Sierra Leone Geography
Apart from the Freetown peninsula with its soaring mountains (Leicester Peak: 567 m), the west consists of a hull area of approx. 150 m high, which is interspersed with individual island mountains. Upstream is the 40-80 km wide coastal lowland with mangrove swamps. In front of it are individual islands, namely the Banana Islands (consisting of the two main islands Rickett and Banana Island with a few smaller islands), the Turtle Islands and Sherbro Island in the middle section of the coast which is also called Bonthe Island. Behind the damp coastal plain begins the forest area, which is partly used for agriculture. Most of the original rainforest has been cleared except for the south-east of the country.
More and more areas are being placed under protection, such as the area of the Gola National Park. The Gola Rainforest National Park, the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary and the Western Area Peninsula National Park are on the list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In the north of the country the high plateau of the Guinea Highlands begins with elevations of over 1830 m in the Loma Mountains and the Tingi Hills. The highest mountain in West Africa, Mount Bintumani, is 1948 m in the Loma Mountains. Savannah predominates in the north. The three largest rivers are called Moro, Rokel and Mano. The Mano River forms the natural border with Liberia. Other important waters are Bagbe, Jong, Mabole, Meli (on the eastern border with Guinea), Moa, Mongo, Pampana, Great Scarcies (on the western border with Guinea), and Sewa.
The air in Sierra Leone is tropical humid up to 5000 mm per year with precipitation on the coast, where the average temperatures generally between 23 ° C and 32 ° C are. The year is characterized by a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season starts in May and ends around September. The dry season is characterized by the sandy and cool desert wind Harmattan and a hot period from February to April. Locally, because of the harmattans, which blow for a few weeks between December and February, they speak of three seasons. Average temperatures in the north of the country in Kabala are 25.5 ° C. In the south in Bo they are between 20 ° C and 37 ° C, on the coast in Freetown between 23 ° C and 32 ° C. The coastal climate on the Freetown Peninsula tends to be milder and more pleasant than inland.
As a country located in Western Africa according to areacodesexplorer, Sierra Leone is very rich in natural resources. The most important raw materials are bauxite, diamonds, gold and rutile (titanium oxide). Bauxite occurs in the north, south and on the Freetown Peninsula. Bauxite extraction was stopped during the civil war and resumed in 2006. Diamonds are mainly mined in the east and southeast of the country in the Kono, Kenema and Bo districts. Gold is in the north (Sula Mountains and Kangari Hills) and east of the country (Gori Hills). Sierra Leone also has the largest natural rutile deposit in the world in the south of the country. In addition, lignite, chromium, iron ore, graphite, columbite, manganese, molybdenum, platinum and rhodium are extracted in smaller quantities. In 2009 a large oil field was discovered off the coast of Sierra Leone. It is not yet clear whether the funding will be worthwhile. The export of raw materials is sometimes unregulated, but the illegal trade in diamonds has steadily declined since the end of the civil war.
Flora and fauna
Sierra Leone offers with its different habitats from coastal areas over mangrove swamps and savannah to the primary and secondary jungle of a rich flora and fauna. In the north the savannah and grassland dominate, where elephant grass grows during the rainy season. Low grassland is characteristic in the south, secondary rainforest and high grassland are found in the southeast. There is also a smaller proportion of marshland and primary rainforest. The most important tree in the marshland is the red mangrove, which can reach a height of 30 m. The oil palm is widespread and economically important for the population, as its products are used both for self-sufficiency and for sale. OfCotton tree, the most prominent representative in Sierra Leone, grows in the center of the capital Freetown. It is also called “Kapok” by the population after the alternative name “Kapok tree” and is mostly found in wooded areas. Other important crops are mango trees, rose apples, guava and papaya, which is known locally as “pawpaw”.
Until before the war there were many wild animals that left the area or were killed during the war. Sometimes only small populations or no representatives at all are left. The animals are generally rarely seen. Primates are widespread today, 15 species are known to date, six of which are endangered. You can mainly find them on Tiwai Island, in the Gola Forest, on Mount Bintumani and in the Outamba-Kilimi National Park. Occasionally one meets different dwarf antelopes. Forest elephants that have returned from Guinea can be found in the Outamba-Kilimi National Park as representatives of the large mammal family. There are also hippos who also live in Outamba-Kilimi National Park on the Little Scarcies River and in Gola National Park. The pygmy hippopotamus occurs almost exclusively in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In Sierra Leone, it lives on Tiwai Island and only appears at night. The leopard can only be found sporadically, in 1980 it was estimated that there were still between 50-100 animals. Various species of crocodiles also live in the rivers, the largest being the Nile crocodile. The armored crocodile can be found near forest rivers. The common crocodile lives mainly in mangrove swamps. There is also a great variety of birds and insects.