When to Visit
Wildlife and Biodiversity
What to Do
Guides and rangers from the Tiwai communities organize forest walks both during the day and at night, keeping an eye out for Diana and Colobus monkeys and taking breaks under Tiwai’s 200-year-old giant trees.
Daytime walks are usually taken in the early hours of the morning or at dusk, when wildlife species are at their most active. Night walks are ideal to spot small reptiles, insects and other nocturnal species, like pygmy hippos.
The island also has up to 50 km of walking paths which you can explore on your own terms, however we also recommend taking a guide as they’ll be able to spot wildlife and share information about the various plant species and their use for local communities.
It is also possible to head down the Moa River on a guided tour by canoe or boat, watching the birds fly overhead and keeping an eye out for monkeys. Sunset is a very good time to see primates, birds and turtles, whereas if you want to maximize your chance to see pygmy hippos it’s necessary to opt for a night tour.
On canoe/boat tours, you’ll also witness how the local villages interact with the river, seeing the handmade fishing traps on the bank and canoe ferries from one side of the river to the other.
Sierra Leone is known for its beaches, so you might be happy to know there’s a beach on Tiwai too! At the tip of Tiwai’s northern edge lies a stretch of sandy beach where visitors can relax and swim in the freshwater during the dry season (December/March).
If you’re very lucky, you might meet river otters, and see their paw prints on the sand.
Visitors that want to know more about local life and culture have the opportunity to meet the community members from the eight Tiwai Island communities, who will perform cultural dances and share their unique traditions and heritage with guests on request.
It is also possible to explore the recently-opened Tiwai Heritage Trail, a 5 day expedition covering all 8 Tiwai Island communities, to learn more about Mende culture and the ecosystems of southeastern Sierra Leone.