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2024 – MASKS AND DIAMONDS, SIERRA LEONE & LIBERIA, 6 days: Freetown – Monrovia

2024 – MASKS AND DIAMONDS, SIERRA LEONE & LIBERIA, 6 days: Freetown – Monrovia

Days:
6
Tour Type:
Discovery
International group
Group size:
from 2 to 16 participants
PRICES per person:
- GROUP OF 6 OR MORE GUESTS: 2690 €
- Group of 4/5 guests: 3290 €
- Group of 2/3 guests: 4147 €
- Single room supplement: 374 €
GUIDE: English, French, Italian speaking
Deposit at the booking:

1.244,00

The deposit is intended as 30% of the total. For more information, you can view our information.

SIERRA LEONE & LIBERIA

This itinerary is part of  Grand Expedition from Marrakech to  Cotonou.
Be among the elite of international travellers that have discovered the les least visited countries in West Africa.
In Freetown and Monrovia the Kriol culture has expressed a unique architecture and symbols of power in the countries of the freed slaves.

DEPARTURE:

16 December 2024 (North-South itinerary);

PRICE FROM: 2690 €

Discount:
Dates Departure:
  • 16 December 2024 - 21 December 2024
Total: 1244

Special offer

Description

SIERRA LEONE & LIBERIA

EXPERIENCE. Our starting point will be Freetown a large and colorful town, capital of Sierra Leone the first British colony in Africa with the oldest university in this part of the continent. Discover Banana Island pristine paradise and the hidden diamond seekers. Witness the animistic ceremonies of women secret society and a rare female mask dance. The end of the journey will be Monrovia, the capital of the oldest independent republic in Africa, Liberia has never been a colony or a protectorate, already in 1847 was ruled by a black president, the Afro-American Roberts born in Virginia and part of the Kriol settlers, considered the founders of the nation. The Kriol culture has expressed a unique architecture and symbols of power in the country of the freed slaves.

CLIMATE. The departure dates have been chosen to enjoy the best climate. Late autumn (and spring) are the perfect seasons to travel through the Sahara; temperatures are mild and pleasant; nights are cool but not cold and the days are warm but not hot. Winter (and early spring) are the coolest times of the dry season in Sub-Saharan West Africa.

COMFORT is a must to fully enjoy a long travel experience off the beaten path.

Transports: modern, air-conditioned 4×4 vehicles will be the main means of transport on rugged routes, while on main roads, modern, comfortable air-conditioned minibuses will be used.

Overnights: in comfortable hotels, four stars (****) in the capitals. Recent hotels with air-conditioned rooms and private facilities in the rest of the itinerary. The accommodations have been chosen prioritizing comfort, quality of food, friendly service, typical architectural style, and scenic locations. In the remote areas of the Sahara, we will enjoy two nights at our mobile camp with large Bedouin tents, carpets, mattresses and chairs. In case of sand wind, a comfortable restaurant-tent will be set for dinner. A well-organized camp experience under the stars of the desert is a must for the “Sahara experience”.

SAFETY is our main concern. The expedition is based on our long experience of the area and is led by knowledgeable expedition leaders. The itinerary is safe, our local network constantly monitors it thanks to a permanent presence in the field providing updated information.

Day 1 (Dic. 16th, 2024): FREETOWN IN – Sierra Leone
Transfer from the airport to the hotel.

Day 2 (Dic. 17th, 2024): FREETOWN PENINSULA, A LONG HISTORY – Sierra Leone
Freetown origins: in 1786 the first 380 freed African slaves arrived in Sierra Leone from America where they have fought in the independence war on the side of the British. After having lost the war, the British sent them to Sierra Leone and created the first freed slave settlements. Few months after their arrival, the newcomers were starving, got new and unknown diseases and fought with the locals, who could hardly stand them. A few years after, during the Napoleonic war, Freetown was displaying the British flag and had been attacked by seven vessels of the French navy and destroyed. Few survivors escaped on the pirogues sent by… the slave’s traders. From 1807, due to the abolition of the slave trade by the British Empire, the ships of the slave’s traders caught by the British Navy freed the slaves in Sierra Leone.  In 1808 Freetown became the capital of the first British colony in tropical Africa. At that time the Krio peoples, or ex slaves, were more than 50,000, creating an elite who put pressure on the administration for better education. In 1845 “Fourah Bay” the first University in West Africa was built.  During Colonial time Freetown was known as the “Athens of West Africa”.
Afternoon drive along the coast at the slopes of the Freetown peninsula mountains, only the yellow of the beaches divide the green of the forest from the blue of the ocean. The country has been named after these mountains, the Sierra (mountains) of lion. A local boat will bring us to Banana Island.

Day 3 (Dic. 18th, 2024): BANANA ISLAND – Sierra Leone
Full day circumnavigating, exploring and walking to discover a pristine paradise such as mountains, primary forests, villages and remote tiny beaches. For the most active travellers a 2-hour hike in the forest or continue the circumnavigation of the island.

Day 4 (Dic. 19th, 2024): DIAMONDS – Sierra Leone
After lunch arrival in BO. Seeking for diamonds is as addictive as gambling, at least, the possibility of finding a “fortune” may become a reality, only for a lucky few. Diamonds have played an important role in the recent troubled history of the country. The quantity and quality of “stones” still to be find is important. We reach a village. After asking permission from the chief, some villagers take us to the site where we can meet diamond seekers. A local person will explain us the technics of artisanal mining and “sand washing”.

Day 5 (Dic. 20th, 2024): BUNDO: FEMALE MASKS – Sierra Leone – Liberia
A spectacular road through the forest will bring us to the Mano River and to the border with Liberia. In most parts of Africa, the masks are male’s prerogative, however among the Mende people and neighbouring populations the masks Bundo are a female’s domain, and they have a crucial role in girls puberty rites. In a tiny village we will experience the exit of these masks, an event that calls for the participation of a colourful crowd. Arrive in Monrovia in the evening.

Day 6 (Dic. 21st, 2024): “LIBERIA”: THE LAND OF FREEMEN – Liberia
Liberia is the only African country which has never been either a colony or a protectorate; Liberia was founded by Krio, freed slaves who came back to Africa from the USA and for this reason was named “Liberia”. Krio are 5% of the population and they are the main actors of the economy and politics, they are considered the creator of the Nation and of the modern economy. 80% of the population speaks the local Krio language, a sort of American-English “Pidgin”.
Our ocean-view hotel is the right starting point to have an interesting walking-visit of the town. Freemasonry had a great impact on the history of Liberia and Krio culture, visit of the Grand Masonic Temple imposing building, and if we’re lucky, meeting with the Grand Master. A symbol of Monrovia is what left of the Ducor Palace Hotel, inaugurated in 1960 was one of the first five stars in Africa. Located on a rocky hill in the highest point of Monrovia, dominate the whole town and the gulf. The hotel hosted social events and parties of the African elites at the effervescent time of independence. In the large swimming pool facing the ocean Idi Amin used to swim caring his gun at the belt while his friend Miriam Makeba was singing. After the civil war the building was looted several times, the hotel is now abandoned and closed, but seeking the right permission, we may be able to visit it. In 2008 the government made a deal with Ghaddafi to rebuild it, however the project, as many other Libyan development projects in Africa, never came to conclusion thanks to the regime change war that Europe and America started to overthrow Ghaddafi. The building of the National Museum is itself a display of Krio traditional architecture, within we discover a large collection of ancient masks and ritual objects. The visit includes a photographic show about the civil war which took place between 1989 and 2003. Old colonial buildings, stone Krio churches will be also part of this intriguing town visit.
Lunch with the group. Hotel in day-use until 6:00 p.m. and transfer to the airport.

EXPEDITION LEADERS: with long experience of leading off the beaten track in West Africa and the Sahara, and an excellent understanding of African culture and traditions

EXPLORATORY ITINERARY: This itinerary is an expedition; participants must be flexible and ready to enjoy the unique encounters, but also some unexpected situations that are part of the African Experience.

VISAS:
Liberia, single entry visa required.
Sierra Leone, visa available at the border (cost 80 USD) when entering the country by land. If you join in Freetown, arriving by flight, you need a pre-visa: https://evisa.sl/#/home

IMPORTANT NOTE ON VISAS: Please, after booking, contact us and we will send our advice and suggestions on how to obtain the E-Visas and when Invitation Letters are needed, also if not clearly requested. 

VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever – compulsory; malaria prophylaxis highly recommended. Cholera now not request, please check prior departure.

LUGGAGE: due to the exploratory itinerary, please to be contained in approximately 20 kg (45 Lbs.).

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Not included. Mandatory for medical assistance, repatriation, material and physical damages.

TRANSPORT: 4×4 vehicles and minibus. All vehicles are fitted for African conditions, have air-conditioning and each participant is granted with a window seat. Local boats to Banana Island.

MEALS: lunches: cold meals, picnics or at restaurants (pre-select menu). Dinners: at the hotel restaurants (pre-select menu). It is included one bottle of water each day during the visits.

NOTICE: The itinerary is designed to discover fascinating places, where often the visit of a foreigner remains an exceptional event. Participants need to be cooperative, tolerant and flexible to fully enjoy the expedition and appreciate the unique nature, as well as the spontaneous hospitality of the local populations, African magic and mystery, its metaphysics, ceremonies, life philosophies, beliefs that people are willing to share with us.

Itineraries, visits and overnight accommodations can be modified or adapted to local conditions or to force majeure. Only the organizers and the Tour Leader can decide on any changes. 

Included:

  • Transfer airport/ hotel and hotel/ airport at arrival and departure.
  • Transfers and itinerary in 4WD vehicles, minibus and boats.
  • Tours and visits as per the programme
  • The equivalent of a bottle of water a day during the visits.
  • Accommodation in standard rooms, as per itinerary
  • All meals, from breakfast of day 2 to breakfast of the last day of the expedition.
  • Entrance fees to parks, concessions, protected areas and cultural sites
  • First Aid box
  • All service charges and taxes

 

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Earlier (prior) and/or later (after last day) transfers from and to airport
  • Visa fees
  • Any meal or sightseeing other than those specified
  • Mineral water and drinks at restaurants and hotels.
  • Portage
  • Fees for personal photos and videos
  • Personal and holiday insurance (compulsory)
  • Tips for drivers, guides and hotel staff
  • Costs related to delayed program or lost luggage
  • Any item of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Whatever is not mentioned as included

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