Emerging from the pandemic with the backing of the World Bank to help promote the West African nation’s rich tourism potential—with diverse wildlife, world-class surfing waves, the vibey coastal capital of Freetown, and a brand new airport—all odds are on Sierra Leone to explode on the adventure travel scene. The time to go is now.

These were the exact words etched on the intro of Time Magazine’s Places to Visit in 2023. Freetown Peninsula was listed among destinations tourists should give a go this year.

The Freetown peninsula hosts the capital of Sierra Leone and several old “Krio” villages and new settlements. It is a tropical rainforest located in the West of Sierra Leone.

It is irrefutable to presume that Freetown Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world. Its discovery in 1462 by Portuguese sailor Pedro da Cintra was because of its beauty and wild climate.

In fact, popular Ghanaian YouTuber Wode Maya and his Kenyan fiancée at the time, Miss Trudy believe that the beaches along the peninsula are the most beautiful they have seen.

Maya popularly said that the natural beauty of the peninsula resonates with the country’s Green, White and Blue flag. He said this when visiting No. 2 River and reflecting on the blue ocean, the white beach and lush green forest of the mountains ahead.

These pair have been to several countries before landing in the tiny West African nation.

Sierra Leone was the place to be in West Africa before Senegal and The Gambia. Several French, English, American and other European tourists visited the coastal capital to enjoy its white beaches and lush forested mountains.

However, these potentials were swept away in the 90s when the country went into a civil war that ended in 2002. Over 50,000 people were killed and its infrastructure was left in the doldrums.

The country slowly upped to its feet as democracy was restored although development infrastructure wise was at a snail pace.

The country in its second decade after the war saw infrastructure project -construction of roads principally started. Tourism was on the rise again. This was short lived in 2013-14 when Ebola struck the West African sub region. Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were hardest hit. All flights stopped flying into the country save Brussels and other cargo planes which brought in medical supplies and practitioners to help solve the spread of the disease.

The epidemic was declared officially over in 2016 WHO officially declared that Ebola has ended in the three West African nation after killing 11,310 people.

In the same 2016, an estimated 60,000 tourists visited Sierra Leone; contributing about 1.1 percent to the country’s GDP.

In 2018, the number of visitors was peaked at 66,000 contributing just under 1 percent of the country’s GDP.

In 2019, a remarkable 71,000 tourists visited the nation. Although these figures were encouraging. They were no near The Gambia which received over 300,000 tourists that same year.

The 2019 data is believed to rise this year especially with the recommendations made by Time and other tourist websites and travel guides. For example, roughguides.com believes that the West African nation has everything adventurous travellers could want – exquisite, empty beaches fringed by palms, rainforest jungles with monkeys swinging through the trees, a fascinating heritage and warm, welcoming people.

That is, most tourists have the option to enjoy the beauty of the wind beaches along the coast or a visit up mountain to view chimpanzees, birds and valleys.

Although there are visible forecasts for growth, experts warn that the nation needs to improve hospitality and ease visa application procedures in order to match other destinations in the region.