Lungi International Airport is eight miles north of Freetown, on the other side of the wide mouth of the Sierra Leone River. There are several different transport options to consider for your onward journey from the airport, so here’s a guide to help you plan for a smooth transfer by land or by sea.
Travel times between Lungi Airport and the idyllic Aberdeen area of Freetown vary enormously, depending on your route. Some transport methods are more reliable than others and the best seats tend to get booked quickly, but careful planning can make your journey quick and hassle-free.
Travelling by water
The shortest distance between the airport and Freetown is over sea, cutting straight across the mouth of the estuary. The crossing is served by a number of operators; however, times vary and in the rainy season from May to October, rough sea conditions can cause delays. Throughout the rest of the year, sunshine is almost guaranteed, and the picturesque sandy shores really are best admired from the water.
Water taxis are a great choice if you’re looking for a fast, direct route between Lungi and Aberdeen. Sea Coach Express operates a shuttle service between Mahera Beach and Aberdeen. The journey takes around 30 minutes and costs roughly $40. Our Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel, Freetown offers complimentary transfers to the boat station and schedules are conveniently linked to flight timetables. This is one of the safest and most reliable ways to travel, although be prepared for a bumpy ride in poor weather.
Private speedboat charter
If you prefer personalised service, Sea Coach Express offers private speedboat charters that can do the trip in only 20 minutes. However, it’s worth noting that the smaller boats available for exclusive hire may be open to the elements and slightly less comfortable, so if you really want to avoid getting splashed, specify when booking that you’d prefer a larger vessel.
The ferry from the Tagrin Ferry Terminal, a 15 minute drive from Lungi Airport, is a popular choice with locals travelling to Aberdeen. It docks at the Kissy Ferry Terminal in the east of Freetown. The crossing takes about an hour, but this one of the cheapest modes of transport and can be combined with a bus or taxi from the airport or ferry terminal. Travelling from Kissy to Aberdeen can be slow due to heavy traffic, so allow for this when planning your journey. Ferries have also tendency to be overcrowded, so keep a close eye on your belongings – if you can tear them away from the coastal views.
Hovercraft and helicopter
In the past helicopter and hovercraft services have operated between the airport and Aberdeen, so you may still hear recommendations or even see adverts. Unfortunately, neither of these is currently running,
Travelling over land
Travelling by sea is not for everyone and in adverse weather conditions, it may not always be advisable. Lungi Airport is connected to Aberdeen by road, via Port Loko at the head of the estuary. The journey usually takes between three and five hours, due to variable traffic and road conditions. Car rental is limited at the airport, so pre-booking private transport may be easier if you’re using this route.