Sierra Leone is definitely a novel place to be and a remarkable sight to see. With a trove of deep-rooted traditions and celebrated cultures, a visit to the monuments in Sierra Leone departs from the humdrum sightseeing tours to bring you an enriching experience of scenic colonial buildings. Freetown is Sierra Leone’s capital city, the country’s most populous city, and the most important commercial center and continues to flourish more than ever. Surrender yourself to the infectious energy of the locals, coated in the beautiful tongue of the English language, as you embark on this journey. Here is one of the top 10 monuments in Sierra Leone:
List of Monuments in Sierra Leone
1. Martello Tower
The Martello tower built to guard the Freetown against frequent attacks during the 19th century is of great historical significance. The tower was built on Tower Hill in round shape has served as powerful artillery several times. It is also said that a water tank at the base of the tower served as one of the major water supplies for the town in the early 1870s. To enjoy the magnificent views of the city climb up the tower and learn more about this famous monument in Sierra Leone.
Address: Freetown, Sierra Leone
2. Heddle’s Farm
This popular monument in Sierra Leone was the site of a house, which commanded a fine view over Freetown. It is found on the old Leicester Road and dates from 1820. This was a prominent residence, which is now in ruins. It belonged to several notable citizens before passing finally in 1859 to the Hon. Charles Heddle, a leading businessman, and pioneer in the groundnut trade. Until it was abandoned, it was, in turn, a private residence; the country residence of the Governor; a convalescent home; the home of some Commissary Judges (Mrs. Melville, who was the wife of one of the judges, wrote “ A Residence at Sierra Leone”). Heddle sold it to the Government and it was last used as the Residence of the Comptroller of Forestry when the extensive gardens were maintained by the Forestry Department. Sometime between 1962 and 1966, Heddles Farm became part of the Botanical Gardens of Fourah Bay College.
Address: Old Leicester Road Freetown Sierra Leone.
3. Outamba-Kilimi National Park
There is no shortage of natural beauty and national parks in Sierra Leone, but the Outamba-Kilimi National Park seems to top the list. The natural monument in Sierra Leone is home to several species of interesting and diverse wildlife, including many different primates, elephants, buffalos, and a lion are two. Bird watchers will also be amazed at the near-260 different species that inhabit the area. The park itself is also quite geographically varied, with the northern section characterized by rolling hills and rainforests, while the central area is flatter and boasts grassland conditions. Travelers can stay overnight in one of the many lodges take tours of the park, or even embark on exciting safaris.
Address: Northern Sierra Leone
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4. Banana Islands
Travelers who want to get away from the mainland for a bit should look no farther than the Banana Islands. These islands are the coastal pride and joy of the country, boasting Sierra Leone’s best beaches and diving spots. There are two main islands, Dublin and Ricketts, which are linked by road. Dublin is well known for it postcard-worthy beach fronts, while Ricketts is better known for its forests. This beautiful historical site in Sierra Leone can be reached by boat from the town of Kent on the mainland.
Address: Southwest of the Freetown Peninsula
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5. Cotton Tree
Located in the heart of the capital city, the cotton tree is one of the oldest and best-loved landmarks in Freetown. This important monument in Sierra Leone dominates the city’s skyline, having cast a welcoming shadow over several buildings, including the Sierra Leone National Museum, for an estimated 500 years. This tree holds a great deal of historical significance. It is said that slaves who had gained independence from Britain during the American War of Independence returned to their homeland and held a Thanksgiving service under the tree to commemorate the occasion. This is a very popular site, with hordes of travelers visiting every day. The best time to visit is at dusk when the bats that inhabit the tree make a mass exodus in search of food.
Address: Siaka Stevens Street, Downtown Freetown
6. Leicester Peak
Freetown’s pride and joy, Leicester Peak, is a small mountain in Tower Hill. Visitors can see everything, from the top and from the surrounding hills including the city to the harbor and the majestic Sierra Leone River. You can either drive or walk up to the top of the mountain.
Address: Tower Hill, Freetown
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7. De Ruyter Stone
This is one of the oldest monuments in Sierra Leone. It lies buried 6 feet underground, just above the high watermark at King Jimmy Market, near the Connaught Hospital. Mentioned by early travelers in ships journals, it was covered by silt and was only re-discovered in 1923 when a concrete drain-off was being built to direct the waters of Peter’s Brook, beside the then-new market building. The spring at this point was well known to all mariners on the West Coast of Africa as the best watering-place in the region. It is now called “Peter’s Brook” and was known as “King Jimmy Water.”
Address: Lumley Beach, Lumley Beach Road, Freetown.
8. Mt Bintumani
Mount Bintumani is the highest peak in Sierra Leone, sits at an impressive 6380 ft, and unsurprisingly, a very dominant feature of the Sierra Leonean landscape. Known locally as Loma Mansa, this famous landmark in Sierra Leone offers many outdoor activities, including hiking and trekking, and the adjacent Loma Mountains Nature Forest Reserve is also well worth a visit. The mountain and the reserve are best navigated with a guide, who will not only show you the way but also keep you informed about the surrounding plant and animal species and the local history of the area.
Address: Loma Mountain Forest Reserve, Northern Sierra Leone.
9. Bastions of Fort Thornton
From 1792 to 1805, the fortifications of Smith’s Hill (now known as Tower Hill) were built. Inside this historic building were the Governor’s house, Government offices, such as the Post Office, and the barracks for the garrison. When this ancient building was being reconstructed to make way for the new State House (the present building), the Commission thought it necessary to have the bastions proclaimed a national Monument of Sierra Leone so as to incorporate them into the new building.
Address: Freetown, Sierra Leone
10. Sierra Leone National Museum
If you want to explore Sierra Leone’s history and culture until the modern-day, the country’s national museum gives you the opportunity. There are many interesting and informative exhibits, such as the collection of traditional medicine trinkets and early crockery and cutlery. Including different tribal clothing, musical instruments, and weapons there are also several cultural markers. One of the most informative sections of the museum details the events of the bloody and brutal civil war. For anyone interested in learning more about the country and its history, this is the perfect historical place in Sierra Leone to start.
Address: Siaka Stevens Street, Downtown Freetown
11. Old Fourah Bay College Building
This historical landmark in Sierra Leone is situated on Ross Road, Clinetown. It is a massive four-story structure, built of dressed stone blocks of laterite. Building operations started in 1845 and the building was completed in 1848. Sierra Leone’s first colored Governor, Staff Sergeant Major William Fergusson, laid the foundation stone. It housed the Christian Institution, which in 1876, developed into the first University College in Black Africa. It was in regular use till the second World War, when the college was transferred to Mabang in the then Protectorate. Proclaimed a National Monument the building was used as headquarters of the Sierra Leone Government Railway. At present, it is used as a Magistrate Court.
Address: Barham Road, Southern Central, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
12. Bunce Island
Having been one of the earliest slave ports in the West African region, Bunce Island is a very historically-significant landmark in Sierra Leone. The island was the perfect place for European slave merchants to trade slaves located just outside of Freetown on the Sierra Leone River. During the 1700s and 1800s, thousands of Africans are estimated to have left the country, via Bunce Island, for the life of slavery in North America and the West Indies. A recently restored castle provides great insight into the conditions the slaves were forced to endure. For anyone wanting to learn more about the slave trade, or Bunce Island, in particular, there is also a museum back in Freetown.
Address: Porto Loko, Sierra Leone River, Northern Province
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