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Although many of the protected areas and wildlife zones in Sierra Leone are endangered by increasing human activity, there is a whole of options to enjoy if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Check out some of the prominent options for most Sierra Leone Holidays and wildlife tours.
Outamba-Kilimi National Park
Outamba-Kilimi National Park (OKNP) is found in the extreme north near the border with Guinea. It is the only designated national park in Sierra Leone covering two eco-regions of Outamba and Kilimi in the northern province of Bombali district.
The park covers an estimated 1000sq km of which Outamba takes more than half of the entire park area. The vegetation is mainly grasslands, forests and open woodlands especially for Outamba section of the park. other features in the park include perennial lake in Outamba called Idrissa, which is drained by several water streams and rivers such as Mongo and Little Scarcies
Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary situated near Regent Village which is only 30 minutes from Freetown along the Regent/Bathurst mountain road. This sanctuary was established for orphaned and habituated chimpanzees which y increasing human activity around the country.
Established in 1995, this sanctuary covers 100 acres of rainforest and watershed, is home to 90 chimpanzees that have been victimized by the illegal hunting, capturing, and selling of their species.
Tacugama has been featured in various wildlife programmes and magazines. A rescued albino chimp at the sanctuary also helped to bring it to international attention. Sadly, the albino chimp is no longer alive but the sanctuary continues to grow stronger with support from donations.
Tacugama is the perfect place for those wishing to escape the heat and hustle of Freetown and enjoy fragrant forest breezes in the company of some extraordinary creatures. The Sanctuary now offers self-catering accommodation in the form of 3 beautifully crafted lodges.
Enjoy Guided tours (10 am and 4:30 pm, daily) with experienced staff for about I and half hours. All visits must be booked in advance.
Mamunta Mayosso Wildlife Sanctuary
This site is important for its variety of vegetation types and is one of the few areas in Sierra Leone holding the threatened Dwarf Crocodile. It holds 252 species bird species in a relatively small area and has an excellent ecotourism potential.
This sanctuary is fond in the Kholifa and Mabang Chiefdoms, Tonkolili district, Northern Province, about 180 km east of Freetown. Located almost at the centre of the country, this sanctuary supports a wide range of vegetation types.
The predominant vegetation is boliland (seasonally flooded grassland) with occasional occurrence of swamps, savanna, secondary forest and two perennial lakes. Water depths in swamps rise to 1.5 m during flooding. Mean annual rainfall ranges from 3048 to 3556 mm, Mean daily temperatures vary from 26-32 0C in the dry season, and 20-30 0C in the wet season. Relative humidity at 1500h varies between 50% and 80% annually. The area is founded on Precambrian-Bintumani granite rocks.
Guma Dam Area
The area forms the only remnant of moist closed forest remaining in western Sierra Leone (and probably the westernmost in the Upper Guinea forest block). Between 150 m and 900 m the hills are covered by moist forest, whilst along the coastal strip, the forest vegetation is interrupted by laterite plains covered by natural grassland.
The landscape is generally fairly steep and the hills are drained by a number of rocky permanent or seasonally flowing streams. The reserve supports two major reservoirs (the Guma Valley and Congo dams) that supply water to Freetown and other communities around the peninsula.
Birds of Guma
G.D. Field carried out work in the 1960s and early 1970s and recorded 316 species of birds (Field, 1973). Ausden and Wood (1990) recorded 186 species over a period of three months. A total of 374 species including occasional vagrants and migrants that visit water bodies within the forest, have so far been recorded.
Two threatened species -White-necked Rockfowl (Vu) and Green-tailed Bristlebill (Vu) – and three near-threatened species occur. A population survey of the White-necked Rockfowl carried out in 1992, as part of a detailed study of the ecology and breeding biology of this species discovered four active colonies containing eight nesting sites (Thompson 1993; Thompson 1997).
Annual rainfall ranges from 3000-7000 mm. Mean daily temperatures vary from 25-30 0C in the dry season and 22-27 0C in the rainy season. Relative humidity at 1500h varies between 45% and 80% annually.
Mammals and other fauna in GDA
Over 50 species of mammals have been recorded, of which seven species are primates, five of which are threatened – Western chimpanzee (En), Red Colobus monkey (Vu), Black-and-White Colobus Monkey, Sooty Mangabey (NT) and Diana monkey (Vu). Other threatened mammals include Leopard (Vu), Jentink’s Duiker (Vu), Black Duiker (NT) and Maxwell Duiker (NT). An endemic toad Cardioglosus aureolli occurs.
The reserve is within 5 km of the centre of the capital Freetown. A motorable road runs right around the reserve, with a number of feeder roads and a few trails within reserve zones. Hotels and beach bars are found on extensive scenic beaches around the coastal areas of the peninsular.
The Guma Trail, starting from the Guma dam, is the most frequently used by visitors and provides some opportunities for birding and wildlife. Yawri Bay on the southern coast and Sierra Leone River estuary on the northern coast, are within 40km and 10km respectively.