West Africa

beyond the beaten path

The cultures of West Africa are deeply religious, and much of the cultural life and monuments revolve around spirituality. Generally it takes time - and a whole lot of patience - to move around in West Africa. The roads are not all in great condition and many roads aren't paved.If you really want to get off-the-beaten-path, prepare for some serious adventuring. Tiwai Island, a refuge teeming with numerous rare monkey species, as well as the occasional pygmy hippopotamus, is theoretically not so hard to reach, but Sierra Leone is hard enough to get to, and you will need some serious time to get there and do it justice. The biosphere reserve of the Bijagos Islands is similarly well set up for a visit, but it's just hard to get there, in rarely visited Guinea-Bissau. For the truly adventurous (or simply insane), Sapo National Park is in a terribly dangerous section of Liberia, requires a permit to visit (and is visited almost only by poachers), has no paths or roads, and no accommodations in or near the park. But it is a great refuge of West Africa's remaining tropical rainforest and its most rare species: forest elephants, pygmy hippopotamuses, monkeys, chimpanzees, and more.
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Sierra Leone by Annie Spratt
Cape Coast, Ghana by Jared Poledna

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