How to travel from Guinea to Sierra Leone by ferry

JUAN MARTINEZ

March 17, 2023

How to travel from Guinea to Sierra Leone by ferry

Travelling from Guinea to Sierra Leone by ferry has never been easier with the ferry connecting Conakry and Freetown.
Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Some weeks ago, I finished a road trip to West Africa. Although the entire experience was one of the best I have had, there were sections of the trip that I wish to have avoided. Long waits at the borders, terrible roads and traffic, and one or more corrupt officers asking for a bribe were common issues in this part of the world.

While I don’t regret this journey, I do regret not knowing about the ferry connecting Guinea to Sierra Leone. The Seacoach Ferry service operates from Guinea’s capital Conakry to Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, and offers a convenient and easy way to travel between the two countries.

I talked to Sunir Joshi, a traveller who used this ferry a few weeks ago, and he told me everything about the service and why he found it the most convenient way to travel between Sierra Leone and Guinea.

View of Freetown from a boat
View of Freetown from a boat

Connecting Conakry to Sierra Leone in just 3 hours

Travelling within West Africa can be a test of endurance and patience, with land borders taking almost a full day to cross and flights selling last-minute tickets for at least 400 euros. In my last overland trip around West Africa, I travelled around 10 hours by car from Conakry to Freetown, and although I was able to see some scenic views along the way and stop from time to time, it was a very long drive, especially since it was the fifth ten-hour drive of the trip.

The relatively new Seacoach Ferry service between Conakry and Freetown is changing all of that. In only three hours, passengers can travel between the two cities and avoid a lot of hassle. The ferry offers options for both economy and business class tickets, with passengers able to choose the level of comfort they prefer.

  • Economy Class tickets:  100 USD
  • Business Class tickets: 120 USD – (not much difference except a larger baggage allowance)

The ferry operates on a schedule of Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and the journey takes approximately three hours. Departure from Freetown is at 7:30am, while departure from Conakry is at 3:30pm.

Conakry ferry station: https://goo.gl/maps/hRFPtMycixCgzwmB6

  • About 3 minutes walking from the National Museum

Freetown ferry station: https://goo.gl/maps/fxteH6ZJfppBsgQR6

While checking the Seacoach Ferry Service website, there were big plans for more routes connecting every coastal city between Dakar and Lagos. However, these are just plans for the moment and they might take years until these routes are open.

NOTE: If you are planning to book on their website, you will only see one option for tickets connecting Lungi International Airport (Sierra Leone) to Aberdeen (Guinea) for 45 USD. While the price may be lower than at the station, please keep in mind that the options are not very clear and the booking system does not provide much information on the type of service you are booking or what is included.

But don’t worry! Booking your ticket is simple and can be done through WhatsApp (+232 76 551 155) or by visiting the office in person. Payment can be made in a variety of currencies, including USD, euros, GBP, LE, and FNG. Passengers can also purchase tickets on the day of travel, as the ferry is often only 10% full.

Inside of the Seacoach Ferry Service
Inside of the Seacoach Ferry Service

Immigration and visas

Immigration can be a concern for travellers crossing overland in West Africa as regulations are subject to constant change and can be unclear. While IATA mentions that visa on arrival (VOA) is available for most nationalities in Sierra Leone and Guinea, I recommend obtaining your visa in advance. Guinea requires an e-visa, and Sierra Leone requires a visit to an embassy.

INSIDER TIP:
Here you can get your Guinea e-visa. Process is very straightforward. However, the platform is quite unreliable and your visa can take hours, or weeks. I recommend getting your e-visa at the nearest Guinea embassy while in Africa, or apply one week before visiting Dakar and if the visa is not ready by then, visit the Guinea Embassy in Dakar.

Once you have your visa, immigration procedures are straightforward and efficient, with passengers being stamped out at the port before boarding and stamped in at the port in Freetown.

Passengers are required to show a visa for Sierra Leone and, even though immigration officers mentioned that VOA in Sierra Leone is possible, it is better to be safe than sorry. According to Surnir, no bribes were required (unlike at land borders), and there were no checks for Covid or yellow fever vaccination certificates.

Ferry Station in Conakry
Aberdeen Ferry Station in Conakry Here passwords will be checked

Need a visa for Sierra Leone?

These are the consulates and embassies of Sierra Leone that you can find in West Africa:

Consulate of Sierra Leone in Abuja, Nigeria

  • Address: Plot 716, Cadastral Zone AO, Central Business District, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Phone: +234 9 291 4441
  • Email: info@sierraleoneabuja.org

Consulate of Sierra Leone in Dakar, Senegal

  • Address: Immeuble BAC, Route de l’Aeroport, Zone 12, Dakar, Senegal
  • Phone: +221 33 820 5299
  • Email: slconsulatesn@yahoo.com

Consulate of Sierra Leone in Accra, Ghana

  • Address: 2 Abokobi Road, East Legon, Accra, Ghana
  • Phone: +233 24 635 5725
  • Email: slconsulatega@gmail.com

Consulate of Sierra Leone in Banjul, The Gambia

  • Address: Kairaba Avenue, Fajara M Section, Banjul, The Gambia
  • Phone: +220 446 2163
  • Email: sierraleoneconsulategm@gmail.com

Consulate of Sierra Leone in Conakry, Guinea

I recommend also downloading the Overlander App and confirming all locations before you take a taxi.

Read more: How to cross the borders between Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi

View of Conakry in Guinea
View of Conakry in Guinea

Overall experience

“It was so easy, I felt weirdly guilty,” said Surnir about the whole experience overall. “The ferry terminal in Conakry was nice and modern, equivalent to a small/mid-tier airport lounge but without food. Boarding and deboarding were efficient and easy. We left about 45 minutes late. The ferry was modern and comfortable, and on my trip, it was maybe 10% filled. The price included a shawarma sandwich and a drink. 100 USD is well worth avoiding half a day of traveling via shared taxis/minibuses and dealing with land border crossings.”

Read more: How to cross the border between e-Watini and Mozambique

View of the modern ferry services connecting Guinea and Sierra Leone
View of the modern ferry services connecting Guinea and Sierra Leone

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