The Banana Islands
Underdeveloped and wonderful, the Banana Islands are a peaceful escape from the mainland of Sierra Leone. The island only has a couple of guesthouses, no roads, and some small secluded beaches. Unless you’re around on a weekend, you’ll likely feel as if you’ve got the island all to yourself, and the chances are you do. If you’re looking for excitement and adventure you might want to search elsewhere, but this may be Sierra Leone’s best bit of peaceful seclusion.
Time Needed: 2 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 40-50USD
Things to Do on Banana Islands
As I mentioned in the intro, there isn’t all too wide a variety of options on the islands in terms of activities. However, if you’re open to exploring a bit on your own on foot, you’ll have some fun.
- Hiking: A good, but long, hike is to get to the end of Banana Island and across the land bridge to the other island. It’s a couple hours each way, but you’ll find lonely beaches, and lots of nice rain forest along the way.
- Beaches: The beaches aren’t white sand, and you’ll honestly find yourself searching for calm bits of water to swim in, but there are plenty of spots of sand to layout on and relax. Try the beaches near Dalton’s Guesthouse.
- Fishing: It’s a bit expensive, but most guesthouses on the island can organize an afternoon or morning out on the water to do some fishing,
Where to Eat on the Banana Islands
For the most part, the only places to eat on the islands are at the guesthouses. There are a couple places that serve simple meals in the small town called Dublin. Don’t expect fancy spaces, but they do exist. While I stayed at Dalton’s guesthouse, the food there was amazing and I felt no need to go elsewhere.
Where to Stay on the Banana Islands
There are really only two options on the islands. Both are good and quite similar, but both have their advantages and disadvantages.
- Dalton’s Guesthouse: A brilliant spot right on the water and the rooms are very big and quite comfortable, but also quite basic. There is an awesome terrace overlooking the ocean.
- Banana Island Guesthouse: A little more comfortable than Dalton’s, and also more expensive, Banana Island Guesthouse tends to draw a high income clientel. It doesn’t have the nice beach or terrace that Dalton’s has, but the rooms are marginably better. Personally, I preferred Dalton’s.
While it’s possible to get from Kent to the islands by a public pirogue, there is a good chance you’ll be waiting around all day to get a ride, if you get one at all. I would advise you to just suck it up and call the guesthouse and having them send one for you. The price via Dalton’s was 100,000 (about $25) and covered you for the round trip. To get to Kent from Freetown, catch a poda-poda to Waterloo and then switch to either a private taxi or a shared taxi if you can find one. If you’re coming from the other beaches, such as No. 2 River, your best bet might be to just hire an okada for the trip, although a slow stream of public transport does ply that stretch of road.
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