Tourism is growing year after year, but Sierra Leone remains very much an emerging travel destination. For this reason, it’s very important for us to promote sustainable tourism, to protect our environment and wildlife, and to empower local communities. Today we’d love to share with you some sustainable travel tips to take on board for your next trip to Sierra Leone – but most of these can also be applied to other destinations around the world.
4 Tips for Sustainable Travel to Sierra Leone
1. Support Local Communities
One of the pillars of sustainable travel in Sierra Leone (and anywhere else, really) is actively engaging with the local communities you visit. Support local artisans, shop at markets, and prioritize local businesses to ensure that your tourism dollars have a positive impact on the people who call Sierra Leone home.
If you can, consider staying in locally-owned accommodations, such as guesthouses or eco-friendly lodges, where your stay directly benefits the community. Also, participate in community-based tourism initiatives that empower local residents – the Tiwai Heritage Trail visiting 8 communities around Tiwai Island is a great example of this.
2. Reduce Plastic
One of the main tenets of sustainable travel is minimizing one’s environmental footprint. A great way to do so is reducing plastic waste – even though tap water is unfortunately not drinkable in most of the country, a reusable water bottle and portable water purifier will help you minimize the need for single-use plastic bottles. When exploring Sierra Leone’s stunning beaches and national parks, don’t forget to be mindful of waste disposal. Take a bag with you to collect your own trash, as well as any other trash you might find along the way. It’s a great way to help make Sierra Leone even more beautiful!
3. Eat Local Food
One of the joys of travel is savouring local cuisine, and Sierra Leone offers a great variety of local dishes and drinks to try. Eating local food is a great sustainable habit – you’ll keep your food miles low, prioritize seasonable ingredients, and support local people, especially women who are often employed in hospitality or run their own food businesses.
4. Travel Overland
Choosing shared overland transport options may be a little uncomfortable at times, but it’s a more sustainable way to explore Sierra Leone. If you have time, you can opt for public transportation, like shared taxis, or local buses. Not only does this minimize your carbon footprint, but it also provides an opportunity to interact with locals. We also recommend planning hiking or cycling trips as a way to explore Sierra Leone. Consider hiring local guides to do so, as a way to support locals living in remote areas.