Sierra Leone Beach Conservation
Bureh town, one of the locations for the Beach communities programme
Proud members of the SYDO (Sussex Youth Development Organisation) initiative standing infront of the new community bakery
Tree planting on World Environment Day at Sussex Primary School
The Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) worked in conjunction with the community of Sussex to establish the Sussex Youth Development Organisation which created a village bakery as a micro-enterprise initiative to benefit the community
The builders of the oven at the new bakery in Sussex
Teachers and children at Sussex Primary School planting trees on World Environment Day June 2009
The Conservation Education Centre at Sussex, which acts as the tree nursery for all conservation projects in Sierra Leone
The beautiful rainforest of the Western Peninsula
Beach No.2 at Sussex, not a bad place to relax after a hard day's graft volunteering
Pa Conteh, chief gardener at the Education Centre
The tree nursery at the EFA environmental education centre. EFA works with the local community, educating them on subjects such as effects of deforestation of the western peninsula, sustainability, conservation and hunting.
Lakka beach, your base whilst volunteering on the Beach Communities programme
View from Volunteer accommodation at Lakka, Sierra Leone.
This programme is based exclusively on the Western Peninsula of Sierra Leone, within an hour’s drive of the capital Freetown.
You will not be disappointed with your gorgeous surroundings – beautifully forested mountains that meet a stunning coastline of golden hued beaches and mangroves.
As the title suggests you will spend your time amongst some of the beach communities on the Western Peninsula, helping them to restore to their former glory parts of the finest coastline you will ever have the opportunity to see, let alone enjoy!
Responsible volunteering what you can do:
- Tree planting at local communities along the coast
- Caring for seedlings at Education centre in Sussex
- Litter picking on beaches with local communities members
- Construction of bins and signs to instruct visitors
- Restoration of settler graves and buildings
Prices start from £1150 for two weeks (which includes a £100 donation to help purchase the required materials and tools to realise the project)
For our volunteers Learn to speak and read some local Krio dialect Gain empathy and understanding of other cultures Acquire valuable life skills such as a sense of independence and self-empowerment Huge sense of achievement Highly desirable enrichment of CV/ Personal Statement Satisfaction of having had a major impact on the development of the communities of the Western Peninsula Learn to work as part of a team Learn about sustainable practices that benefit the rainforest and its communities Experience social entrepreneurialism
For our volunteers
Learn to speak and read some local Krio dialect
Gain empathy and understanding of other cultures
Acquire valuable life skills such as a sense of independence and self-empowerment
Huge sense of achievement
Highly desirable enrichment of CV/ Personal Statement
Satisfaction of having had a major impact on the development of the communities of the Western Peninsula
Learn to work as part of a team
Learn about sustainable practices that benefit the rainforest and its communities
Experience social entrepreneurialism
Arrive into Lungi International airport and transfer to twin share B&B accommodation nearby. Welcome dinner and introduction to programme. (Volunteer arrivals suggest being before 1900)
Breakfast followed by city-sightseeing tour of Freetown highlights with local guide, lunch and transfer to twin accommodation at Lakka. Free afternoon to explore the beach. Introduction to project and duties.
Day 3 - 12 (excluding weekends)
PROJECT DAYS - 0730 to 1600, working alongside local EFA staff helping at tree nursery, tree planting with local communities to help reverse deforestation, tidying & restoring early settler burial sites, construction of bins and sign painting.
N.B: Changes to activities will occur subject to project requirements and weather. You will be kept informed of these as far in advance as possible.
See your surroundings as never before - by traditional fishing boat. Cruise down the coast to one of Sierra Leone's most stunning yet most inaccessible beaches. Enjoy a sumptuous beach BBQ as you laze on the beach, explore, swim & relax. Evening pack up and prepare to leave.
Breakfast & private transfer to Lungi International airport for departure flight.
Do I require a visa for entry into Sierra Leone?
Yes you do, and you will need to apply for this at least one month in advance of your departure date, and it will involve leaving your passport with the embassy for a few days and depending which service you use (presentation in person or by post).
To make it easy and worry free, we have a complete information leaflet on visa application that we will send you once you are confirmed onto your programme. Additionally we can organise this for yourself.
Do I require immunisation before I travel?
Yes you do. You should consult the duty nurse at your local doctor's surgery to get up to date information on what is recommended for travelling to Sierra Leone. We suggest you begin this process at least 2 months prior to travel.
What is the food like?
The standard fayre is of course meat, fish, vegetable and rice dishes. In the costal areas there is of course a lot of fresh seafood. Inland meat is more the order of the day, although fresh water fish also features on the menu at Tiwai. During the months of May and June, there is an abundance of fresh fruit, mainly mangoes. In Freetown you are able to buy foods you are used to in the UK as there are supermarkets for Northerners (British, American and Europeans working for NGOs and international companies).
Needless to say the diet is fairly basic when out in the bush around Tiwai, but you will not go hungry as you will be provided 3 meals a day for the duration of the programme. One of the tastiest and common staples is cassava (a root vegetable, like a yam or sweet potato, made into a stew, yum!)
Is English spoken in Sierra Leone?
Yes, but not by everyone. Being a former British colony helps. You will find most signs are written in English, and that most people that have dealings with tourists or travellers speak a basic level of English, enough certainly for you to be understood, sort of! Other languages spoken are Krio (in Freetown and the coastal region) and Mende (in around Tiwai). We will give you basic lessons in these where applicable.
What is the weather like?
The climate is tropical, with two seasons determining the agricultural cycle: the rainy season from May to November, and a dry season from December to May, which includes harmattan, when cool, dry winds blow in off the Sahara Desert and the night-time temperature can be as low as 16 °C (60.8 °F). The average temperature is 26 °C (78.8 °F) and varies from around 26 °C (78.8 °F) to 36 °C (96.8 °F) during the year.
When it rains in Sierra Leone, boy does it rain, and as a result we will only operate our programmes during the driest months. But there will always be rain...
How much money should I bring?
You will need to bring around £100 - £200 in cash for the duration of your programme to cover spending money for beers, additional luxury foods, souvenirs and travel outside of the programme.
There are few internationally linked cash machines in Freetown and you can pay for some things with a credit card (in hotels and restaurants), if you do not wish to bring just cash. In fact we recommend you bring a card anyway, just in case of an emergency. The best are those that can be topped up over the internet. Please ask us for details.
The currency is the Leone, but you should bring dollars or pounds sterling to exchange in the bureaux in Freetown.
What clothing should I bring?
On confirmation of your placement, we will send you a comprehensive 'Kit list', which will tell you all you need to know.
What type of accommodation should I expect?
On arrival you will be in twin share hotel accommodation close to Lungi airport, due to the evening arrival of the majority of european flights. At the beginning and end of your programme you will again have twin share guest house accommodation outside of Freetown at Lakka on the coast by the beach.
At other times, when further south down the coast of the Western Peninsula you will be tented accommodation, or shared guest house accommodation.
Making your reservation
Our team would be than happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us at email@example.com and we will get back to you.
You can register your interest by clicking the apply now button on the page above.
Once you have expressed firm interest, we will hold your tentative booking for 7 days and your placement will be secured once we have received a deposit of £195 per person. You can pay by cheque (made payable to mindthegap travel ltd), bank transfer (we will send you details of our bank account) or credit / debit card (this will incur a 3% admin fee).
If you wish to pay in any other currency, you can pay by transfer through our local Travelex banking partner. We will send you full details.
On confirmation of your placement we will send you by email a Travel Voucher, a full itinerary on payment of deposit and Know Before You Go document on payment of balance (2 months prior to departure on chosen placement date).
Between the time you secure your placement to the time of departure we are here to assist in your travel preparation and to answer your queries.
Once you have paid your deposit, the most frequently asked question is what happens now?
You will receive your receipt and travel itinerary via email along with a document which gives you further information on the project that you have selected. It also contains details on the local area, the religion and culture and gives you everything you should need to know to prepare you for your arrival at site.
If you have any questions or concerns before your departure you should contact our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approximately two months before departure you will receive an email detailing the names and email addresses of other participants on your project. It often helps to break the ice and get to know each other before your journey begins. Other volunteers may have useful information to share and as we have a lot of returning volunteers they are often very keen to share their knowledge and previous adventures with you.
Emergency contact details are kept on our site and updated when necessary. These details exist for your use and also for your families should unexpected problems occur at home. Please make sure you are aware of your projects emergency contacts prior to starting your journey.
All that is left for you to do now is pack your bags. We send you a site specific kit list to help you prepare for your adventures. So every step of your way we are there to help and support you.
Data Protection Policy
mindthegap travel ltd is committed to meeting its obligations under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. We will take due care in the collection, processing and storage of all personal data, including any sensitive data. We will only use your personal data in ways relevant to carrying out our legitimate purposes and functions and in a way that is not prejudicial to your interests. Our staff will do their best to keep all your personal data current, accurate and secure.
As an international company, we may share your personal data with our staff, partners and suppliers overseas in order to arrange your safari or placement. We will work to ensure that our staff understand they are required to observe UK data protection laws when handling personal data transferred overseas from the UK.
You should be aware that the country or countries we may need to transfer your personal data to may not afford the same level of protection to your personal data as your home country.
In the UK, we will hold and store all personal data you give us in connection with your booking for the same reason. Other reasons why we may hold and store your personal data are for our own marketing purposes, as well as for purposes relating to potential legal proceeding (the period of time determined by reference to statutory limitation periods). We will not hold or store your personal details for third party marketing purposes.
By completing our Application Form, you are giving your explicit consent to all transfers and the holding or sharing of your personal data. We will meet any request for access to personal data in compliance with the law.