He who does not travel does not know the value of men.
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Sierra Leone

Background

Sierra Leone

Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 presidential election, but still look to the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) - a civilian UN mission - to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government's priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.

About

Sierra Leone is on the West Coast of Africa between 7 and 10 degrees N, and longitudes 10.5 and 13 degrees W. The Republic of Guinea is to the north and northeast; Liberia is to the east and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west and south. It has 402 km of coastline.

From an approximate 100km coastal belt of low-lying land, the country rises to a mountain plateau near the eastern frontier rising 1200m to 2000m with a rich timber forest region.

The peninsula, on which the capital and main commercial centre of Freetown stands, is 40km long and 17km wide with a mountainous interior.

Read more about Sierra Leone in our Sierra Leone travel guide »

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Sierra Leone

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Featured hotels in

Sierra Leone

Sierra LeoneLeone Lodge Freetown 

90 Kingston Upon Hull Way
Lumley Beach
Freetown
Sierra Leone

Price (US$): $165 - $200 / night

Check rates »

Location. Leone Lodge Freetown is located near the beach in Freetown and close to Lumley Beach and National Stadium. Additional area points of interest include Cotton Tree and Fourah Bay College. Hotel Features. Leone Lodge Freetown features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. This Freetown property has 2 meeting rooms. Guest parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include tour/ticket assistance and audiovisual… more »

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Sierra Leone

Full name
Republic of Sierra Leone
Capital
Freetown
Location

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia

Geographic coordinates

8 30 N, 11 30 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than South Carolina

Border countries

Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km

Coastline

402 km

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)

Terrain

coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east

Lowest point

Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m

Natural resources

diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite

Population

5,245,695 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Temne 35%, Mende 31%, Limba 8%, Kono 5%, Kriole 2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), Mandingo 2%, Loko 2%, other 15% (includes refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians) (2008 census)

Religions

Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%

Languages

English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

Government type

constitutional democracy

Independence

27 April 1961 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 April (1961)

Chief of state

President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government

President Ernest Bai KOROMA (since 17 September 2007)

Internet country code

.sl

Internet users

14,900 (2009)

Airports

9 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Freetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands

Other countries in the region