Explore Fish & Marine Mammals
Fish & Marine Mammals
It’s not only on land that one can spot a variety of exotic creatures in Sierra Leone. The catfish and exotic, brightly coloured cichlid can be found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean that hug the country’s coastline, along with several whale species, turtles, friendly dolphins and even the most mysterious legendary sea creature – the African manatee.
Whale watching trips take place around the beautiful waters of the Banana Islands, where eagle-eyed visitors can spot mainly humpback whales but sometimes sperm whales as well. Seasonality depends on when the whales arrive, but can usually be expected from August to December. Pods of dolphins sometimes accompany the boats and can be spotted on these whale watching trips. Migrating humpback whales and dolphins can also be seen from the charming fishing village of York.
Not much is known about the sea turtles that inhabit the waters off Sierra Leone, but it’s thought that five species are currently present on the coast. The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone runs numerous conservation projects including community awareness and education programs to assist in sea turtle conservation efforts.
Most interestingly for visitors, however, is the fact that the prehistoric African manatee swims silently in the rivers and coastal estuaries of the country.
African manatees are unique in that they can live in salt water and are revered by many people across West Africa as a sacred sea goddess. Unfortunately they are listed as a vulnerable species because of poaching and the threat to their habitats. Very little is known about this ancient, secretive species – making spotting one of them all the more appealing for the luckiest of visitors