Discovering Tiwai Island, travelling to Sierra Leone

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Tiwai Island ( Big Island in Mende) is an inland island in the Moa River, about 12 km², located inside the Upper Guinea Tropical Rainforest in southeastern Sierra Leone, about 80 km from the border with Liberia.

This beautiful island is covered by a lush rainforest and has an impressive biodiversity and a high concentration of endemic species.

Tiwai Island has one of the highest densities of primates in the world with a good number of species such as the Diana monkey, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive colobus, Campbell’s monkey (of which interesting studies have been done) and chimpanzees.

Tiwai Island is also a paradise for bird lovers with more than 135 species and walking along some of its more than 50 kilometres of trails we can see many of the 700 varieties of plants. The waters of the Moa River are also home to the rare pygmy hippopotamus, a solitary, nocturnal animal that can only be found in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea. This pygmy hippopotamus is very difficult to see, you would have to stay several days to have more chances of sighting it.

There is a camping area on the island in a clearing in the forest with shared shower and toilet facilities. In Tiwai there is an ecotourism project shared between different local chiefs and several conservation organisations.

It is possible to do great guided walks around the island in search of wildlife and enjoy pleasant boat trips around the island, enjoying the magnificent tropical scenery.

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