Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 14 January 2020, 12:36 NZDT
  • Still current at: 19 February 2020

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Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in Sierra Leone due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

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Violent Crime
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, assault and mugging, is common in Sierra Leone. Petty and opportunistic crime, such as pickpocketing, is also frequent and residential burglaries have been reported.

The risk is higher after dark and walking alone or travelling outside the capital after dark should be avoided. If travelling by road, car doors should be locked and windows up. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery, mugging or other crime as this could lead to an escalation in violence.  

Tourists and expatriates have been the targets of crime in the past. As foreigners may be targeted due to their perceived wealth, avoid displaying or wearing items that appear valuable, such as mobile devices and jewellery.

Civil Unrest
Protests and demonstrations occur in Sierra Leone and on occasion have resulted in violence. New Zealanders in Sierra Leone are advised to avoid all large crowds, political rallies and demonstrations as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

Ebola Virus Disease
Following an Ebola outbreak in 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) transmission in March 2016. For more information on Ebola, please see the Ministry of Health’s website.

Local travel
New Zealanders are advised to carefully plan travel outside the capital Freetown, where basic services are very limited. All transport options from Lungi International airport to Freetown carry some safety and security risks. Arrange to land early enough to be able to arrive at your destination before nightfall. Exercise particular care in border areas with Guinea and Liberia, where criminal gangs and smugglers have a presence and the security situation may be unsettled.

General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Sierra Leone, the ability of the government to provide consular assistance to New Zealand citizens is severely limited.

We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to Sierra Leone should consider.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Sierra Leone should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Sierra Leone are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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