Sierra Leone is famous for its beautiful beaches. The country has an 400-kilometer coastline, and much of it is lined with pale sands and lapping waves. Plus, there are several islands off the coastline offering more beautiful beaches and tropical experiences.
Here are the 11 best beaches in Sierra Leone West Africa.
11 Best Sierra Leone Beaches
Table of Contents
- 11 Best Sierra Leone Beaches
- 1. Lumley Beach
- 2. Levuma Beach
- 3. Lakka Beach
- 4. Bureh Beach
- 5. Tokeh Beach
- 6. No 2 River Beach
- 7. Kent Beach
- 8. Banana Island
- 9. Sussex Beach
- 10. Tasso Island
- 11. Turtle Island
- Best time to visit Sierra Leone
- Places to Stay to enjoy the beaches of Sierra Leone
- Banana Island
- Tokeh Beach
- How to Get to Sierra Leone and How to Get Around
1. Lumley Beach
Few visitors to Sierra Leone will miss seeing Lumley Beach. The west side of Freetown runs along this long golden beach. Considering it is a city beach, Lumley Beach is in pretty good condition. The sand is not immaculate, but it is relatively clean, as is the water.
As the afternoon wears on, visitors will see locals playing sports on the beach (especially on the weekend) and heading in and out of the water, suggesting the quality is fine.
Lumley Beach Road is lined with beach bars. Option one is to do a beach bar crawl up and down the five-kilometer beach road. But a better option is to head to Roy’s Beach Bar, get a table undercover near the sea, and sit and watch the sunset while enjoying a wine or beer.
The food at Roy’s is also great – loads of fresh seafood grilled. This is a comfortable, easy bar that is popular with both locals and tourists. I liked it so much I came here two evenings in a row.
2. Levuma Beach
Levuma Beach is also located in Freetown. It is one kilometer long and runs from Jaba to Funkia. The Walla Beach Bar is the place to go for a cocktail and sunset view.
3. Lakka Beach
The third Freetown beach in this article, and in my opinion, the best beach in Freetown. It is called the golden beach and once you see its pure golden sands, you will understand why. If you’re after a cocktail and a sunset, head to Buffa for a drink. If you want to stay the night, check out Lakka Beach Resort Hotel.
4. Bureh Beach
If you’re looking for a surf beach in Sierra Leone, this is the spot. The beach is beautiful – clean golden sands and beautiful clear water.
Bureh beach is busy but it doesn’t feel overly touristy. There is camping, shopping, yoga, massage, canoeing, and lots of ways to relax. Of all the beaches I visited in Sierra Leone, this one had the strongest community feel. And when the tide is low at Bureh Beach, it is possible to walk out to the Mangrove Forest.
NB: This is a surf beach, so riptides and currents can be strong. Do be careful.
Bureh Beach is a 1.5 hour drive south of Freetown.
5. Tokeh Beach
Before the Civil War, Tokeh Beach was the place to go in Sierra Leone. There was even a helicopter pad at Tokeh beach so visitors could fly there straight from the airport. It is easy to see why and I have to say this was the best beach in Sierra Leone.
Why? The sand is so white and squeaky clean. The water is super clean and clear – it almost doesn’t feel like seawater. It feels so clean. There is also an atmospheric old wooden pier and charming beach huts.
Tokeh beach is 18 miles south of central Freetown
NB: It is also quite easy to make a day trip to Banana Island from Tokeh Beach
6. No 2 River Beach
No 2 River Beach is aesthetically the most stunning beach in Sierra Leone. A Bounty Bar ad was once filmed here. The beach is called River No 2 because River no 2 flows into it.
The sand is a perfect white and squeaky clean. The sand swirls in and out of the turquoise sea and river and has the backdrop of Sierra Leone’s green mountains. All of this makes for a visually stunning scene.
River No 2 is also an excellent beach for swimming as there aren’t many rocks and the waves are pretty gentle near the shore.
The local community runs the Sankofa complex on the beach. There are loads of seats and beach umbrellas around, as well as restaurants, bars, and shopping. I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the complex.
River No 2 is popular with locals and tourists, so it can get quite busy. But it is quite a big beach, so the odds are you can find a private spot. Sunday is the busiest day.
It is a 30-minute walk along Tokeh Beach north to get to River No 2, or you can drive there from Freetown (it is a 10-minute drive south from Lakka beach). The fun bit about walking from Tokeh Beach to River No 2 beach is that you can catch the cute colorful boat across the river portion of the beach.
7. Kent Beach
Kent is a coastal fishing community 30 miles east of Freetown. It is also home to a large beach covered in golden sands and the ferry to nearby Banana Island. There are few facilities on the beach so it is best visited as a day trip from Freetown.
8. Banana Island
Lovely Banana Island is made up of three small islands (Dublin, Ricketts and Mes-Meheux), which are home to just 800 people. Dublin island is the largest and most developed of the three and home to the charming Bafa Resort (more about that in places to stay).
Beaches are dotted around Banana Island’s shores, framed by palm trees. The island is known for great snorkeling and diving. But the cute little golden beaches and there large blue-black rocks seem most suited to me to a hammock and a good book.
There are banana trees on Banana Island, many other fruit trees, and tropical flowers. However, the island was named Banana Island for its shape rather than the fruit.
Catch a boat from Kent Beach to Banana Island. It is a 30-minute journey. Or visit on a day trip from Freetown or Tokeh Beach.
9. Sussex Beach
Sussex beach is located between Lumley and Tokeh beaches on the Western peninsula. This beach has a river flowing into it, like Beach No 2 and a Mangrove forest.
Conditions at Sussex Beach are sometimes good for surfing. If not stand-up paddle board is an option.
Florence’s Italian Resort is the place to eat or stay at Sussex Beach. They are said to have a good Italian restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to eat there but the reviews are very positive.
10. Tasso Island
Tasso Island is located near Bunce Island, and the two are often combined on a day trip from Freetown. Head to the island, and its little beach for lunch, or stay the night in the rustic accommodation on the sand at Tasso resorts.
11. Turtle Island
Turtle island is made up of 8 micro islands off the western coast of Sherbro Island. Waters are clear and flat, and you may well see sea turtles and/or dolphins.
The downside of Turtle Island is that it is located four hours by speedboat from Freetown so it is quite a journey.
Best time to visit Sierra Leone
The best time to visit Sierra Leone is between November and April. Temperatures are warm and the skies are blue. I visited at the end of January and the weather was ideal for swimming and lying on the beach
Temperatures, when I visited, got up to the mid-30s Celsius at the height of the afternoon. As Sierra Leone isn’t that far from the equator, the temperature is quite consistent across the year. However, between March and May, the temperatures can rise to the high 30s.
Mid-May to the End of October is the rainy season, and many tourism businesses close up over that time.
Places to Stay to enjoy the beaches of Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is re-developing its tourism industry so they don’t yet have what I would usually consider being boutique hotels. But there are some charming and comfortable options that will allow you to get the most out of the country’s beautiful beaches.
Home Suites Hotel is probably the closest thing to a proper boutique hotel in Freetown. Located in the popular Aberdeen neighborhood, they offer a range of rooms from deluxe to golden suites. They have a pool and a good-sized cross fit gym and The Swan restaurant.
I visited Home Suites Hotel but alas they were fully booked so I couldn’t see a room. However, based on the lobby area and website I would recommend this as the best option for boutique hotel lovers in Freetown.
The Atlantic Lumley hotel has a great location on Freetown’s main beach road and most importantly, it is just a short walk from Roy’s. The rooms are large and clean and certainly more luxurious than some of the other hotels in Sierra Leone.
I wouldn’t call the design aesthetic boutique, but there are wooden floors, white walls, and good air conditioning. Bathrooms are large with a walk-in shower that has good water pressure.
This Freetown hotel has a courtyard-style setup with a restaurant in the middle. They make a pretty good pizza!
Whilst at Tokeh Beach Resort I met a Swedish couple who had stayed at two other hotels in Freetown that they recommended. The first was Mamba Point Hotel and the second was Toma Boutique Hotel, both located in the Aberdeen area.
Finally, the “safest” option for accommodation in Freetown is the Radisson Blu. It has a pool, gym and the quality of room you would expect from the Radisson eg Nespresso machines etc. But it is unlikely that you will feel much like you are actually in Sierra Leone.
Bafa Resort is one of the few places to stay on Banana Island and probably the nicest. This glamping resort is located on the beach. There is access to several small beach spots as well as a large central area for sitting and lounging or drinking.
The highlight of Bafa Resort is the funky beach bar, where they serve up some fantastic cocktails. The food was also outstanding. I enjoyed a delicious papaya salad as well as some more fantastic grilled fish.
The tents at Bafa Resort have a proper double mattress with sheets etc, inside as well as a fan. Power is only available in the evenings in the tent but let’s face it, you’re not going to be in there during the day. Showers and toilets are in a separate block.
Bafa Resort is rustic, so if that is your thing, it is a perfect place to escape the world. Otherwise, stay one night and enjoy waking up to the sea or take a day trip and have a delicious lunch at Bafa Resort.
Perfectly located on the beach, Tokeh Beach Resort has a range of accommodation options from basic wooden huts to standard rooms (Tokeh Sands) and villas (Tokeh Palms). There is a pool at Tokeh Palms which guests at Tokeh Sands can also use.
I stayed at Tokeh Sands in a standard room. The rooms are large and clean. Power is only available in the rooms from 730pm to 730am so you will need to time your shower (power includes hot water). But importantly you can run the air conditioning all night. To be honest this didn’t feel like that much of an issue as the central area of the hotel has wifi 24/7.
Wooden loungers are dotted along the beach and as you head to them a friendly staff member will grab you a light mattress and help you with an umbrella if needed. And they will also bring you drinks. I so enjoyed lying on the lounge reading my book and popping in and out of the crystal clear water.
Tokeh Beach Resort is also justifiably known for making outstanding cocktails – don’t miss the ginger mojito. They also put on a great meal. Like everywhere I ate in Sierra Leone, there is fantastic local grilled fish and seafood. But at Tokeh Sands they served up the largest lobster I have ever seen.
Known as the most luxurious accommodation option on the peninsula, The Place at Tokeh Beach also has a great location. It has chalets dotted along the beach and a restaurant just off the beach with a full bar. They also have a very nice large swimming pool sitting just near the beach.
How to Get to Sierra Leone and How to Get Around
Sierra Leone is an extremely mountainous country, so it wasn’t easy to find enough flat land to build an airport. The airport is located at Lungi. It is a 2 ½ to 3-hour drive from Freetown to Lungi airport. As a result, most people use the water taxi or public ferry, which takes about 30 minutes.
However, time is added to the journey as luggage needs to be checked in to the water taxi/ferry and then collected plus you need to get from your hotel to the ferry station etc. Plan on leaving your hotel in Freetown 5 ½ hours before your flight is due to leave.
Royal Air Maroc flies from London to Freetown via Casablanca. However, check your flight as some of them go from Casablanca to Freetown via Liberia, which adds a couple of hours. Brussels Airlines offers a direct flight from Belgium that takes just under seven hours.
The roads in Sierra Leone aren’t in great shape. I would NOT recommend hiring a car. The best option is to use a local operator and get a guide and a driver. I traveled with VSL and highly recommend them. Our guide was outstanding as was our driver. I felt completely safe and have no idea how our driver managed to get us to many places!
The Sierra Leone National Tourism Board covered the cost of my airfare and all on the ground costs for this trip including the use of VSL’s excellent services. But as always, my opinions are my own. Just so you know, this post may contain some affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.