Sierra Leone islands

Bunce Island

Deep in the recesses of Tagrin Bay, just a short ferry ride from the jetties of the capital at Freetown, the rock that is Bunce Island offers a glimpse into the darker days of West African history.

Just one of 40 individual citadels that were raised by the Europeans along the shoreline of the region during the heyday of the slave trade, the spot is known to have been one of the primary points where British vessels laden with captured people departed for the colonies of South Carolina and Georgia across the Atlantic.

Today, visitors can come and see the preserved castile, and learn all about this sobering episode of Sierra Leone’s past.

Banana Island

Languishing off the coast of the Western Area, south from the capital at Freetown, the finger of land that forms Banana Island has all the shimmering, alabaster-hued beaches and lush rainforest you’d expect of a place so deep in the tropics.

In fact, that cocktail of beautiful natural draws has made this one arguably the most popular weekend getaway from the big city, and there are now some good guesthouses in hotels in the fishing settlements of Dublin and Ricketts as a result.

You can also head inland, and seek out the vine-clambered ruins of old colonial depots and slave processing centers.

Tiwai Island

Engulfed by the weaving, winding capillaries of the Moa River as the main channel splits in two in the heart of Sierra Leon’s Southern Province, Tiwai Island remains one of the most famous conservation spots in the country.

A rare draw away from the coast, the riparian land is home to some of the last remaining virgin rainforest in Sierra Leone.

And the wildlife is equally as totemic, with Diana monkeys and pygmy hippos, tool-using chimpanzees (a truly awesome feat) and curious pangolins all making the reserve their home.