Located in the Sierra Leone River, a few miles north of Freetown, Bunce Island was home to one of the most lucrative slave trading operations in West Africa. Between the late sixteenth century and 1807, when it was outlawed by the British government, hundreds of thousands of West Africans became victims of the slave trade. From Bunce Island, the furthest point upriver that was accessible to commercial ships, slaves were sold to colonies in the West Indies and North America. The rice-growing skills of Africans from the west coast commanded high prices from rice plantation owners in North America. In recent years, studies have revealed clear connections between the linguistic traits and cultural traditions of the Gullah people in the U.S. states of Georgia and South Carolina and the people of Sierra Leone.
As was also the case at other sites in West Africa, European companies erected a fortified trading post with ancillary buildings, referred to as a slave castle, on the uninhabited Bunce Island. The structures that remain, including bastions, walls of the merchants’ quarters, the gunpowder magazine, and the gate to the slave house, were constructed of local stones and imported brick. Although the isolation of the island has helped prevent much human destruction, the severe local climate has resulted in ongoing degradation from the elements. Uncontrolled growth of vegetation in and around the ruins and coastal erosion threaten the preservation of the site. Additionally, conflict and a weak economy that is still recovering from the effects of the 2014 Ebola epidemic have hampered many plans for the preservation of Bunce Island. https://www.wmf.org/project/bunce-island
Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary situated outside of picturesque Regent Village is only 30 minutes from Freetown. Located along the Regent/Bathurst mountain road, this sanctuary for orphaned and habituated chimpanzees is a refuge for human visitors as well. Offering daily scheduled visits, as well as 6 eco-huts for overnight stays, Tacugama is the perfect place for those wishing to escape the heat and hustle of Freetown and enjoy fragrant forest breezes in the company of some extraordinary creatures. The Sanctuary now offers self-catering accommodation in the form of 6 beautifully crafted lodges.
Established to rescue orphaned and captured chimps, the facilities expanded to encompass two large reserves. Tacugama has been featured in various wildlife programmes and magazines. A rescued albino chimp at the sanctuary also helped to bring it to international attention. Sadly, the albino chimp is no longer alive but the sanctuary continues to grow from strength to strength.
These endangered animals share 98.6 per cent of their DNA with humans and their complex social behaviours and human-like tendencies are fascinating to behold. The story behind Tacugama is just as riveting. Established in 1995, this sanctuary, which covers 100 acres of rain-forest and watershed, is home to 90 chimpanzees that have been victimized by the illegal hunting, capturing, and selling of their species. During the conflict, Tacugama staff smuggled food to the chimpanzees and pleaded with the rebels to spare their lives. Don’t miss the extraordinary experience of viewing these intelligent beings up-close in their natural habitat. https://www.visitsierraleone.org/tacugama-chimpanzee-sanctuary/
It is interesting to tour around the restored engines and cars of the amazing National Railway Museum. You don’t have to be a rail lover to catch the fun of Clinetown museums, where there is a great collection of restored locomotives, including one for the Queen of England in year 1961. http://afrotourism.com/attraction/national-railway-museum/