By Musa Kamara
Sierra Leone can be called many things, but I stand to proudly inform you that the ecotourism beauty of Sierra Leone cannot be compared to any other country in West Africa and beyond. Sierra Leone has it all, as far as touristic adventures are concern. The missing element over the periods has been the “will power” to inject resources in the tourism sector.
Check out on all trending sectors across the world, you will come to realize that the tourism sector cannot be compared with any other infrastructure. The tourism infrastructure generates almost $4 trillion annually and accounts for about 10% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Recently, I learnt that the tourism sector has created employment for over 230 million people across the world. I think this is a huge opportunity for all, especially developing countries to wake up and embrace this new trend of diversification of the economy. This is an opportunity for Sierra Leone to harness, and I am glad that sound brains in the tourism sector of my beloved Sierra Leone are on a mission to systematically rebrand the trending sector.
I just want to draw the attention of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) that the Wara Wara Hill holds a crystal beauty and its memory will linger on in the minds and hearts of tourists, both home and abroad.
Wara Wara Hill can be found in Wara Wara Yagala Chiefdom in Kabala Town, Koinadugu District, which is about five hours drive from Freetown. The chemical composition of rocks present at the Hill is said to be metamorphic when subjected to high heat, high pressure and hot mineral-rich fluids.
In some literature posted on social media, titled, “Unleashing the Tourist Industry potential through the establishment of Growth Poles,” done by Amara Kallon, Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs; he mentioned:
“Since 1975, sons and daughters of Koinadugu District and beyond have been climbing this Hill every New Year and has attracted thousands of tourists from across the world to join in the celebration of this annual festival.”
Such words of Deputy Minister Kallon could not be underestimated. On a personal note, I have never seen a government minister that is very passionate about his origin, than Deputy Minister Kallon. Whenever I hear him speak about the potentials of Koinadugu District, I always see the very best in a man when expressing his heart desires. I can bet that no government minister in President Bio’s New Direction Administration knows about the touristic potentials of Koinadugu District than Amara Kallon. This gentleman is truly a son of the soil.
Wara Wara Hill is an epitome of the true beauty of Sierra Leone and Africa at large. But sadly, this glorious beauty has been left to rot in the shadows. If Sierra Leone is to rise from the ashes in as far as the tourism sector is concern, then it must rise with the Wara Wara Hill.
Standing at the top of Wara Wara Hill, you will feel the soothing smell of nature’s sweet breeze caressing your soul. Whilst on top of that Hill, you always see yourself as a demigod, watching over animals and plants. The Hill is surrounded with caves that tell stories on what life was all about in the shores of Sierra Leone. Oh! It is a beautiful moment that you will always live to cherish.
Visitors do come from all over the world to welcome the New Year on this Hill. Witnessing such august gathering of stakeholders and celebrities, you will be tempted to ask yourself if there is anything supernatural about Wara Wara Hill. Such popular visits are always recorded on every January 1st of the year.
Stepping on the foot of the Hill, your worries always seem to disappear into thin air. You feel some sense of positive vibration quenching your soul. You always see cheerful faces and an atmosphere of total happiness. The expression, “Love at first Sight,” is a clear manifestation at this heavenly Hill.
I feel so good the other when I heard that the Wara Wara Hill happened to be one the ecotourism communities that is benefiting from the $216,000 Small Grant Programme (SGP) made available by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the National Tourist Board (NTB) as spelt out under the “Repackaged Sustainable Tourism Development Programme,” supported by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).
Whilst launching the SGP, Madam Memunatu B. Pratt, MTCA Minister, disclosed that an additional Le2.1Bn has also been providing by the Government of Sierra Leone to rebrand the ecotourism sector, and Wara Wara Hill happened to be one of the communities that is benefiting.
As a result of the funds provided, I heard Fatmata Kroma, who is the General Manager of NTB saying that the acclaimed Hill will be giving a facelift, and this has to do with the construction of tourists’ accommodation facilities (Eco Lodges) with internet connectivity and the installation of solar electricity.
Furthermore, she said that a recreational and entertainment center will be constructed together with an arts/crafts sale center and 3 public lavatories to be constructed for what she described as, Very Important Personalities (VIPs).
If only the Project Coordinator for Wara Wara Hill Community holds a dialogue session with the community stakeholders on how to go about using the funds provided, I can assure that Wara Wara Hill will be first priority for local and international touristic adventures.
Let’s work to make Sierra Leone a better place. Rebranding Sierra Leone should be a must for every citizen. What you say about Sierra Leone will either make or break Sierra Leone. I love Sierra Leone. I just hope you do?