 2013
Review items: Sierra Leone    

I just wanted to  tell you what a great time we had in Sierra Leone.  The guides and drivers were very good and were very helpful when we missed the boat back  to the airport, their boss soon had another boat organised.  No 2 beach guest house was basic but the food was good and the people were very friendly.  Again Francos was good.  We also liked the first hotel we stayed in in Freetown, the Country Lodge. I think it is Rwanda next time. Thank you! 


Mr and Mrs Hughes
December 3, 2012
Review items: Sierra Leone    

The service and documentation [from Rainbow Tours] for our Sierra Leone holiday were very good. Our drivers [in Sierra Leone] were excellent.

M Diggins
January 31, 2011
Review items: Sierra Leone    

The location at No.2 Beach Guesthouse is very good. Meals are good but limited choice. No electricity until after dark and then off by 6am, but we had torches.

M Diggins
January 31, 2011

The whole experience was brilliant. From our very first e-mail contact Rainbow have been attentive, knowledgeable and keen to provide the very best service. The [people on the ground] were awesome. They made the travel hassle free, provided a unique insight into the country and helped out with any request we made. The country was beautiful and the people wonderful.

Jenner Date
November 16, 2010
Review items: Sierra Leone    

Everything at Tacugama Chimpanzee was clean and tidy and well set up. We arranged to have a local meal on the first night, which was fantastic. In reality the location of this place was the real draw and having breakfast in the forest was amazing.

November 16, 2010

We’ve had the most fantastic time in Sierra Leone and are singing the praises of the team who looked after us so well. We weren’t used to that kind of looking after! Alaya, who was our guide, is so informative and passionate about tourism in his country and we learnt a lot from him.

J Moor
January 31, 2010
Review items: Sierra Leone    

Stayed at Lungi Airport Hotel, Country Lodge Hotel, Tiwai & Gola 

P & F Martin
November 10, 2009
Review items: Sierra Leone    

Everywhere we felt we were getting the highest quality that could be afforded. People were excellent.

J Thomas
October 19, 2009
Review items: Sierra Leone    

Fantastic holiday and very well organised. A great destination with very friendly welcoming locals in all of the places we visited. 

C Thomas
March 10, 2009
Review items: Sierra Leone    

Room needed refurbishment! Service very slow. Negotiated price [of boat trip] down from $35 each to £12.50 each – still seemed a little overpriced. Beach – amazing! And surf board hire available. The cleanest beach we visited.

C Thomas
March 10, 2009
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