Loma Mountains No Hunting Forest Reserve (or Mount Bintumani park) is in Sierra Leone.
Your guide to the peak might bring a gun to hunt even if the park is called "no hunting park". Mount Bintumani is the highest peak between Morocco and Cameroon at 1,945m above sea level. The vast majority of visitors come during the dry season because of accessibility.
Flora and fauna
Take a bus to Kabala. If you can't find a direct bus, then go to Makeni and then take a bus to Kabala. After you have reached Kabala, find motorbike guys who are usually hanging around the central roundabout with a Big Ben like tower. The spot is next to the final stop of your bus from Freetown.
Ask the motorcycle drivers for a lift to Sinekoro village because you want to climb Mount Bintumani. It's a 3 hour motorcycle ride so it would cost about 20 USD one way. The journey itself is a great off-road adventure experience. Sinekoro is 50km east of Kabala and Mount Bintumani is 60km south-east from Kabala.
Fees and permits
When you reach Sinekoro village you will be directed to the chief. Talk to him, explain your intentions to climb the mountain and he will charge you something between 5 and 20 USD. You can negotiate the price, you always get a reply "there is no fixed price, everyone pays differently".
The only transportation option available is walking.
- Mount Bintumani
- Waterfall next to camp 2 on the way to Bintumani peak
- Local bush school which has few classes and a handful of students
- Local church where you might encounter kids killing baby bats and bringing them home for a tea
Hiking Mount Bintumani
The total hike from Sinekoro village to the peak and back is 29 km. You start at 400 m above sea level at the village and finish at 1,945 m, so the hike itself is challenging and a few parts are very steep. Allow two full days to complete the hike. The guide charges you per night so ideally you have to start early morning, sleep at camp 2 and get down the next day. Guides are fit, on daily basis they do manual labour in the heat.
A guide will cost about 9 USD per day. Porters are available too but are not required for an average hiker because backpacks are light and duration is no more than two nights.
It's not recommended but you can walk yourself too following a hiking GPS coordinate path , This GPS track indicates that the actual walk starts in a hamlet called Foria some 20km south of Sinekoro village.
A few houses in the village sells edible things.
Food options are limited to rice, bread and spices. Ask locals to arrange a meal for you but donate generously for a meal (1-2 USD)
There's camp 1 and camp 2 on the way to the peak. Both have streams of water running down the hill. There should be a waterfall too.
Accommodation is free anywhere but you just need to ask around or let the chief to arrange it. You will be offered to sleep at local school or at chief's brick bed.
Camping in free anywhere in the village. Beware of rains so do not build your tent on lower parts of the village.
Remember to pack for your trip following items before you set off for the national park:
- Mosquito net. It's difficult to find one in the village.
- Water purification tablets. Locals drink water from a stream but you might as well purify it.
- Warmer clothes. Sleeping at camp 2 at 1,300 m above sea level might be chilly.
- Power-bank and pre-charged batteries. There is no electricity in the village.