The rainforests of West Africa have been earmarked as one of the world's hotspots for biodiversity. These forests extend from Senegal to Togo, and are referred to as the Upper Guinean forests. These are separated from the rest of the African rainforests by the Dahomey gap: an extension of the woodland savanna from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea. As a result of its isolated position, the Upper Guinea forest zone harbours a large number of endemic animal and plant species. Tacugama's 100 acres of protected area boasts a plethora of wildlife and plant biodiversity. Walking around the sanctuary you can very easily stumble upon hundreds of rare species of plants and animals.
Sierra Leone is located on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, and lies at the western end of the upper Guinean Forest Block. It is one of the most severely deforested countries in the region. At the beginning of the century about 70% of Sierra Leone was covered by mature closed forest, but by 1976 this number had been reduced to 5%. Another 3.5% was under secondary forest.
The Western Area Forest covers the hills of the Freetown Peninsula and is the westernmost area of closed-canopy forest remaining in Sierra Leone. It is separated by about 160 km from the nearest area of the closed canopy forest at Bo.
Most of the Western Area Forest is classified as Guineo-Congolian rainforest of the hygrophilous coastal evergreen type. It has a closed canopy at about 30m with emergent trees rising above this canopy. The drier rocky slopes and summits support low scrub forest. The laterite pans are covered by natural grassland, since the soil there is too poor to support scrub or high forest. As a result of past human activities very little of the original rainforest remains in an undisturbed state.
The climate is tropical with relatively constant temperatures. The maximum and minimum temperatures varying between 30 °C and 25 °C in April, and 27 °C and 23 °C in August.