Sierra Leone’s Tour de Lunsar and Street Child Marathon highlight the potential of ‘Made in Salone’ sports tourism

With a growing number of international participants, two of Sierra Leone’s biggest sporting events – the ‘Tour de Lunsar’ and the ‘Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon and Cycle Challenge’ – are promising indicators of how sports tourism can positively impact the economy by attracting visitors, creating jobs and generating revenue for local businesses.

The travel and tourism industry offers opportunities for economic diversification and market-creation and is responsible for one-in-four new jobs globally. Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors – generating around 10% of the world’s expenditure on tourism.

With an exciting and expanding list of competitive and leisure sporting events, Sierra Leone has started to capitalise on its potential with uniquely ‘Made in Salone’ sports and outdoor activities including:

  • Set up by Karim ‘Stylish’ Kamara, as a way of giving his local team a way to compete, the Tour de Lunsar has grown into the biggest cycling event in West Africa, attracting international participants and sponsorship.
  • The Street Child Sierra Leone Marathon and Cycle Challenge is an annual event to raise money for Street Child’s work. The ‘off the beaten track’ route goes through tropical jungle and local villages, providing participants with a truly unique way of discovering Sierra Leone.
  • Sierra Leone’s surfing scene, centred round the Bureh Beach Surf Club on the country’s Western Peninsula, is a prime addition to West Africa’s surf community. Surf lessons and equipment hire are available, and the shallow waters and warm temperatures make it a great place for beginners or more advanced surfers.
  • Yoga instructors offer daily lessons and occasional retreats in spectacular locations like the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary or at the Peninsula’s many beach resorts.
  • Freetown Golf Club has an 18-hole golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and holds the biggest golf tournament in West Africa.
  • Snorkelling, spear fishing and whale watching are offered at Daltons Guesthouse on the idyllic Banana Island.
  • Sierra Leonean destination management agencies – Visit Sierra Leone and IPC Travel – organise regular hikes around Freetown and farther afield for walkers of all levels. Trails take you through diverse landscapes and offer spectacular views of Sierra Leone’s famous ‘Lion Mountains’.

Invest Salone works with the public and private sector to compile evidence and bring national and international stakeholders together to identify opportunities to improve the tourism sector’s competitiveness. This work includes supporting local destination management companies with technical assistance and to attend international travel fairs.

Our published research includes an ‘Insights’ report on investment opportunities in the tourism sector in Sierra Leone. We conduct research to understand the sector’s investment potential and work with the local and international media as well as using our own platforms to share and promote information on Sierra Leone’s tourism potential.

For more information visit our Resource Bank or get in touch at

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