How to get there?
Part of the Turtle Islands’ appeal lies in their remote location. The easiest way to reach the archipelago is by speedboat from Freetown or the Banana Islands – the trip takes approximately 3 hours each way, depending on the tides and sea conditions. There are also boats departing from Bonthe/Sherbro Island, but it’s better to arrange your trip with a local operator ahead of time.
About the Island
The Turtle Islands are a remote archipelago made up of eight islands, located in the Atlantic just west of Bonthe/Sherbro Island. The eight islands are Baki, Bumpetuk, Chepo, Hoong, Mut, Nyangei, Sei and Yele – Chepo, Baki and Nyangei are inhabited by fishermen communities, and Hoong is off-
limits to everyone except initiated men. These low-lying sandy islands have calm, pristine aqua and turquoise waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling, as well as beaches lined by palms and mangroves, perfect to explore and wander around independently. Tourists usually stay in Baki, a
short distance from a local village – it’s possible to visit the community and learn about their way of life.
Things to do
The Turtle Islands are the ideal place to take a holiday from your holiday, enjoying the feeling of truly being in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nature, in a place where life has virtually gone by unchanged for centuries. The islands are the place in Sierra Leone to enjoy ‘island life’, spending your days swimming in the calm bays and basking in the sunshine, forgetting about the outside world. It is possible to visit Sei for day trips that usually include lunch and time for swimming and exploring, and sport fishing excursions are also organized. Another popular activity are village tours, meeting people from the local community to learn about their way of life.
Places to Eat / Stay
Day trips to the Turtle Islands are on offer from both Freetown and the Banana Islands, but to truly appreciate the spirit of the islands you’ll have to spend the night. There’s a rustic guesthouse in Baki, with two rooms and simple bucket showers, or alternatively it’s possible to pitch tents on the beach. Tour operators provide camping equipment and take care of all logistics, including asking the village chief permission to stay upon arrival. Meals are usually cooked by village women – expect traditional Sierra Leonean fare, like rice with fish-based stews and plantain fritters.