A birding tour to Sierra Leone takes one to the biologically rich rainforests that are the undoubted stronghold of West Africa’s Upper Guinea bird endemics! The unfortunate political history of this country has meant that for many years these superb forests have been under-birded and little explored; however, in recent years Sierra Leone has opened up and intrepid birders now have a fantastic opportunity to explore this productive region. Sought-after species such as Crimson Seedcracker and Turati’s Boubou can often be located in close proximity to the capital, Freetown, while others such as the beautiful Emerald Starling, Dybowski’s Twinspot and Togo Paradise Whydah are also huge attractions. In the Western Peninsula Forest Reserve we visit a breeding colony of the mythical White-necked Rockfowl, a species we have never missed on any of our tours. They occur here at their highest densities and are revered and unmolested by the local people.
Further north we will visit the famed Gola Forest, the largest tract of lowland rainforest in Sierra Leone, which boasts the eponymous Gola Malimbe and a range of other little known birds. With luck, exciting mammals including Chimpanzee, Western Red Colobus and Zebra Duiker may be seen skulking through the forest. A further highlight will be searching for White-breasted Guineafowl during a visit to Tiwai Island on the Moa River. The seldom observed Pygmy Hippopotamus also occurs in this area, and we can expect to find no less than seven monkey species whilst on the island.