Sierra Leone River

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Sierra Leone River
Freetown SPOT 1094.jpg
Sierra Leone River Estuary
Physical characteristics
Atlantic Ocean
8°30′14″N13°11′10″W / 8.504°N 13.186°W / 8.504; -13.186 Coordinates: 8°30′14″N13°11′10″W / 8.504°N 13.186°W / 8.504; -13.186
Length25 mi (40 km)
Official nameSierra Leone River Estuary
Designated13 December 1999
Reference no.1014 [1]

The Sierra Leone River is a river estuary on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Sierra Leone. It is formed by the Bankasoka River and Rokel River and is between 4 and 10 miles wide (6–16 km) and 25 miles (40 km) long. It holds the major ports of Queen Elizabeth II Quay and Pepel. The estuary is also important for shipping. It is the largest natural harbour in the African continent. Several islands, including Tasso Island (the largest), Tombo Island, and the historically important Bunce Island, are located in the estuary. [2]


Lungi International Airport

The river separates Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital city, which is on the south side of the harbor, from the country's principal airport, Lungi International Airport, which is on the north side of the harbor in an area called the "Bullom Shore." The primary means of transportation from the airport to Freetown are by speed boat or ferry. Hovercraft, or helicopter services are no longer running.


The 2,950 square kilometres (1,140 sq mi) of the Sierra Leone River estuary is classified as a wetland of international importance Ramsar Convention in the west of Sierra Leone. [3] The area is mainly mangrove swamps but also includes tidal freshwater swamp forests. [4]

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  1. "Sierra Leone River Estuary". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. "Sierra Leone River"
  3. World Database on Protected Areas: Site Information Archived 2008-09-24 at the Wayback Machine , UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (2004), retrieved on 10 November 2007
  4. Ramsar Sites Information Service Archived 2008-07-14 at the Wayback Machine , Ramsar, retrieved on 10 November 2007

See also