Interesting facts about Sierra Leone

sierra leone flag

Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa.

The official name of the country is the Republic of Sierra Leone.

It is bordered by Guinea to the north-east, Liberia to the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west.

The official language is English.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Sierra Leone was estimated to be 6,670,368 people.

It is the 117th largest country in the world in terms of land area with 71,740 square kilometers (27,700 square miles).

Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone. It is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean and is located in the Western Area of the country. Freetown is Sierra Leone’s major urban, economic, financial, cultural, educational and political centre.


Sierra Leone’s terrain consists of coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, and mountains in east.

Mount Bintumani also known as Loma Mansa is the highest peak in Sierra Leone and the Loma Mountains, at 1,945 meters (6,381 feet) above sea level.

mount bintumani

Sierra Leone has 402 kilometers (250 miles) of coastline with many beautiful beaches.

Some 16 kilometers (10 miles) out of Freetown’s dust and noise is a piece of unexpected paradise. Its gleaming white sands may not be as famous as Copacabana or Bondi, but when it comes to marketing itself as a tropical paradise, River Number Two Beach has a unique claim to fame. In the 1980s, before the country’s lapse into a decade-long civil war, it was the unlikely backdrop to the Bounty bar adverts, in which a pair of bikini-clad women gambolled among the palms enjoying the “taste of Paradise.”

river number two beach

The network of protected areas in Ethiopia covers about 9% of the national territory. It is made up of 8 national parks, plus other types of protected areas.

Outamba-Kilimi National Park is located in northwest Sierra Leone. The park occupies an area of 1,109 square kilometers (428 square miles). The area became a game reserve in 1974, and was formally gazetted as a National Park in October 1995. The park is named after its highest peak in one part, Mount Outamba, and its longest river in the other, River Kilimi. Its primate population, especially the chimpanzee population, is exceptional, and it has considerable potential for education and ecotourism development. There are also hippopotamuses and pygmy hippos, elephants, common warthogs, rare bongo antelopes and over a hundred species of birds.

outamba-kilimi national park

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary was established in 1995 to enforce the law and rehabilitate confiscated, orphaned and abandoned chimpanzees with the aim to release back them into their natural habitat. Although it is illegal to hunt, capture, kill trade or own chimpanzees in Sierra Leone, sadly such practices still continue. The sanctuary now cares for about 75 chimpanzees in several forested enclosures. Tacugama is located close to Freetown.

tacugama chimpanzee sanctuary

The Cotton Tree is a Ceiba pentandra, a historic symbol of Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. According to legend, the “Cotton Tree” gained importance in 1792 when a group of former African American slaves, who had gained their freedom by fighting for the British during the American War of Independence, settled the site of modern Freetown. According to tradition, they landed on the shoreline and walked up to a giant tree just above the bay and held a thanksgiving service there, gathering around the tree in a large group and praying and singing hymns to thank God for their deliverance to a free land. Its exact age is unknown, but it is known to have existed in 1787.

cotton tree

The country’s national museum chronicles Sierra Leone’s history and culture up until the modern day. There are many interesting and informative exhibits, such as the collection of traditional medicine trinkets and early crockery and cutlery. There are also several cultural markers, including different tribal clothing, musical instruments, and weapons. One of the most informative sections of the museum details the events of the bloody and brutal civil war.

sierra leone national museum

The history of Sierra Leone began when the land became inhabited by indigenous African peoples at least 2,500 years ago.

The dense tropical rainforest partially isolated the region from other West African cultures, and it became a refuge for peoples escaping violence and jihads.

European contact began in 1462 with the Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra, who gave the mountainous Peninsula the name Sierra Leone (“Lion Mountains”).

From the 16th to the early 19th century, the region was raided for slaves for the Atlantic trade, and later in the 19th century, it was ravaged by African war leaders and slavers.

The colony of Sierra Leone was founded by British philanthropists to relieve the horrors of this slave trade.

After 1807, when the British Parliament passed an act making the slave trade illegal, the new colony was used as a base from which the act could be enforced.

Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961 led by Sir Milton Margai.


From 1991 to 2002, the Sierra Leone civil war was fought and devastated the country.

Sierra Leone has experienced substantial economic growth in recent years, although the ruinous effects of the civil war continue to be felt.

Rich in minerals, Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. The country is among the top ten diamond producing nations. Mineral exports remain the main currency earner.

Two-thirds of the population of Sierra Leone are directly involved in subsistence agriculture.

Sierra Leone is a Muslim majority country, with the overall Muslim population at 78% of the population, though there is an influential Christian minority at about 21℅ of the population.

Rice is the staple food of Sierra Leone and is consumed at virtually every meal daily.

Stews are a fundamental part of Sierra Leone’s cuisine, with groundnut stew having been called the country’s national dish

Football is by far the most popular sport in Sierra Leone.