Flights to Makeni
In central Sierra Leone, Makeni is one of the largest cities in the country and a main business and transport hub for the region. There are not a lot of modern facilities but most tourists should have no problem getting by while they are there.
The nearest airport for flights to Makeni is the Lungi International Airport (airport code: FNA) located in Freetown. It is 135km away but there are daily buses between Freetown and Makeni for the trip. To Freetown, you can fly with British Midland or Virgin Atlantic for a stop-over in London, but the better route is a flight to Makeni with South African Airways as their connection is in Dakar. With Kenya Airways, you will get a 2-stop flight that has transfers in Gaborone and Nairobi.
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The Tourist Attractions of Makeni:
English is spoken in many Makeni businesses but locals are more likely to speak either Krio or Temne.
Kangari Hills Forest Reserve
The main road heading south from Makeni will take you to the Kangari Hills Forest Reserve, and it is a forested park with hills, rivers and lots of different scenery. The park is intended as a forest reserve rather than a tourist park, so don’t expect much service or facilities. There are many trails, but they are used by local villages rather than maintained by staff. At any rate, you can go hiking to see chimpanzees and several other species of monkey as well as small forest elephants.
Mamunta Mayosso Wildlife Sanctuary
A little farther off the main road from Makeni, but still to the south is the Mamunta Mayosso Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s quite a bit smaller than the Kangari Hills Park and it doesn’t offer the same diversity in plant and animal life. But there are groups of rare dwarf crocodile here as well as hundreds of bird species flying among the trees.
Outamba Kilimi National Park
If you want to travel a little deeper into more remote Sierra Leone, try going north up to the Outamba Kilimi National Park. You’ll be on a smaller road for most of the trip, so you will want a sturdy vehicle (4×4 is a good idea). Between the jungle and grassland ecosystems you can find elephants, antelopes, hippos, colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and wart hogs. It’s a great park to tour if you want to see some relatively untouched wilderness that is not as busy as the other easily-accessible parks.
There aren’t really any typical attractions in Makeni but the local mosque has some unusual architecture and the marketplace is always good for a fun afternoon of browsing and haggling.
When Should You Visit?:
Makeni’s climate is hot all through the year, but the temperatures will drop during the rainy season if you don’t mind a little rain with the cooler days. That would be in July, August and September and it will hit daytime highs of 32C (90F). The hotter points of the year fall in April, and then it gets up to 41C (106F). Believe it or not, during the hot season it will cool off enough in the evenings to require a light jacket.