Nature and Wildlife

Lake Sonfon and Environs

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This site is situated in a remote area in the mountainous northeast of the country. It is a symbol of traditional belief and place of cultural ceremonies of the local people.

Location

Lake Sonfon is found in the Diang Chiefdom, Koinadugu District, Northern Province, about 350 km north-east of Freetown.

Lake Sonfon is a mountainous lake, 850m asl. It is surrounded by hills with vegetation comprising open grassland, wooded savanna and fringing forest with occasional farm bush. A number of small streams empty into the lake. Water level in the lake rises considerably during the rainy season inundating a much larger area. Annual rainfall in the area ranges from 2286 mm to 2540 mm. Mean diurnal temperatures range from 15-33 0C and 20-27 0C during the dry and rainy seasons respectively. Relative humidity at 1500h varies from 40% to 70% annually.

Birds

No published records on past surveys of birds at this lake are available. A total of 115 species of birds were recorded at the lake and surrounding vegetation during the IBA survey in 1994. This includes the little known Emerald Starling, whose range is restricted to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. Both forest and savanna biome species occur. Herons and egrets are common in this area.

Mammals

The area holds a good variety of mammal species including the threatened Savanna Buffalo (NT).

Access and Facilities

Kabala, 60km to the north and Bendugu, 40 km to the south, are the nearest big towns. A serviceable road leads up to Benekoro, a village 8 km from the lake. There is a health centre at Kondembaia, the Chiefdom Headquarters, about 5 km away. Most settlements in the area have good water supply through the use of gravity systems.

Information provided courtesy of the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

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