Getting there & away
The main border crossing is at Pamelap. Bush taxis run between Freetown and Conakry, Guinea (Le30, 000, seven hours), frequently and there is an SLRTC bus (Le40, 000, seven hours) on Monday and Thursday. You can also get to the border from most large towns and easily continue to Conakry from there. The road is not yet paved north of the Makeni Hwy, but it should be completed soon. The trip usually takes about eight hours.
From Kamakwie to Kindia, Guinea, there is little transport on the Sierra Leone side, where the road is quite bad, and during the rainy season the Little Scarcies River sometimes runs so high the ferry shuts down. But once you get to Medina-Oula in Guinea moving on is easy. The road from Kabala to Faranah, Guinea, is also in bad shape and only has taxis a couple of times a week.
Get local advice before crossing from Kailahun on toward Guéckédou. Not only are the roads bad, but we’ve heard reports of hassles with Sierra Leone border officials. You’ll need your own wheels to cross at Koindu as there is little traffic going this way. Both routes involve ferry crossings.
The main route between Freetown and Monrovia is via Kenema, Zimmi then Bo (Waterside). The journey takes two days in the dry season and no taxis go direct from Freetown to the border (where you need to change), so you first need to go to Kenema. It is a little quicker via Bo (if the ferry over the Moa River is working), but few taxis go this way. If you reach the border after it has closed there are some grubby guesthouses and plenty of cookery in the border town of Jendema.
The seldom-used crossings from Zimmi, Koindu and Buedu are also via horrible roads and have very little traffic. Check the security situation before using any of these crossings.
You’ll need a certificate of vaccination for yellow fever and cholera to enter Sierra Leone, though in practice they only check for yellow fever.
Lungi International Airport is efficient, though inconveniently located across the Sierra Leone River from Freetown. Return flights from London cost about £500 and often arrive/depart Freetown at ridiculous hours. SN Brussels charges a bit more for better service on flights from Brussels.
Airlines flying to and from Sierra Leone:
Astraeus (5W; 228405; www.flyastraeus.com; 24 Rawdon St) Hub: Gatwick Airport, London.
Bellview Airlines (B3; 227311; www.flybellviewair.com; 31 Lightfoot Boston St) Hub: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.