Sierra Leone

Driving Directions Sierra Leone

SIERRA LEONE, a republic on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, is bounded by Guinea to the north and east and by Liberia to the southwest. The country possesses a fine natural harbor where the capital and major port of Freetown is situated.

A range of mountains, the Sierra Lyoa, rise above the capital on the Freetown Peninsula but, elsewhere, the coastal plain is up to 110 kilometers or 70 miles wide rising to a plateau and then mountains which are part of the Guinea Highlands Massif. The highest peaks are just under 2,000 meters or 6,562 feet. Eight rivers and many streams descend from the higher ground.

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Natural vegetation varies from mangrove swamp near the coast to savannah in the north and jungle, containing commercially valuable trees such as palm, teak, and mahogany, in the southeast.

Google maps™ Sierra Leone

Wildlife includes varieties of monkeys, chimpanzees, hippopotamus, tropical birds, porcupine, bushpig, and reptiles. The climate is tropical, with heavy rain during a rainy season lasting from May to November. During the dry season, an arid, dust-laden wind called the harmattan blows in from the Sahara Desert.

Most people are engaged in either agriculture or mining. The country’s main food is rice, and this is grown in the swamplands at the coast by the subsistence farmers. Other crops grown include sorghum, cassava, millet, sugar, and peanuts. In the tropical forest areas, small plantations produce coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. In the plateau region, much of the forest cleared to grow groundnuts.

Most of the country’s revenue comes from agriculture and mining, principally of rutile, although bauxite produced in significant quantities. Diamonds also mined but in much-reduced amounts, and there are deposits of iron ore with some gold and platinum.

The country gained independence in 1961 and was troubled by political unrest and civil strife during the early 1990s.

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