Drinking Age in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is a small country on the west coast of Africa. While it has a large Muslim population, there is significant Christian influence in the country so that alcohol is not prohibited or restricted. There is no set minimum legal drinking age either, so anyone may purchase and consume alcohol.
Types of Alcohol in Sierra Leone
For the most part, you will have no trouble finding your preferred beverage in the country. It is available in most supermarkets, in small liquor stores, hotels, restaurants and pubs. The country does have a small brewery that produces Star Beer, which is a favorite at local drinking establishments. Poyo is the name for a palm wine that is produced locally, in homes, restaurants and pubs. Poyo bars are social establishments where people go to discuss and debate sports, politics and life in general. Many people also drink ginger beer, which is non-alcoholic but still a favorite when out partying.
Parties in Sierra Leone
The people of Sierra Leone know how to party. When there is a national holiday, everyone cuts loose and has a good time. There will be dancing and carrying on in the streets, bonfires at night and music everywhere. Quite often the party will last for two or three days when the holiday is in conjunction with a weekend or other holiday. The alcohol will flow and everyone is expected to have a good time.
Alcohol Laws in Sierra Leone
While Breathalyzer tests are not usually given to determine a person’s blood alcohol content, if you are stopped by a police officer in Sierra Leone after you have been drinking, you can be detained and even arrested. It will be up to the arresting officer to determine whether or not you are drunk. It is best to avoid operating a vehicle once you have started drinking for the evening or you could be arrested even if you only had one drink. Many say that you will only get in trouble if there is some type of accident or if you are not courteous and respectful of the officer. However, as a foreigner, it would not be wise to risk it.
The culture in Sierra Leone is rich with foods and drink. The locals enjoy putting on a big meal and inviting everyone to eat with them. Meals are not limited to around a dinner table and often end up in front yards or even in the street. It is like a celebration every evening with neighbors each contributing something to the meal. There will be drinking, usually poyo, and quite often dancing. When you visit the country, be sure to experience the foods. Rice, fish and coconut make up a large portion of the foods they eat. You will want to eat at places that come highly recommended though as not all establishments practice the best hygiene. The laws surrounding health issues in eating places are not very strict and seldom enforced. If you do not want to end up feeling ill for the rest of your stay, go to big, popular places and avoid the small, quiet restaurants.