Situated as close as it is to many of the beach hotels, Tambakula remains a hidden treasure of authentic Sierra Leone cultural icons, jewelry, clothing, statues, masks, and more. Located directly across the street from the Family Kingdom on an access road to a popular bar and restaurant, Alex’s, Tambakula has about ten small shops that are run by artisans and traders. It is a particular pleasure because the traders have adopted a lay-back style of selling; it is one of the few, or perhaps only places you can go in Freetown to peruse the local arts and crafts without being bombarded with persuasion to buy this or that or just anything. The Tambakula shop sellers give you time to look around, ask if you need help, and will then go out of their way to find just the right item for a gift or to meet a business or personal need. And if one shop doesn’t have just the right thing, the owner is happy to suggest another seller who may have it. Their prices are fair and often cheaper than at other venues, and there are folks on hand to change any type of currency. As in many places in Sierra Leone, these women have stories of hardship, war-torn families, orphans, and extremely difficult living circumstances, but you won’t know it from their friendly welcome, easy-going manner, and true desire to enrich your visit to Freetown. And don’t be afraid to ask the history of a particular piece – they will be able to tell you in which part of the country the item is produced, by which tribe, what it is used for or what it represents – or if it is an original design they have made themselves. In walking distance from the Family Kingdom, Mammy Yoko, Hotel Bintumani, Hotel Barmoi, Aces, and the Sierra Lighthouse Hotel, Tambakula Arts and Crafts Center is the closest and best place to do your cultural shopping in Salone! Tell them Laura sent you for special treatment and great prices.