Map from Google - Sierra_Leone
In Sierra Leone the climate is tropical
, hot all year round, with a dry season in winter and a rainy season, due to the African monsoon, which runs from May to November in the north, and from April to November in the south. The annual quantity of rainfall is considerable, from 80 to 120 inches, with a maximum in the coastal area.
The western part of the country is flat, while the eastern part is hilly and mountains; the highest peak is Mount Bintumani, 6,381 feet high. The altitude tempers the heat, especially above 3,000 feet.
in Sierra Leone is hot and sunny: the night-time temperatures are around 72/75 °F along the coast, and 64/68 °F in inland areas, while the daytime temperatures are around 86 °F on the coast and 90/93 °F in the interior. Sometimes it can be uncomfortably hot: the temperature can touch 100/105 °F even in winter, but luckily the air is quite dry, because the prevailing wind, the Harmattan
, blows from the Sahara and lowers the humidity, especially in inland areas, and less frequently along the coast. On the contrary, during the night it can get a little cool, especially in inland areas, where the temperature can drop to around 50 °F, while in the mountains it can get cold.
Here are the average temperatures of Freetown.
Average temperatures - Freetown
Starting from February, the temperature rises, under the influence of the tropical sun, but then the rains
come quite soon: early showers occur in March in the south: in Daru, already 3.5 in of rain in March fall, and only 0.5 inches in Freetown, in the center. Afterwards, in the interior the rains gradually increase, reaching a maximum from June to October, when more than 10 inches per month fall, while on the coast the rains are more violent, and become torrential: in the capital Freetown
, even 31 inches of rain fall in August, as happens in an average rainy city in an entire year. The coast south of Freetown, flat and covered with mangroves, in this period is often flooded.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Freetown
Even the amount of sunshine in the summer months becomes very poor, also because the rains occur almost daily. The temperature during the rainy months remains often below 85 °F during the day, while at night it remains high, and the humidity makes the air quite sultry, even though along the coast the heat is tempered by the breeze.
During the month of November, the monsoon withdraws, the rains cease and the dry winds from the north-east start to blow again.
For swimming, the sea
is warm all year round, as we can see in the following table.
Sea temperature - Freetown
When to go
The best time to visit Sierra Leone is winter
, only December and January in inland areas (because from February it starts to get very hot), and from December to March along the coast, where the temperature is more stable. The worst months are those of summer, from July to September, when torrential rains often create extensive flooding.
What to pack
In winter: in Freetown and the coast, light clothes, a light sweatshirt for the evening, scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust. In inland areas, it may be useful to bring a sweatshirt and a jacket for the evening.
In summer: tropics-friendly, loose fitting clothing, a light sweatshirt and a light raincoat for the long and heavy downpours, possibly an umbrella (not very effective during the most intense rains). For inland areas and mountain ranges, you can add a heavier sweatshirt for the wet and rainy days.