a group of kids along the road to Freetown, at one of our rare stops

Today is the last day on the truck. Yet, it is not different from other days, perhaps even worse; even fewer stops, the end is in sight. There is also no special anticipation in the truck, I have the feeling that everybody is fed up with driving, and looking forward to the end of it.

green countryside, except where the jungle is burnt to create fields

a village along the road, devoid of commercial activity

For much of the way the landscape doesn’t change, green, palm trees, bananas, villages few and far between, with an abandoned look and almost free of commerce. Very un-West African, as far as we have experienced. In places part of the jungle has been burnt down, presumably to make place for agriculture. At one stage there are actually tractors, and large tracts of land have been ploughed – also a first, on this trip. What anybody is going to do with it, I don’t know; it is too big for individual farmers to work, so perhaps this is going to be another plantation.

girls happily posing for the camera

the girl with the eggs has white powder on her skin, I don’t know why

and this one has just dumped her pineapples

and the boys equally eager

river crossing forms a highlight on an otherwise not very exciting road


Nearer to Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, it does become busier, villages turn into small towns, with more people, and with markets. The last hundred kilometres, or so, the road is a dual carriage way, including toll boots, somewhat ambitious as there are actually not many cars using it, yet. And then we realise where all these rural people have gone: the outskirts of Freetown is a vast expanse of houses, suburbs merging, and gradually turning into the city itself, still spreading over a large area, distributed over several hills. These, I presume, are the original Sierra Lyon, Lion Mountains, identified and so named by the Portuguese 400 years ago. Buildings are increasingly multi-storey, but many of the upper floors don’t seem to be in use, many haven’t even been finished. More and more industries appear along the road. Yet, all the way into the centre, there is not a lot of high rise, it remains two, three, four storey buildings.

closer to Freetown the commercial activity picks up

which can be seen first in the amount of moto taxis ready to take anybody anywhere

at one of the toll boots, commercial transport includes goats on the roof

the hill sides of Freeport have been built up completely

yet not with real highrise, the mosque beats any other building

And did I say yesterday that Sierra Leone was so well organised? So clean? Devoid of commerce? Freetown is an enormous traffic chaos, with cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks fighting for space on the clogged roads, roads lined with market stalls, and roads full of rubbish, of course. This is a very African capital.

We had hoped to quietly dislodge ourselves from the group, so we had booked a hotel in town already, irrespective of what the group was going to do. Guess what? The truck drove directly to exactly the same hotel. And everybody decided to stay here.

Next: Freetown

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2 Responses to 13 April 2023

  1. Thea Oudmaijer says:

    Stick to your group till the end??

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