How to get there?
Tasso Island is in the estuary of the Sierra Leone river, upriver from Freetown and a short distance from Bunce Island. Day trippers usually combine both islands in the same excursion, stopping at Bunce for a history tour and then heading to Tasso. Alternatively, if you are planning to spend the night in the camp managed by Tasso Ecotourism Project, they can organize transport from Freetown from nearby Pepel Island, connected to the mainland by a bridge and only one mile from Tasso.
About the Island
Tasso Island measures only four square miles, but boasts a high degree of biodiversity, with rainforest in the interior, and mangrove forests around the coast. The island is home to a wide variety of birds, with two dozen species regularly visiting the island including the vividly-coloured Variable Sunbird and Red-Billed Fire Finch. The Tasso Ecotourism Project runs a rescue program for Timneh Grey Parrots, once common all throughout the Freetown area and now almost completely disappeared. There are also four towns, the largest of which is Tasso, on the north-western tip of the island, and a total of approximately 5000 Temne people living on the island. During the time of the transatlantic slave trade in Bunce, Tasso Island was used as a plantation to feed the captives and British troops stationed on the island. This agricultural heritage remains, with cashew, coconut, and pineapple being grown on the island.
Things to do
Visitors to the Tasso Ecotourism Project can enjoy walks around the island, including guided village visits, nature tours to learn about the mangrove and mudflat ecosystem, birdwatching tours and canoe trips to Pepel island or around Tasso Island itself. It’s also possible to visit the camp fruit and vegetable garden, where pineapples, bananas, cassava, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and chillies are cultivated. Between one activity and another, you can relax on the beach closest to the camp, and go swimming or snorkelling. During the evening, camp staff often organize storytelling or dancing sessions around an open fire, showcasing traditional masked dances with drumming and jumping.
Places to Stay
The only place to stay on the island are the chalets and cabins run by the Tasso Ecotourism Project. There are 5 in total, all with a private bathroom and shower, located close to the beach and sleeping between 2 and 4 people. Visitors can eat at the camp restaurant, offering affordable Sierra Leonean dishes cooked by local villagers.