Explorers Connect

Postponed: Sierra Leone Packrafting expedition with Secret Compass

Join a TeamJames Hipkiss

EXPEDITION AIM - This expedition will run in May 2015 to coincide with the Sierra Leone Marathon organised by the charity Streetchild. If you wish to take part in both you can do so. When Marathon dates are announced, Secret Compass will update this page; anticipate a 16-day expedition from late May 2015.The Moa River is one of the major rivers in Sierra Leone. The area through which the Moa River flows includes the Gola Rainforest, the largest remnant of the Upper Guinea Rainforest, with its abundant wildlife and fascinating local culture. Along the banks of the river are gallery forests broken by farmlands, woodland savannah and forest catchment. Towards the Atlantic Ocean we will start to pass through mangrove vegetation with extensive mudflats.

Following the amazing experience of our 2013 expedition we cant wait to return to complete a full descent of the legendary Moa River, navigating from the Guinean border to the sea on foot and in canoes.HIGHLIGHTS Become one of a handful of outsiders to have travelled down the Moa River. Experience a nation brimming with hope and optimism, following years of war. Gain an insight into the lives of rural village life, unchanged for centuries. Relax on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean on Sierra Leones famed paradise beaches.DURATION: 16 DaysGROUP SIZE:12DATES: 23rd May - 3rd JuneCOST: 2,299GRADING: 180CULTURE AND CLANSThe people along the Moa River are known to be the custodians of secret societies, and they also carry traditional practices into urban settings. There are vibrant cultural happenings, especially after the harvest season in January and February, when boys and girls are initiated into the Poro and Bondo secret societies respectively, which still play dominant political and social roles in this remote region of the country.

Traditional methods, such as the pouring of libation to ancestral spirits are still being practiced. People live in clans, each with an animal totem as a family symbol, with numerous ceremonies presided over by traditional priests. There is a lot of mythology amongst the tribes in the area about their relationship with the animals they co-exist with. Talismans and magic are still used to this day to ward off bad spirits and to perform various supernatural feats. KAMAJORS AND MAGICIn the areas that we will be travelling through, the Kamajors are hunters of legend. More known in the West for their involvement in the recent brutal civil war against the government, in Sierra Leone they are said to have supernatural powers such as being able to become invisible, to dodge bullets and to transform into animals and trees.WILDLIFE AND ECO TOURISM - Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the Moa River, bordering the Gola Rainforest Reserve and is a part of the remaining Upper Guinea Rainforest in Sierra Leone. Tiwai Island provides a unique environment for eco-tourism and research with a vast biodiversity on its relatively small area of 12 km.

The density and diversity of wildlife is high with 11 primate species including both threatened and endangered species from chimpanzee and olive colobus to pygmy hippopotamus and white-breasted guinea fowl. The forest is also home to approximately 600 plant species including several valuable trees and some endemic herbaceous plants. We will spend at least a day here.TRIBE WANTED - The Tribe wanted initiative is to build sustainable communities in amazing places that benefit the locals and visiting members; inspiring positive change within the local communities and beyond. This community has a spectacular beach with a vibrant local community and culture. The partnership has been created with Government, landowners, and the John Obey community to create an eco-village, where we will stay at the conclusion of the expedition.