Geography of Sierra Leone – The Ultimate Free Guide 2021

  • Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the northeast.
  • Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a unicameral parliament and a directly elected president.
  • Sierra Leone achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, and Milton Margai became the country’s first Prime Minister.
  • Sixteen ethnic groups inhabit Sierra Leone, the two largest and most influential being the Temne and Mende peoples. About 2% of the country’s population are Krio, descendants of freed African American and West Indian slaves.

Geography of Sierra Leone


Sierra Leone Location Map

Sierra Leone Location Map
Fig:ontheworldmap.com

Region:

The country can be divided into four distinct physical regions:

  • The coastal swamp,
  • The Sierra Leone Peninsula,
  • The interior plains, and
  • The interior plateau and mountain region.

Area:

71,740 km2

Capital:

Freetown

Population:

78.1 lakhs

Bordering Countries:

It is bordered on the
North and East – Guinea, on the
South – Liberia, and on the
West – Atlantic Ocean.

Demonym(s):

Sierra Leonean

Geographical Coordinates:

8.4606° N, 11.7799° W

World Region or Continent:

Africa

General Terrain:

Coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east.

Geographical Low Point:

 Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Geographical High Point:

Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m

Climate:

  • The climate is tropical; although it could be classified as a tropical monsoon climate, it could also be described as a climate that is transitional between a continually wet tropical rainforest climate and a tropical savanna climate.

Major cities:

  • Freetown
  • Kenema
  • Bo
  • Koidu
  • Makeni
  • Waterloo
  • Port Loko

Land use:

Arable land: 24.4%
Permanent crops: 2.3%
Permanent pasture: 30.5%
Forest: 37.5%
Other: 6.3%

Major Rivers and Lakes:

Major Rivers:

  • Great Scarcies River
  • Little Scarcies River 
  • Mabole River
  • Mongo River
  • Lolo River
  • Sierra Leone River
  • Rokel River 
  • Bankasoka River 
  • Ribi River
  • Bumpe River
  • Kagboro Creek
  • Sherbro River
  • Bagru River
  • Jong River
  • Pampana River
  • Teye River
  • Kittam River
  • Sewa River
  • Bagbe River
  • Bafi River
  • Waanje River
  • Moa River
  • Meli River
  • Mano River
  • Mahoi River
  • Moro River

Major Lakes:

  • Lake Sonfon,
  • Lake Mabesi, and
  • Lake Mape.

Environment Current Issues:

Rapid population growth pressuring the environment; over harvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion; civil war depleting natural resources; over fishing

Natural Resources:

  • Diamonds,
  • Titanium ore,
  • Bauxite,
  • Iron ore,
  • Gold,
  • Chromite.

Major Geographical Features:

Biomes & Ecosystems:

  • Woodland is one of the dominant land cover types in Sierra Leone.
  • It is found in the major ecoregions – on slopes and uplands of the Koinadugu and Kono Plateaus, and on the Interior and Coastal Plains, among the savannas and thickets.

Topography:

  • Stretches of wooded hill country lead east and northeast to a plateau region generally ranging in elevation from 300 to 610 m (1,000 to 2,000 ft).
  • There are peaks of over 1,830 m (6,000 ft), reaching a maximum of 1,948 m (6,390 ft) at Loma Mansa (Bintimani) in the Loma Mountains.

Oceans:

Atlantic Ocean.

Islands:

  • Banana Islands
  • Bunce Island
  • Kagbeli Island
  • Mes-Meheux, Sierra Leone
  • Sherbro Island
  • Timbo Island, Sierra Leone
  • Tiwai Island
  • Turtle Islands, Sierra Leone
  • York Island (Sierra Leone)

Mountain Ranges:

  • Mount Bintumani
  • Picket Hill
  • Loma Mountains
  • Sugar Loaf

Province of Sierra Leone:

  1. Eastern Province.
  2. Northern Province.
  3. North West Province.
  4. Southern Province.

Facts about Sierra Leone:

1. Sierra Leone was home for freed African slaves in the 18th Freetown, the country’s capital, became the “Province of Freedom”. The freed slaves either settled there for good or treated it as their departure point to go back to their African homeland. The first settlers were a little less than 500 people and mostly died due to disease and tribal wars. The second settlers were around 1,200 people from Nova Scotia. They were more successful in building a new home. As more slaves were emancipated in other parts of the world, more people arrived and settled in Sierra Leone.

2. One of the most historic and well-known symbols of Freetown (Sierra Leone’s capital city) is the Cotton Tree. It’s believed that in 1792 a group of ex-slaves from America, who had fought with the British in the War of Independence, settled in Freetown and gathered around the giant cotton tree to pray for gaining their freedom. The Cotton Tree is not only the oldest such tree in Freetown but experts also believe that it may be the world’s oldest one. Modern-day citizens of Sierra Leone still routinely make offerings and pray to their ancestors under the Cotton Tree.

3. If there is one thing that this small nation is blessed with is its rich mineral resource. Sierra Leone is famous for its diamonds. Apart from diamonds, bauxite and titanium are also extracted on large scale. It also produces gold and rutile on a large scale.

4. One most distinguishable factor about Sierra Leone is its rich and diverse cultural heritage. It is a collection of people from across West Africa, Europe (Mostly French) and Asia (mostly Lebanese). There are also Krio whose ancestry can be traced to slaves from the Americas and thus could owe their origin from different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

5. Founded in 1995, Sierra Leone is home to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary located in the rain forest of the Western Area National Park which comprises an area of some 100 acres of land. This wildlife refuge serves to protect and rehabilitate confiscated, abused, orphaned, and/or abandoned chimps to safely release the animals back into the wild. Currently, approximately 75 chimpanzees are living at the sanctuary.

Detailed Map of Sierra Leone

Detailed Map of Sierra leone
Fig:ontheworldmap.com

Physical Map

Physical Map of Sierra leone
Fig:ontheworldmap.com

See Also:

World Map

References:

UPSC Overflow
 

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