Our immediate impressions of Tiwai Island, a wildlife sanctuary/research facility and community-led conservation initiative in Sierra Leone’s southeast, weren’t the best: Here we found ourselves on a hot, buggy tropical island in the isolated Moa River, with two very quiet nights ahead. The common area for guests, a large domed, open-sided solar-powered hut in the middle of a forest clearing, offered little distraction other than an information board and a few wooden tables. Same for the simple wood-roofed platforms, each holding one or two tents, dotting the clearing’s perimeter.
Scott and I had been relatively unplugged since arriving in Sierra Leone a week and a half earlier, but this was a whole new level of solitude for us. Had we made a mistake booking two nights, and not just one?