Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has come a long way following three elections since the end of its civil war in 2002. While it is still one of the poorest countries in the world, the capital of Freetown buzzes with a contagious zest for life. Peruse local markets, comb the rugged beaches, snap colourful townhouses and discover the country's past before dancing with locals in the street as the sun sets. Much like Accra in Ghana, Freetown's vibrant youth culture is putting Sierra Leone on the map as a must for in-the-know travellers.
The national museum is a good starting point, telling stories you need to hear if you're going to gain any real understanding of the country today. When you've brushed up on history, pack up a beach bag and take a boat over to the Banana Islands.
When to go?
Who to take with you?
A friend who turns up their nose up at typical tourist destinations.
Most likely to bump into?
A chimp at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and cheerful vendors peddling wares at the craft market.
Essentials to bring with you...
A visa. Best to leave your bling at home though.