Sierra Leone Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Sierra Leone: Population and Cities



According to Countryaah website, about 7.5 million people live in Sierra Leone, which gives the country a population density of about 73 people per km². The people are called Sierra Leoneans, by the way. In the course of her life, a woman in the country statistically gives birth to 6.1 children, which is enormous and is also due to the fact that only 4% of women can use modern contraceptives. With an average life expectancy of just 48 years – 49 for women and 48 for men – Sierra Leone is one of the countries with the lowest life expectancy in the world, according to the WHO. In addition to the alarming infant mortality rate (158 per 1,000 live births), there is a high maternal mortality rate of 2,100 per 100,000 births. The number of HIV-positive adults is between 1.7% and 7% – depending on the source. About 42% of the people in the country are younger than 15 years. Opposed to them is a small 4% group that is older than 65 years.

Ethnic groups

The population of Sierra Leone is made up of about 30.6% Mende, 29.4% Temne, 8.4% Limba, 5.2% Kono and members of other ethnic groups such as the Bullum-Sherbro, the Fula (or Peul), the Mandingo, the Kuranko, the Susu, the Yalunka, the Creoles (or Krio), the Kissi and the Vai together.


It is assumed that Sierra Leone is about 65% Muslim. In addition, around 25% Christians live here, consisting mainly of Protestants, Catholics and New Apostolics. Furthermore, about 10% of the people in the country are non-denominational or follow one of the traditional African religions.


The official language of Sierra Leone is English, even if only a few educated people speak it. Outside of Freetown you can hardly get on with English. 10% of the people speak Krio as their mother tongue, an English-based language that serves as the lingua franca for the majority of the population and is mainly spoken in Freetown. If Krio is spoken very slowly and clearly, English-speaking visitors to the country can even participate in a conversation. 30% of Sierra Leone’s residents state the Temnian language as their mother tongue. This can be heard mainly in the north of the country. Mende, which is spoken mainly in the south, is also very common.

Capital and other cities


The main and largest city of the Republic of Sierra Leone with around 1.2 million residents was called Romarong, “City of Lamentations” before the arrival of the Europeans, and its dramatic name refers to those who crashed in the strong storms over the Atlantic Sailors. For their part, the Europeans called it Granville Town. Freetown is the seat of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and, with its large seaport, is the economic center of the country. According to Abbreviation Finder, SLE stands for Sierra Leone in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

The landscape that characterizes the north-western tip of the Freetown Peninsula consists of tropical rainforest, swamps, mangroves and covered hills. With its fine sandy beaches, the city has probably the most beautiful beaches in Africa. Also to be emphasized are the many attractions of Freetown, which are not very well maintained or marketed, but are definitely to be visited. These include the De Ruyter stone and the 500 year old cotton tree.


Bo, the second largest city in Sierra Leone after Freetown with around 200,000 residents, acts as the capital of the Southern Province and the Bo District. The city has a campus of the Njala University College (see below), where technical subjects in particular are taught. The city is also home to Christ the King College, one of the most prominent colleges in the country.


Around 160,000 people currently live in the capital of the district of the same name and the Eastern Province, making Kenema the third largest city in Sierra Leone. Diamond fields have been developed in the greater Kenema area since 1931. They represent an important economic factor in the region.

Koidu-Sefadu (also New Sembehun)

Koidu-Sefadu, formerly also known as Kono, belongs to the Eastern Province, which extends in the east of the country on the border with Guinea and is determined in its center by the main mosque. Around 90,000 people now live in the twin cities, which almost degenerated into a ghost town during the civil war. Like Kenema, Koidu-Sefadu also lives from the exploitation of the diamond mines.


Makeni, the capital of the Northern Province and the Bombali District, served as a power base for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during the civil war. Today, an estimated 95,000 people live in Makeni, a city known for its mosque and large market.

Sierra Leone: geography, map

Sierra Leone is located in western Africa on the Atlantic Ocean and covers an area of 71,740 km². Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Sierra Leone. Thereof:

  • ForestAround 28% of the country is forested.
  • Meadow and pasture landAround 32% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 8% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing coffee, cocoa, ginger and manioc.

Sierra Leone shares a border with the following two countries:

Guinea with a length of 652 km and

Liberia with a length of 306 km.

Tidal range

The mean tidal range in Sierra Leone is around 2.50. For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Sierra Leone extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from around 6 ° 55 ‘to around 10 ° north latitude Δλ = from around 010 ° 15′ to 013 ° 20 ‘west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Sierra Leone, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Freetown

Freetown is located at a northern latitude of around φ = 08.5 ° (08 ° 30 ‘) and thus in the middle of the tropics. If the declination δ of the sun has the value of 08 ° 30 ‘N, and so the image point of the sun is exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 33 days after March 21st and 33 days before September 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination is north of the latitude of Freetown, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.



The highest mountain in the country is the Bintimani (Loma Mountains) with a height of 1,948 m. Other higher mountains are the so-called Unnamed Mountain with a height of 1,824 meters and the Sankanbiaiwa (Tingi Mountains) with a height of 1,715 meters.



The longest river in the country is the Mano. Other rivers in the country are:

  • Rokel
  • Moa
  • Kaba
  • Bagbe
  • Mongo
  • Sewa
  • Jong
  • Pampana
  • Kittam


Lake Mape

The country includes several smaller lakes. The largest of these is Lake Mape.


Sherbro Island

The largest island is Sherbro Island with an area of about 1,000 km². Other islands are the Banana Islands with the main islands Rickett and Banan Island and the Turtle Islands.

The Atlantic

Sierra Leone borders the Atlantic Ocean in the west of the country for around 405 km.

Sierra Leone Population