How to get to Freetown, Sierra Leone, from Lungi airport – by James Finnerty

Are you planning a trip to Sierra Leone, either solo or on one of our tours to the region? Something you may have noticed is that transferring from Lungi airport to the city center is not a straight forward task. Travelling by road can take longer than 3 hours on rough roads with bad traffic, not ideal at all…


So is there a better option than driving? The vast majority of people take either the ferry or water taxi’s across the mouth of the Sierra Leone river. The local ferry takes around an hour and costs $1-2, but our personal recommendation is to take a water taxi, and in particular, through the company Sea Coach Express.

Water taxi companies come and go (with varying safety records) but Sea Coach Express are well respected by many in the city. As you exit Lungi Airport Arrivals, in the car park you will see several water taxi sales offices and people in branded vests selling tickets. Ask for Sea Coach Express and you will quickly be taken to their ticket window. The journey costs $40, and you will be placed onto a minibus that, when full, will depart from the airport for their ferry port.

After a short 10 minute drive, you will be taken into a compound to wait for the water taxi to arrive. This can take 15-45 minutes, but the waiting area is decent enough with drinks for sale and there will usually be agents from the Orange phone company distributing free SIM cards and selling credit for them, a great opportunity to get this sorted for your trip.

Once on the boat with around 20 others, it’s roughly 45 minutes to the city center and you will be dropped off at what is currently called the “Pelican Water Taxi” port. For the exact location of the drop off click here.

Usually there will be many taxis waiting who will offer to take you anywhere in the city for around $5-10. Haggling can be tough as the drivers usually work together and don’t undercut one another. You’ll get a better price in the day on average, but many flights from Europe arrive later in the afternoon.

If all of this sounds very complicated, thankfully, we can provide more assistance if you are joining one of our group tours in the region. We can arrange for a representative to meet you at the airport and assist with boarding the Sea Coach Express, and synchronize a transfer to be waiting for you once your boat reaches the city itself.

As a note, if you are travelling to Sierra Leone on the new e-visa, make sure to bring two or more copies with you, as well as the receipt you will have been issued. It is not uncommon for immigration to keep a copy, when they are not supposed. Not having the receipt in hand when exiting the country can cause problems, especially at land borders.

We hope this rather intimidating transfer doesn’t put you off, as Sierra Leone has a lot to offer visitors and we always enjoy re visiting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *