Lion mountain reluctantly breaks up with diamonds
The Republic of Sierra Leone is called so for a misunderstanding. Somehow in the XV century, dark at night, in the storm, rushed past this piece of the West African coast Portuguese ship. Lightning flashed, and exclaimed the navigator in horror: "Lev-Mount!" – "Sierra Leone!" So that he was still in time – it is unknown, because the shores in these places are low, flat. Lusitania natives followed and never exhibited more interest in the country. And the name has taken place.
The country itself is 300 years later with the most noble goals organized the British. At the end of the XVIII century, they raised a banner for the fight against trade in black slaves on the seas. Liberated slaves required to go somewhere. Deliver them home in the whole Western, Central and South-West Africa would be too troublesome. Therefore, the gentlemen founded in Sierra Leone the village, called him Freetown ("Free city"), assigned to him, together with the surrounding area, colonial status and began to sit here on the shore of blacks, eliminated from the hood.
The liberated captives have developed in special folk "cryo", with your own creolean language similar to the broken English. For example, "Goodbye" On Cryo will be: We Go See Back.
Cryo deeply learned the British ideals of freedom and therefore very much did not want to separate from the metropolis when in the 50s the remaining Africans began to fight for independence. But since the former slaves constitute only 2 percent of the population of Sierra Leone (except for them there are 14 more indigenous peoples in the country), in the end the colony still became sovereign, the flag, anthem and its own currency – Leone.
The independent history of the country was traditional for young African states (coups, riots, local partisan wars), and this could not be favorably reflected on Leone. After separation from England, he was almost equal to the American dollar, and now for $ 1 give 780 Leone at the official rate.
But in the past couple of years, a fragile political equilibrium remains in the country (the rebels control the eastern and northeastern areas, and the government is everything else, including the capital), and the national currency also ceased to fall. by the way, "Partisan" Territories are closed for foreigners.
Currency control in Sierra Leone relatively strict. Import and export of local currency in the amount of more than $ 5 is prohibited. Currency declarations declared, if you are carrying or more than $ 5.000 in foreign currency.
At the airport, guests arriving from abroad are required to change $ 100 for local currency. The course there is the same as in the banks in the city, so there is no robbing in this rule. There are no compulsory exchange on ground border crossings.
On the way back, the exported money is carefully recalculated, and with the slightest suspicion of tourists subjected to personal inspection. Therefore, watch your cargo and wallet contents with the local rules. If this condition is observed, then nothing terrible with you on the border will not happen. Vulgar extortion of the Sierraleon Guardians of the order do not do.
Yes, do not forget to drain all Leone before the intersection of the customs control line. At the airport, the national currency is not possible to exchange again in SLE.
Banks and exchange offices (Forex Shop) in Sierra Leone work on free market (and not artificially fixed) exchange rates, so there are no black market. But in different official exchange institutions, the courses and rates of commission vary strongly, depending on where (in the bank or paragraph) and which SLE you change. Points pay very badly for traveler checks and well, that is, almost at the official rate, for almost any Cash SLE (especially in large checks). Banks pay for checks a little more than cash, but only if we are talking about US dollars or sterling pounds. Travel checks in other currencies (for example, in French francs) and there they cashed along a sharply understated course.
The widest network of departments in the country has Barclays Bank. Only in the central part of the capital, Freetown, two of his branches are open, which for the African city of such scale – a lot. The best place to exchange travelers, tourist reviews – Barclays branch on Siaka Stevens Street. Nearby there are also several Forex Shop.
In Sierra Leone, you can hear from local residents that they call prices in Pound (pounds). This is a surler of those times when Leone was tied to pound sterling in a 2: 1 ratio. Today "Pound" In Sierra Leone means 2 Leone. That is, just multiply in the mind "pounds" 2 price and get it in official monetary units.
By the way, Freetown is the only major settlement on the coast of Sierra Leone. In addition to him, only the town of Kinema deserves special mention, 300 kilometers southeast of the capital. First, it ends here more or less decent highway. To go further on the ground to Liberia or Guinea, the usual car should be changed here to a powerful jeep.
Secondly, almost half of the shops in the kineet trades diamonds. But a foreigner should receive a government license for the right to buy precious stones. Without a license, it is unreasonable: remember the likely personal inspection upon departure home!