What Our Clients Say

I was well looked after by both the guide and the driver and the vehicle was comfortable. I knew the accommodation would be basic and didn’t have a problem with that. I was surprised the final hotel which was allegedly the best in the country did not meet up to my expectations. The service needed improvement was my main issue, however it was comfortable. The food was good apart from one breakfast in the last hotel which was terrible, little or no choice and mainly cakes!! However the second breakfast was a buffet as there were more guests in the hotel, that was much better. The first hotel had an excellent breakfast!! Andrew my guide cooked several meals for me when we were up country and they were all very good. I enjoyed seeing the country side and also staying in the rain forests. . I found all the locals very welcoming and friendly. The island, I was upgraded which was good and really enjoyed the ambiance. There were so many interesting travellers there who were going through west Africa. During the time we met very few travellers those we met were so interesting. Although it was my first time in true west Africa it was enhanced as I had just read a book called Going Home which was set in neighbouring Ghana all about the slave trade. Despite the appalling history the country has it was very interesting learning about the civil war and all that went on. Andrew was very knowledgeable in all aspects of travel. We were able to see a selection of monkeys, sadly no pygmy hippo, I knew that would be a bonus. Some small changes were made to the itinerary for a better flow, however I am not sure what else I would change.  .

Ms Fawcett

Hi Derek. Just wanted to let you know that we had the most amazing trip, thank you. Everything worked really smoothly (which is particularly amazing given the location), and your partners, Visit Sierra Leone, are superstars. Big thanks to Abdullah (guide), and Sahid (driver) - both excellent, good sense of humour, and excellent customer care. I think Abdullah enjoyed watching monkeys on Tiwai as much as we did. A couple of pieces of information that might be useful if anyone else is planning a trip:. - Keep hold of your boarding pass until you are outside the airport - you will need it to prove that your bags are your own, probably more than once. - There are now solar panels at Gola - and phones etc can be charged at both Gola and Tiwai using proper 3-pin sockets, if you can get a spot - lots of other phones in there first (and an enormous boom box at Tiwai too).  - Tacugama would be delighted to receive anything at all from anyone (items are better than money), and can always supply a list.  Sierra Leone is a stunning place, and we had an amazing time. The people were lovely, the accommodation wasn't quite as bad as your literature suggests (always the best way).  We are now trying to decide where to go next, so you will be hearing from us again.   Thank you for all your help in making our trip so brilliant.  Michelle.

Mr and Mrs Koster

A great trip with everything going much smoother than anticipated!...Tourism in Sierra Leone is still very basic but that’s probably why we enjoyed it more than Sao Tome which is more popular.  It felt like the real adventure we wanted! Sierra Leone. Obtaining a Sierra Leone Visa on arrival was simple. Currency exchange was available at Freetown airport, but we used our guide to rustle up a money changer...   Be prepared for lots of notes as the highest note is 20 SLE (80p), but in reality, we got a lot of 10 SLE notes - but these were great for tipping.  . The boat transfer on arriving at Freetown Airport is chaotic but bag tags are checked before you can leave the terminal. Home Suites Boutique Hotel - excellent choice for us and junior suite worth it. Quality of guiding in Sierra Leone was better than anticipated, and both our driver and guide were excellent.  Sightseeing in Freetown was split over two days - city sights on the first day, and the beach the following day.  This worked really well. Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary - with hindsight, would do as a day trip from Freetown, as staying overnight doesn’t really add value and accommodation, meals and service are basic.  . Wusum Hotel - totally overrated and the double room only had facilities for one person (e.g. one towel, one cup and saucer) and they seemed surprised there was two of us.  It may have been refurbished, but not to a good standard.  Great bar service in contrast to poor restaurant experience. Gola - only four other guests so virtually had the place to ourselves.  This was the experience virtually throughout the trip.  We enjoyed shopping in the local market for the food to take, as we also took our own cook (and to Tiwai).  Bird sightings were disappointing bearing in mind what we’d read in Bradt and the fact there was a visiting RSPB couple. Tiwai - again, the only guests so the two shared bathrooms turned into his and hers!  Good mix of activities. Didn’t spot the pygmy hypo! Banana Island - probably our favourite, for the food, location and service.  Although the tent was basic, it had a terrific setting, and the showers and toilets were extremely well serviced. Tokeh - very luxurious after the previous places with a large and fabulous beachfront room.  We were pleased that the changing flight meant we had an extra day here.  Beautiful beach and good food.   Again, only tourists as there was a big conference taking place. Transfer across to Tariq’s by boat - again chaotic and not helped by the fact they assume all passengers are going to the airport which is where our bags were taken there despite the fact we were not going there. Tariq’s - initially we weren’t expected, but then all sorted when the ‘lady boss’ arrived.  Good option for staying near the airport.".

Ms Jackson and Mr Messenger

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

M Diggins

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

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

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

P & F Martin

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

J Thomas

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

C Thomas

Helen Kennedy

Travel Specialist

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