It is no secret that Sierra Leone is paradise for adventure lovers. From wonderful beaches to impenetrable rainforests, soaring mountains to windswept islands, the country truly has plenty to offer to outdoor enthusiasts – including lots of hiking opportunities.
The best time to hike in Sierra Leone is definitely the dry season, running from October to May. January and February are the driest months but also the hottest, so if you are planning to hike make sure to carry plenty of water with you and set off in the early hours of the morning.
Whether you’re just planning a weekend getaway to Freetown or want to spend more time exploring the furthest reaches of Sierra Leone, we’ve decided to do the groundwork for you and share 5 wonderful places to go hiking in Sierra Leone.
5 Best Places to Hike in Sierra Leone
Despite its name, Picket Hill is not an easy walk, but challenging hike in the Western Area Peninsula Forest, approximately 1 hour drive from Freetown. The summit is at 880 meters above sea level, offering stunning views of the Peninsula and coastline, with Freetown visible in the distance.
There are two ways to the top: from Koba Wata, taking about 3 hours and a half, or from Big Wata, taking about 3 hours. If you join a tour, you’ll probably be taken up one way and down the other. The first part of the ascent is through thick rainforest, but after a couple of hours the forest ends and views begin, and when you get to the top you’ll feel on top of the world!
Don’t attempt this hike without a guide, as the trails are unmarked and it’s very easy to get lost.
Tiwai Island is one of the best national parks in Sierra Leone, haven for a variety of wildlife species including various primates, birds and the elusive pygmy hippo, where it’s possible to go on a range of forest walks.
Tiwai Island means ‘Big Island’ in Mende, the local language, and tourism in the national park is community-led so you’ll have a local guide with you at all times to point out all the different plant and animal species.
Forest walks usually last about 2 hours, covering about 2 or 3 kilometers total. Routes are mainly flat but you’ll be stopping a lot to look at plants, bugs or other species. Night walks are also on offer, and they are a great way to see insects and nocturnal animals up close.
The highest peak in West Africa may not sound like much at 1945 meters above sea level, but trust me, it’s not an easy hike!
Bintumani is located in the Loma Mountains in the northern part of the country. There are various routes to reach the summit, the most popular (and scenic) of which starts from the village of Sinekoro, and takes two or three days to reach the summit and return back.
It may sound like a lot, but remember that most of the hike is through the rainforest, with no trail to speak of – you’ll be making your way through bushes, roots and trees. Then the forest ends and you’ll hike through grassy meadows, and the final scramble to the summit is on rocky terrain.
You’re better off arranging your Bintumani climb with an operator in Freetown – allow one days to get to Sinekoro, two days minimum for the hike, and another day to get back.