Tiwai Island Sanctuary Sierra Leon

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Tiwai Island Sanctuary Sierra Leon

One of the few remaining tracts of ancient rainforest in West Africa, Tiwai Island, meaning ‘Big Island’ in the Mende language, is Sierra Leone’s most popular and accessible nature reserve. Set on the Moa River, the entire island is run as a conservation research project – known as the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Tiwai covers a mere 12 sq km, but teems with an astonishing range of flora and fauna, and is most famous for its primate population. Although not part of the island, Gola Rainforest National Park shares the same tract of the rainforest as Tiwai Island.

Experiences on Tiwai island sanctuary

The island is an eco-project, surrounded by the Moa River and no-one lives on the island itself (except for the staff and researchers), but there are lots of villages nearby, to reach the island you need to take a short boat trip from the mainland.

Nice hiking safaris through the jungle to search for hippos, beautiful sighting primates, including colobus monkeys as well as bats and lots of insects, mostly flying termites you might find locals scooping the termites into bowls of water.

The people in the nearby village of Kambama were extremely welcoming and we had the chance to visit the school and see some cultural dancing. The local tribe here is the Mende, and the dances were quite different from what we had seen at the Rogbonko Village Retreat. There is always plenty of time to swim in the river, lounge on the beaches, and take boat tours around the island.

Accommodation on Tiwai island sanctuary

Basic camping in tents that are provided by the Tiwai sanctuary and at the research station there are rooms that you can stay in and the best way is to take your own food from Freetown and cook while exploring the Tiwai Island.

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