The East Nimba Nature Reserve is located in the North of Liberia, in Nimba County at the border to Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Coming from Monrovia you will take the route Ganta-Sanniquellie-Yekepa. Monrovia and Ganta are connected by a well-maintained tar road; from Ganta onwards you will only find dirt roads, which especially in the rainy season might turn into bad condition and require a 4×4 vehicle.
Administratively, the ENNR is divided into three zones. The ENNR’s Headquarter is at Zortapa (Zone 1), and there are two additional Ranger Posts, one in Geipa (Zone 2) and one in Camp 4 (Zone 3). If you want to reach the Headquarter or Geipa, you have to turn right at the Sehykimpa Junction (which is just a short distance after Sanniquellie); to reach Camp 4/Yekepa go straight. Due to logistics (see below), most visitors come to Yekepa; but you can also visit the southern parts of ENNR starting from Zortapa and Geipa.
Chief Park Warden/Park Biologist:
Korvah Vanyanbah, 077088329
Zone 1 Warden, Zortapa:
Moses N. Gonsahn, 0777949463
Zone 2 Warden, Geipa:
Mohammed Sirleaf, 0776524048
Zone 3 Warden, Camp 4:
Samuel M. Freeman, 0776530217
In terms of logistics and infrastructure, best vantage point to visit ENNR is Yekepa, both previous and today’s mining companies’ Headquarters, located 5 km north of Camp 4, close to the Guinean Border. There is one hotel that offers rooms between 30. – and 60. – US$, and also prepares food on order:
Alvino Hotel INC.
Nimba County, Yekepa
- Tel: (+231)775324347 / 770279522
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Close to Alvino Hotel there are two local bars / restaurants (Koyah Pia and Green Bar) and one MiniMarket that offers among others “western” products such as dairy products, frozen and canned food, prepares sandwiches etc. It’s also possible to eat in ArcelorMittal’s canteen. In general, especially for bigger groups, it is advisable to order food in advance. Further, there is a local market (“P-Market”) and some smaller shops, which also sell bottled drinking water.
Given that in the past, before the Reserve was established, mining operations also took place within the northern parts of ENNR, the Reserve is accessible by car via two tar roads in the North, the Blue Lake Road and Cellcom Road (also known as Old Mine Road).
Although logistics are more favourable in the North, you can also visit the other parts of ENNR in Zone 1 and Zone 2. Zortapa and Geipa (both accessible by car) have no accommodation facilities yet, but it is possible to camp on the Ranger Station’s ground if you bring your own camping equipment. You should also bring all the food you will need. The rangers can arrange local people for cooking and fetching water for taking showers etc.. Concerning drinking water, both Zortapa and Geipa have a well, but if you want to be on the safe side you should bring enough bottled water for your trip. No car roads are leading from Zortapa and Geipa to the Reserve, but it is possible to hire a motorbike taxi (Zortapa) and /or walk (ca. 40 min from Geipa) to reach the boundary line.
Mobile coverage: There are three GSM Towers within ENNR (Cellcom, Lonestar, Novafone), so most parts in and around the Reserve have cellphone coverage.
Money can be changed in Yekepa and Sanniquellie.
In Yekepa there is also a branch of LBDI (open Mon-Fri 09-14:00h).
The East Nimba Nature Reserve Co-Management Committee (CMC) and Forestry Development Authority (FDA) welcome you to East Nimba Nature Reserve! Please respect that this is a Protected Area and refrain from hunting, fishing, farming, putting fire and any other activities, since this is illegal and will be prosecuted, based on the Liberia Protected Area Law. Please also understand that there is an entrance fee for visitors which will help the CMC/FDA with the daily management and protection of the ReservePlease obtain your Entry Permit before entering the Reserve at your destination’s nearest FDA Ranger Station. If you want to visit the southern part, this would be the Headquarter in Zortapa, if you go to the North/Yekepa, please get in touch with the Zone 3 Warden in Camp 4. Thank you!
What to do
Visit Blue Lake and old mining facilities (Zone 3)
The impacts of the previous mining activities in northern ENNR are still visible today. At least 10% of the Reserve has been severely affected by mining operations. The most conspicuous feature is the site of the former Liberian American Minerals Company (LAMCO) iron ore mine, leading to the creation of “Blue Lake“ and its surrounding terraces. You can drive up to Blue Lake, have a picnic, enjoy the amazing landscape and take a refreshing bath in the lake. There is also a lot of abandoned mining equipment and old buildings left in ENNR, mostly along Blue Lake Road, which are also worth a visit.
|Blue Lake and its surrounding terraces|
|Old mining equipment in ENNR|
Visit Picnic Site (Zone 3)
There are several good viewing points in ENNR, one that is easy to access is a spot called “Picnic Site” along Cellcom Road in Zone 3. It was one of the famous recreation places during mining operations in the past. You can reach it by car, and, while having a picnic, enjoy a great view of Blue Lake, Guinea and Yekepa. Since at the Picnic Site today is nothing more left than a concrete platform, you will have to bring some chairs and tables, if you don’t want to sit on the ground. And of course your picnic and drinks!
The CMC still needs to identify and designate public camping areas within ENNR, but for now it is possible to use the existing ranger camps in all three Zones. It is also possible to camp at Blue Lake.
ENNR offers a lot of hiking trails of different lengths and levels of difficulty. Please find some suggestions below.
Trinational Border (Zone 3)
Starting from Blue Lake, you can hike to the transnational border between Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Set your foot across the border on the other country’s ground! Features: approx. 11 km (return trip), 5-7 hours, physically demanding
|View into Côte d’Ivoire on the hike to the trinational border|
|The demarcation stone at the trinational border (Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire)|
Blue Lake – Cellcom Tower (Zone 3)
Starting from Blue Lake, you walk towards Cellcom Tower, which is located at the end of Cellcom Road. There are 2 ways, one leading across the mountain ridge, the other one below the ridge (less demanding). You can do a round trip or arrange a car to pick you up at Cellcom Road.
Features: approx. 6 km (return trip), 3-4 hours, easy – medium
Blue Lake – Sehtuntuo (Zone 3/2)
Starting from Blue Lake, you mainly walk downhill into Sehtuntuo Valley in Zone 2, finally reaching Sehtuntuo Village, where you can be picked up by a car.
Features: approx. 7,5 km (one way), 4-5 hours, medium
Waterfall (all Zones)
There are several waterfalls in ENNR, at different hiking distances and levels of difficulty. Please check with the Ranger Stations for more details.
Caves (Zone 1, 2)
There are several caves in ENNR, especially in Zone 1 and 2. Please check with the Ranger Stations for more details on hiking distances and levels of difficulty.
Although there is no guarantee to see chimpanzees, the best option currently is to do a multi-day survey either in the southwestern part of ENNR in Zone 1, or in the northeastern part in Zone 2. According to the Ranger’s preliminary biomonitoring data, these two areas seem to contain higher densities of chimpanzees than others. It’s recommended to plan several days for the survey and camp in the Reserve.
Old LAMCO swimming pool in Yekepa
Sanniquellie – nothing spectacular, but good for shopping food for surveys
Please note: The CMC cannot provide any transport / vehicle
What to bring
What to bring depends on what you want to do, here are just some suggestions:
Backpack, binoculars, camera, camping equipment, food and drinking water, good hiking shoes, medical supplies/first aid kit, mobile, mosquito repellent, torch…..