After a 15-year hiatus (not voluntarily), I traveled to my maternal hometown of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
“Salone” or “Sweet Salone” as all Sierra Leoneans call it.
This trip was not under the best circumstances as it was for my aunt’s funeral, however the sweet side of this voyage was the opportunity to see and reconnect with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles and being introduced to family members I hadn’t met before.
If you are African, you know what I’m talking about LOL!
We were welcomed to Freetown by the most amazing sunset in Lungi, a coastal town where Freetown-Lungi International Airport is located.
We crossed over the Sierra Leone River (which also runs into the Atlantic Ocean) to Freetown by SeaBird, a water taxi service.
After my aunt’s burial, I was mostly looking forward to visiting Freetown, with a different set of eyes and perspective, if that makes sense.
When I was younger, all I looked forward to was playing with my cousins all day long.
This time around, I was more curious about Freetown, its history, the food scene and beach spots.
I remember taking long walks from Murray Town to Aberdeen Beach with my cousins and enjoying the Sierra Leone River/Atlantic Ocean views and breeze.
Fifteen years later, everything had changed. The beach strip was now filled with restaurants, lounges, modern hotels and resorts.
Roy’s Restaurant + Beach Lounge was one of my favorite restaurants on the Aberdeen Beach Strip.
It was the first time in years that my cousins and I had all been together in the same location so we seized the moment and planned to dine here.
The set-up, vibe, location were just perfect.
Roy’s also has a small hotel across the street from the beach bar, which is pretty convenient if you are interested in staying overnight.
I will say that the most inconvenient part was going across the street to the hotel to use the restroom.
Can you imagine the morning view for breakfast?
Close your eyes and envision the sun rising over the ocean.
When we arrived, there was seating available both inside and on the patio.
We requested the patio to enjoy the breeze and the nightly view of the ocean.
Time for drinks and food!
I started off with their Pina Colada which was really good (didn’t capture a photo). However when I visited the second time, I had their Mojito, which was very refreshing!
The Grilled Snapper caught my eye and our server promised that it was the best item on the menu.
That is exactly what I ordered with a side of vegetables and French Fries.
I did not regret my dinner selection and let me tell you why.
The Snapper was fresh and grilled to perfection.
The French Fries were hot, crispy and I typically do not eat fries with fish but this was a great combination.
The vegetables were also perfectly steamed.
About 30 minutes later, look at what was left of Francis’ (my cousin) plate, who also enjoyed the Snapper.
My other cousins ordered the Grilled Chicken or Grilled shrimp, which they were extremely pleased with as well.
Everything was delicious and the service was outstanding!
After dining, you can chill, enjoy Hookah and more drinks.
I returned to Roy’s a few days later for Happy Hour on the beach and the daytime views were amazing.
While relaxing, I enjoyed some Boiled Peanuts.
I went for a little horseback ride (I was terrified lol).
Even, gazed into the purple-ish sunset.
Aside from the 85 degree weather at in the wee hours of the morning, I really enjoyed my time in Freetown and reconnecting with family.
When you’re downtown, you’ll notice Freetown’s historic symbol.
The capital city of Sierra Leone was founded by slaves who were freed for fighting for the British during the American War of Independence.
When they arrived to the shores of this new found land after leaving the United States, they walked up to Cotton Tree, where they prayed, sang praises to God and thanked him for their freedom.
Freetown was founded on March 11, 1792.
Another highlight of my trip was Jelly (and you’ve gotta say it right).
The shaved Coconut and Coconut Water were the perfect refreshment.
As you drive or walk through the capital, you will also notice board houses.
They have such a big historical significance as they were built by the Freed Slaves as far back as 1792.
If you are into art or simply looking for little gifts to bring back from family and friends, then Big Market is your spot. It is also located minutes from Cotton Tree.
I purchased quite a few things like Ankara skirts, wristlets, little souvenirs as well as several Anakara fans.
These little cute things were very handy on hot days, which were every day!
Moreover, the views of the ocean from the hills or from my aunt’s balcony were simply gorgeous.
I also had the opportunity to visit our PMI VectorLink office and spent the day getting to know the team I’d been communicating with via email from across the ocean.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my connection to Freetown, journeying to Sierra Leone via food, leisure and its history.
It was definitely hard to leave my family and return to the United States but I am looking forward to traveling to Freetown in the future and seeing more of Sierra Leone.
Feel free to drop your questions (if you have any) in the comments section.