Makeni Travel Guide

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Local blacksmith - Kamabai

Local blacksmith - Kamabai


Makeni is a city located in Bombali District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. It is the largest city in the Northern Province and the fifth largest in Sierra Leone, and has an estimated population of 115,800 residents (2004 census). The city is also the capital and administrative center of Bombali District and the Northern Province. It is known for its market and was known for its mosque, which, during the Sierra Leone Civil War, became a base for the RUF. It is the hometown of Sierra Leone’s current president, Ernest Bai Koroma, as well as international lawyer and politician, Edward Turay, and football star Brima Koroma, striker for Kalmar FF in the Swedish Premier League. Speaking of sport, Makeni is home to one of Sierra Leone’s oldest Premier League clubs, the Wusum Stars. The club won the Sierra Leonean FA Cup in 1979.

There is only one road to Makeni, and that's the improved metal road from Freetown.

One of the most rewarding culinary experiences in Sierra Leone is the famous "Rat-on-a-Stick." While it's not really rat (usually beef or chicken), it does have a rather dubious appearance. You will find roadside grills in all of the small villages.

It just so happens that a new hotel is being built in Makeni. Called the Apex, it should be open for business by January 2008 when British film crews are expected to arrive to start principle photography for an upcoming movie about child soldiers.

Apex Hotel (
MJ Hotel (
Hotel Name (Address; Telephone; Room rate)

If you’re lucky, you can catch a football game at Wusum Field.

You should definitely visit the staff of the Swiss Hospital. These friendly Europeans hail from France, Holland, Germany, and of course Switzerland. Ask them out for a drink and you’ll make friends for life. And be sure to take a tour of their hospital and see all they’re doing for malnourished children.

Makeni is also home to one of Sierra Leone’s army brigades. You will most likely see soldiers in camouflage walking the streets. They are a modern, professional military and are there to protect the citizens of Sierra Leone from possible aggressors. Take a moment to talk to a soldier and you’ll learn a little something different about life in Salone. You might also see some of the international military advisors in Makeni. Take a moment to say hello to them as well.

Getting away from the "scene" in Freetown, Makeni is a nice respite from the hellish and often vulgar nightlife of Paddy's and the Sports Bar. The Apex Hotel bar is open for business. Be sure to arrive after eight when the generator is on--and stay until at least midnight to see the place get busy. The MJ Hotel is another great spot. Sit outside in a thatched-roof bar and enjoy the cozy, authentic scene.

Enjoy your trip!


August 07, 2005 change by giorgio

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