Once a major trading post for the transatlantic slave trade, Bunce Island lies some 30km up the Sierra Leone River from the ocean. Men, women and children who were kidnapped in the interior were brought to the fort to be traded. Until the British outlawed the industry in 1808, some 30,000 passed through the island and onto slave ships bound for the Americas, many to Georgia and South Carolina. Among those who have been traced back to here are the Gullah families of South Carolina.
Bunce Island is on a tentative list for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but unlike similar sites in Ghana and Senegal, it sees few visitors, mostly because it's costly and difficult to get to. Its isolation, coupled with the fact that it has never been used for any other purpose – essentially abandoned since the 1800s – makes a visit here feel even more haunting.