Taking a Drone abroad to Sierra Leone


Taking a Drone abroad to Sierra Leone

I cannot be certain, but I must assume this is not the first time for anyone taking a drone abroad to Sierra Leone. Although the reaction to the device certainly gave me the impression it was.

Taking a Drone abroad

First of all, the physical act of taking a drone abroad will usually mean you will travel through an airport at some point. My experience of airports + drones… actually not that terrible. There weren’t any dramatics or additional processes beyond what you would expect for a camera or laptop.

Simply open the case for inspection and slide through the x-ray machine. Ironically it was easier to transport than my laptop which I had wedged into my backpack and as a result was a struggle at every checkpoint to remove it.

In Country

Along the many stretches of open road snaking across countries in Africa, there are often Police/ Military checkpoints. These are more common in Sierra Leone following the need for increased checkpoints during the Ebola outbreak. Then the checkpoints were used to measure your health and avoid the spread of the virus.

Today the checkpoints remain. When I was asked what was in the box, attempting to explain what a drone is was fruitless. In the end I explained it away as a type of camera. It worked…

Drones and Children

During our adventure in Sierra Leone, we visited some of the more remote Northern areas of the country, close to the border with Guinea.

At first I hadn’t expected much of a reaction to the drone, after all it’s just a small flying camera. Initially as I set up the drone, it drew a small crowd of inquisitive crowd of adults. But once it took off, the children peering doors and windows in their school, erupted from the small building to see this flying device.

The reaction I received left me buzzing for hours after. Word of the drone had even reached other villages ahead of me arriving. Everyone was keen to see this ‘thing’, but the children were ecstatic and took to chasing the drone up and down the roads as I attempted to capture video and photos of the area.

Taking a drone abroad was my way to capture something I’d never seen in a way I wouldn’t be able to. In reality, the drone became much more of a talking piece with locals and an object of great interest for every one else.

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