Passport: is generally required for trips to Sierra Leone, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure.
Visa: Generally required
Transit: Transit travelers who fly to the next port within 24 hours and do not leave the transit room do not need a transit visa.
Validity: Entry permits and visas are valid for stays of 3 to 12 months, depending on the application. Extension options exist in the country. The maximum length of stay in Sierra Leone is 12 months.
A vaccination certificate with proof of a yellow fever vaccination is required upon entry. Further information on international vaccination certificates that are required for entry can be found in the section Sierra Leone – Health.
Application: Consulate or consular section of the embassy (see Sierra Leone – important addresses).
Documents: Tourist Visa: 2 originally filled out application forms (no copies or faxes) – 2 passport photos (no scans) – passport that must be valid for at least 6 months – travel booking confirmation of the outward and return flight and hotel in Sierra Leone – proof of sufficient funds – proof about valid yellow fever vaccination – an invitation letter for multiple entries
Business Visa: In addition, a letter from the German company about the purpose and duration of the trip, confirmation of payment and invitation letter from the business partner in Sierra Leone
A stamped envelope (registered mail) and proof of payment for the visa fees should be attached to the application.
You can download the Sierra Leone visa application form here.
Visa fees: Tourist and business visas : single entry, valid for up to 3 months: 100 euros,
multiple entries (valid for 6 months): 150 euros,
multiple entries (valid for 1 year): 200 euros
Processing time: 7 days.
Entry with children:
Germany: German children’s ID card (2 passport photos must be included) or your own passport (children’s passport or electronic passport).
Austria: own passport for children.
Switzerland: own passport for children.
The same visa requirements apply to children as to their parents.
Customs regulations: it is not allowed to export more than 50,000 LE from Sierra Leone. Gold and diamond exports without a license are illegal.
Presentation of arrival options to Sierra Leone
Airplane: Sierra Leone is served by SN Brussels, Astraeus Airlines, BMI and Bellview Airlines.
Kenya Airways flies between Nairobi (Kenya) via Accra (Ghana). Regional flights are offered by Paramount Airlines to Guinea, Slok to Banjul (Gambia) and Monrovia (Liberia) and Bellview Nigeria to Lagos (Nigeria), Banjul (Gambia) and Accra (Ghana).
International Airports: Lungi International Airport (FNA) is 8 miles north of Freetown on the opposite side of the Sierra Leone River. Transfers to the city are possible by ferry (45 minutes), helicopter (10 minutes, cost: $ 70 one-way) and bus (4 hours). Transfers by hovercraft are currently not possible.
Ship: There are currently no connections to Conakry (Guinea) from the third largest natural harbor in the world in Freetown, these should be resumed in the future.
Rail: There is currently no passenger transport in Sierra Leone.
Cars: Although there are connecting routes to neighboring countries, these can be blocked depending on the current political situation. The embassy (see Sierra Leone – important addresses) provides further information.
The main border crossings:
to Guinea: At Pamelap. Bus taxis and often buses run between Freetown and Conakry (Guinea).
to Liberia: between Fair and Bo (Waterside). There is no direct transportation from Freetown to the border. From Bo (Waterside) there are daily bush taxis to Monrovia.
National currency: 1 leone corresponds to 100 cents.
Currency abbreviation: Le, SLL – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG
Banknotes are in circulation worth 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100 and 50 le. There are coins worth 500, 100, 50 and 10 le.
In practical life only the Le 100 and Le 500 coins and all banknotes are used. It is difficult to find banknotes of Le 10,000.
Currency Exchange: The most popular currencies are US Dollar, British Pound and Euro. There are exchange offices and banks in the larger cities in the country, with exchange offices offering the better exchange rates.
Exchange rate Leone:
Currency converter at OANDA
Credit Cards: are currently not accepted anywhere.
Traveler’s checks: Exchange offices exchange travelers’ checks at exchange rates roughly 10% lower than cash.
ATMs: international cards are not accepted at existing ATMs. With the VISA card, you can sometimes withdraw cash at bank counters.
Foreign exchange regulations: The import and export of the national currency is limited to 50,000 Le. The import of foreign currencies is unlimited, declaration requirements from 5,000 US dollars. Export maximum in the amount declared on entry.
Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Health and Diseases
The Federal Foreign Office’s health service recommends vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, hepatitis A and typhoid, and for long-term stays over 4 weeks also hepatitis B and rabies.
Sierra Leone is a yellow fever infection area according to the WHO. In 2003, 90 cases from the Tonkolili, Bombali, Kenema, Koinadugu, Porto Loko, Kambia and Kono districts were reported. In general, vaccinations are recommended for all travelers. A valid vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers from infected areas upon arrival. In practice, however, proof of vaccination is required of all those entering and leaving the country.
Malaria is the leading cause of disease in Sierra Leone and is responsible for over 48% of hospitalizations. The transmission takes place through the bite of blood-sucking nocturnal Anopheles mosquitoes. If left untreated, especially the dangerous malaria tropica, is often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay. If a fever occurs during this time, an indication of the stay in a malaria area to the treating doctor is necessary. There is a high risk year-round across the country.
Chemoprophylaxis is therefore regularly recommended. Various prescription medications (e.g. malarone, doxycycline, Lariam) are available on the market for malaria prophylaxis. The selection and personal adaptation as well as side effects or intolerance to other medications should be discussed with a tropical medicine / travel medicine before taking them.
Therefore, it is recommended to all travelers
- wear body-covering clothing (long pants, long shirts),
- Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all free parts of the body, especially in the evening and at night
- to sleep under a mosquito net
HIV / AIDS:Through heterosexual and homosexual contacts and when using drugs (dirty syringes or cannulas) there is always a risk of a life-threatening HIV /AIDSinfection. Current figures are difficult to determine.
In 1992 2% of the mothers in prenatal outpatient clinics and in 1995 26.7% of prostitutes were HIV positive. A higher infection rate can currently be assumed. Condom use is always recommended, especially for casual acquaintances.
Diarrheal diseases and cholera: Most diarrheal diseases can be avoided by appropriate food and drinking water hygiene.
A few basic rules: Drink only water of safe origin, e.g. bottled water, never tap water. Use filtered, disinfected or boiled water in an emergency. Only use drinking water for washing dishes and brushing your teeth. The following applies to food: cooking, peeling or disinfecting. Be sure to keep flies away from your food. Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always after bowel movements and always before food preparation and before eating. Disinfect hands where appropriate, use disposable towels.
Other infectious diseases:
There is a risk of transmission of schistosomiasis (schistosomiasis) when bathing in fresh water throughout the country.
Lassa fever: In Sierra Leone, the Lassa fever infection is endemic, but there are always minor outbreaks. The disease is particularly common in the east of the country, where it is responsible for 30% of all hospital deaths, 30% of deafness and 70% of spontaneous abortions. 8-52% of the population are seropositive and in 1-20% of the Mastomys rats the virus was found in the urine. The route of transmission to humans is oral or inhalation contact with food or aerosols contaminated by rat urine. Be especially careful when traveling inland under simple conditions.
The medical care in the country cannot be compared to Europe and is technically and hygienically inadequate. Adequate global health insurance coverage and reliable travel return insurance are strongly recommended
Before you go to Sierra Leone, get advice from a tropical medicine advice center / a tropical medicine / travel medicine.
In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:
A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possible damage cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.
Summary of travel options
Airplane: there is currently no domestic air traffic.
Ship: Ferries connect Tombo at Freetown with Bonthe and Shenge.
Cars: The main roads (Freetown – Kabala, Kenema – Bo) are paved, the side roads are often in poor condition and are often impassable in the rainy season. Bus: The state-owned Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) offers the most convenient and frequent connections between cities in the country. Bush taxis and poda-Podas (minibuses) drive to the smaller places. Documents: International driving license. Rental Cars: Rental cars are expensive, usually you can only rent a vehicle with a driver. In the rainy season, an off-road vehicle is highly recommended.
City Traffic: Shared taxis and Poda-Podas operate throughout Freetown. For taxi rides, the fare should be agreed in advance, as there are hardly any taximeters.
Highlights in Sierra Leone
Certainly a highlight of a trip to Sierra Leone are the incredibly clean, white, sandy beaches, which are almost deserted (except for Easter and Christmas Lumley Beach). The beaches of the Freetown Peninsula, e.g. Lumley Beach, directly in Freetown, are the easiest to reach. Recommended beaches are: River No. 2 Beach (30 minutes from Freetown), Lakka Beach, Toke Beach, Mamma Beach and Kent Beach.
Freetown is located on the northwest tip of the Freetown Peninsula, a peninsula that stretches into the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape is characterized by hills covered with tropical rainforest that extend to the fine sandy beaches (which are considered the most beautiful in Africa). Dense forested hills surround the historic port city.
One of the most famous sights is the Cotton Tree. The giant tree in the center of Freetown has stood here at least since 1787. The small Sierra Leone National Museum, the only one in the country, is also located here.
The Supreme Court building, the “Portuguese Stairs”, various churches such as St. Johns Maroon Church (built in 1829), St. George’s Cathedral (1828), Foulah Town Mosque (1830) and the Roman Catholic Sacred are also architecturally interesting Heart Cathedral as well as the gateway to the Old Kings Yard and the three historic cannons on the city limits. The Fourah Bay College is the oldest university in West Africa. The King Jimmy Market is also worth a visit.
The Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located in the hills outside of Freetown.
The Banana Islands are a small group of islands off the southern tip of the Freetown Peninsula. Here you will find fine sandy beaches and good snorkeling and diving opportunities.
Animal Welfare Areas : Visiting permits and a guide can be arranged at the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture in Freetown.
The Outamba Kilimi National Park in the north can be reached from Freetown by bus, car or plane. Outamba-Kilimi is one of the last retreat areas for large animal species in West Africa. The rare pygmy hippos only live here (and in a few regions of Liberia and the Ivory Coast). With luck you can see chimpanzees, other monkeys, elephants, Cape buffalos, bongos, giraffes and lions. The national park is a paradise for ornithologists.
The Sakanbiarwa nature reserve is known for its spectacular orchid bloom.