Sierra Leone: beautiful white-sand beaches, turquoise winding rivers, towering mountain ranges, and a bustling port … what more could there be?
There are actually a handful of unique destinations and special places of interest in the West African country of Sierra Leone, many of which are unknown to some travelers. And some of these places gave a unique identity to each of krio’s products.
In this post, we’ll introduce some of the most famed, beautiful, and unique places of interest in Sierra Leone, and why they fit for the name of our products.
From the green hills of the Western Area Peninsula to the horseshoe bay of Freetown, the capital is a unique destination of Sierra Leone.
The city is home to one of the largest natural deep-water harbors in the world as well as an ecologically diverse conservation and chimpanzee sanctuary, Tacugama.
Right outside of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, is a diverse conservation organization and chimpanzee sanctuary in the Western Area Peninsula National Park.
Tacugama was founded in 1955 by conservationist Bala Amarasekaran and his wife Sharmila and was originally established to enforce wildlife laws and rescue and rehabilitate chimpanzees, and since then has grown into a diverse conservation organization.
There are close to 100 chimpanzees at the sanctuary that are cared for, in addition to onsite work, Tacugama’s offsite efforts include community outreach, wildlife field research, conservation education, environmental sustainability, and alternative livelihood programs.
Aside from all of these initiatives, Tacugama is an eco-tourism hub for Freetown and is home to 6 eco-lodges and activities for tourists and locals alike.
Tacugama is leading West Africa in its focus on environmental sustainability and conservation education, while creating Sierra Leone’s first eco-tourism circuit.
For the scent of our body oil, we wanted to bring a warm aroma with citrus notes and a touch of earthiness from frankincense oil, reminding us of the diversification of the area, the warmness in its kind efforts, and the earthiness in habitat preservation.
Lush white sand beaches meet towering mountain ranges and turquoise hued waters. Surrounded by mangrove forests, River No. 2 carves its way from the rolling hills into the sea on the Western Area Peninsula of Sierra Leone.
Just an hour outside of Freetown and residing next to Tokeh Beach, River No. 2 is a celebrated destination for both tourists and Sierra Leoneans.
Not only is it a wondrous attraction, it hosts a community-run tourism organization, the Community Tourism Development Association. The CTDA was founded over 20 years ago to protect the beachfront, develop the tourism industry, and support the local community.
The beach has 14 beach bungalows, fully-equipped with solar power. Activities range from guided forest walks, surfing, fishing trips, boat rides to nearby islands, Banana and Turtle Islands, to boutique shopping and even a traditional dance performance from Baw-Baw dancers.
This snapshot of paradise and natural beauty inspired the identity behind our dynamic and nourishing facial oil.
Standing at 6,381 feet, Mount Bintumani, also known as Loma Mansa, is the highest peak in Sierra Leone, and the highest peak between Morocco and Cameroon.
Lying in the Loma Mountains, it’s lower slopes are covered with rainforest and a wide diversity of animals, including pygmy hippopotamuses, dwarf crocodiles, rufous fishing-owls and numerous primates.
To access Mount Bintumani, a bus must be taken to Kabala, and then a three hour motorbike ride to Sinekoro village, an incredible off-road adventure experience.
Hiking from Sinekoro village to the peak and back is roughly 18 miles, starting at 1,312 feet above sea level and hiking to 6,381 feet.
Some parts are very steep and challenging, so most allow two full days to complete the hike, spending nights at camp 1 and camp 2. Guides are available and recommended, charging on a nightly basis.
A few homes in Sinekoro village sell edible items to hikers and campers, including rice, bread and spices. A hiker may even be lucky enough to get a hot meal from a local, with a generous donation expected. The generosity of Sierra Leoneans is incredible.
Being the highest peak in Sierra Leone, the mountain is a challenge even for the most experienced hiker, but it boasts the most diverse ecosystem in the country.
We naturally chose a sage patchouli scent which provides a light earthy note that reminds us of the natural and powerful landscape of Mount Bintumani.
In the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone lies the Kono District. Its capital and largest city is Koidu Town, with Motema falling second. Other major towns include Yengema, Tombodu, Jaiama Nimikor, and Sewafe.
What’s so special about the Kono District? For starters, it's the largest diamond producer in Sierra Leone. It also is one of the most ethnically diverse Districts in Sierra Leone and is home to many ethnic groups, with no group forming a majority.
Kono District is divided into fourteen chiefdoms and is religiously diverse among Muslims and Christians, though Muslims make up the majority of the population in the District.
Before the Sierra Leone civil war, the District had over 600,000 citizens, however, many residents were forced out during the war due to looting and violence due to the rich amounts of diamond reserves in the area.
Aside from diamonds, Kono District also provides gold mining, rice, coffee, and cacao. The district is also home to Sierra Leone’s oldest, biggest, and most popular football club, the Diamond Stars of Kono.
Just a short ferry ride from Freetown and deep in Tagrin Bay, Bunce Island offers more than just turquoise waters and rocky shores.
One of the 40 individual citadels raised by Europeans along the shoreline of the region during the slave trade, the island was one of the primary points where British vessels with enslaved peoples departed for colonies in South Carolina and Georgia.
Visitors today can witness the preserved castile and learn more about Sierra Leone’s sobering past in the slave trade.
Gola Forest Reserve
In the Upper Guinean Tropical Rainforest, the Gola Reserve is popular amongst resident chimpanzees (roughly 300 individuals in the reserve) and other biodiversity: old-growth woodland, colorful butterflies, forest elephants, pygmy hippos, and more.
One of the most famous conservation spots in the country, Tiwai Island is engulfed by the winding capillaries of the Moa River as it splits in two in Sierra Leone’s Southern Province.
A decent distance from the coast, the land is home to some of the last remaining virgin rainforests in the country. It is also home to Diana monkeys, pygmy hippos, tool-using chimpanzees, and many pangolins.
Also in the Southern Province, Bo Town (officially just “Bo”), thrives off diamond prospecting and mining. That isn’t all, however, Bo Town is also home to Njala University, Sierra Leone’s largest university.
This bustling, mercantile and industrial city is home to the local Wusum Stars football team and a new clock tower in the works.
Kambui Hills Forest Reserve
Located on the edge of backwater town, Kenema, the Kambui Hills Forest Reserve is home to rare birdlife, from the white-necked rockfowl to the green-tailed bristlebill.
On ground level, you can see duikers and forest elephants roam through the land.
Sierra Leone is home to many beautiful, natural sites and diverse districts. These include, but are certainly not limited to, Freetown, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, River No. 2 Beach, Mount Bintumani, Kono District, Bunce Island, Gola Forest Reserve, Tiwai Island, Bo Town, Makeni, and Kambui Hills Forest Reserve.
These incredible natural wonders and bustling cities of Sierra Leone are the inspiration behind our brand, krio, and the use of natural resources and ingredients that are popular in use in West Africa.
It only made sense to name our products based off of these incredible places and use their aspects and characteristics as inspiration for the aroma of each individual oil.
You can view all of our products and their story here.