Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Use Normal Level of Caution
Use High Level of Caution when visiting the following municipalities: Pujehun, Koinadugu, Kono, Kailahun, and Kenema

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in western Africa between Guinea and Liberia, with the west coast bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The population is approximately 5.7 million people.

The government of Sierra Leone is a constitutional democracy, and a president serves as both chief of state and head of government and elected by popular vote.

Sierra Leone is still recovering from a civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2001. The country is known for “blood diamonds” which were sold during the war to buy weapons. More than one-third of the population was displaced and tens of thousands of people died during the war. Much of the economy was destroyed. Recovery will depend upon outside assistance from foreign donors, the government's ability to limit official corruption, and the effectiveness of the government in managing natural resources. Poverty and unemployment remain major problems for the country.

Currency SLL: Leone
Language English
Capital Freetown
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert August 16, 2017 - Update on landslides in Sierra Leone

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Sierra Leone. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks have occurred in Sierra Leone.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Sierra Leone through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Sierra Leone.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Sierra Leone, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Malaria

All areas are at high risk for malaria.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of transmission of and exposure to yellow fever throughout Sierra Leone.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to Sierra Leone are at risk for tuberculosis, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, if visiting friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Cholera

Cholera outbreaks occur in Sierra Leone, usually following heavy rainfall and flooding when water sources become contaminated.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Zika Fever

Zika fever can occur in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Sierra Leone.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

The vaccination for yellow fever is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age and older. Sierra Leone requires all persons entering the country to have proof of the yellow fever vaccination.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

The U.K. NaTHNaC recommends the oral cholera vaccine for some travellers whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Sierra Leone.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Sierra Leone

Emergency Numbers

999

Some sources indicate that emergency response in Sierra Leone is limited to nonexistant. Travellers may want to record their Embassy's emergency telephone number.

Personal Safety

With respect to your personal safety, be cautious and always be aware of your surroundings in Sierra Leone. Most travellers have no trouble in this country. The security situation in Sierra Leone has improved since the end of the civil war, however, the crime rate remains high due to poor economic conditions.

Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing, is common in urban areas. Violent armed robberies and burglaries targeting expatriate and foreign officials’ homes also occur. Avoid showing signs of wealth and ensure that your personal belongings and travel documents are safe at all times. Avoid walking after dark and do not walk alone. Do not leave bags unattended.

Tourist facilities are limited and travellers should check the security at their accommodations before booking. Tourist facilities are rare in isolated areas and essential services may be unavailable outside the capital. Keep a supply of essential goods, like food and water, since shortages often occur. Telecommunications may also be unavailable at times.

There are strong currents at some beaches, and drownings have occurred. There are no lifeguards at beaches.

Avoid road travel outside the Freetown peninsula after dark.

Areas To Avoid

Due to armed conflicts between the military and militias and criminal activity, avoid areas bordering the countries of Liberia and Guinea.

Political Unrest

Demonstrations and public gatherings should be avoided as they can become violent.

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