The Tingi Hills is the easternmost outlying forest in Sierra Leone. It has the second highest peak in Sierra Leone, the Sankan Birriwa. The scenic undulating nature of the topography and the rich game and plant diversity are attractive to visitors and scientists.
Location of Tingi Hills Forest Reserve
Tingi Hills Forest Reserve is located close to Sierra Leone’s eastern border with the Republic of Guinea. It occurs between the Nieya Chiefdom, Koinadugu District, Northern Province and the Sando and Lei Chiefdoms in the Kono District, Eastern Province, about 470 km east of Freetown.
The Tingi Hills is the easternmost mountain range in Sierra Leone. The forest reserve includes areas encompassing the massif called Sankan Birriwa, which has two peaks separated by a narrow gorge. Both peaks stand over 1800m, but the northernmost which is 1850m high, is the second highest in Sierra Leone. The terrain is generally rocky, with numerous streams, which have their sources from the massif. These streams are the tributaries of two major rivers in the country; the Mano River, which runs along the border with the Republic of Liberia and Sewa River.
G.D. Field made an extensive survey of the birds in 1974 and recorded over 200 species of birds, including two globally threatened – White-necked Picathartes (Vu) and Sierra Leone Prinia (Vu) – and three near-threatened and one data dependent species. One of the globally threatened species, the Sierra Leone Prinia has a very restricted distribution even within its restricted range in the Upper Guinea Forest. The vulnerable White-necked Picathartes has been recorded in the remnants of the closed forest in the reserve. Tingi hills forest reserve is the only site where the data dependent Baumann’s Greenbul has been recorded so far in Sierra Leone. The reserve accounts for 44.3% of the Guinea-Congo Biome restricted species recorded in Sierra Leone.
This forest reserve is home to a variety of mammals including the following threatened primates: Western Chimpanzee (En), Red Colobus Monkey (NT), Black-and-white Colobus Monkey (NT), Sooty Mangabey (NT). Other threatened mammals known from this site include Western Elephant (Vu), Pygmy Hippopotamus (Vu) and Forest Buffalo (CD).
Access and Facilities
The Tingi Hills Forest Reserve can be reached only by a motorable, unsurfaced road and track from Sefadu through Senehun, Yengadu and Kenewa, the nearest villages. Sefadu and Koidu, which are the nearest towns are 60 km and 70 km to the southwest respectively. The Sankan Birriwa can be seen from Nekoro, a village on the southern end of the reserve. The Loma Mountains forest reserve is within 40 km to the northwest of the Tingi. The scenery in the reserve can be described as breathtaking undulating mountain range. Pipe-borne water is not available, but a number of wells and streams provide water throughout the year. Campsites exist at ideal locations along the hill range into Sankan-Birriwa. There are a few tracks within the forest reserve normally used by local people and small mammals like antelopes.
Information provided courtesy of Conservation Society of Sierra Leone. Photo courtesy of Douglas Miller.