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Honeymoon in Liberia

For surfers, the highlight of a trip to Liberia is surfing off Robertsport.

Liberia is a country with historical ties to the United States. It was founded by freed black slaves during the pre-Civil War antebellum era of the nineteenth century. The capital, Monrovia, was named after James Monroe. Liberia's flag closely resembles the American flag, reflecting the historical ties between the two countries.

Liberia is recovering from a devastating civil war that ended with a ceasefire in August 2003. While the country is now on the mend, it has not yet redeveloped the necessary infrastructure to sustain a large increase in tourism, with little for the average visitor outside Monrovia. Towns like Buchanan, Ganta, etc are little more than a collection of shanty houses with no decent hotels or food. Monrovia in general is calmer than the more far-flung areas although the situation countrywide is improving with the presence of UN Peacekeepers. Fear should not stop you enjoying your visit but act with caution. Travel outside Monrovia is very difficult and not advisable on your own.

Cities

  • Monrovia - the capital and with a population of around one million people is Liberia's largest city.
  • Robertsport - Coastal town with excellent surfing opportunities, a comfortable holiday lodge and a beachside campsite.
  • Greenville
  • Harper - Located at the southeast of the country, Harper is the former capital of Maryland. It is known for its beautiful beaches and beach houses. Now these houses are dilapidated but its still possible to get a sense of the glory of the past.
  • Paynesville - interesting for BASE-Jumpers

liberia honeymoonOther destinations

  • Sapo National Park - Liberia's sole national park.
  • Blue Lake - 72 kilometres west of Monrovia, Liberia's capital, comes a natural wonder.
  • Providence Island - a tiny island between downtown Monrovia and the Freeport. It lies at the mouth of the Mesurado River where early settlers to Liberia first settled between 1820 and 1822.
  • Lake Piso - located in Grand Cape Mount County and is a saltwater lake with an open connection to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Atlantic Coastal Beaches - Bernard's Beach, CeCe Beach, ELWA Beach, Kendejah Beach, Kenema Beach, Thinkers Village Beach.

Language

English is spoken by most Liberians but especially if you are travelling to more remote areas, a local guide will be useful.

What to see

  • 'Blo Degbo' Human face rock in Paynesville, near Monrovia (Note: this is not a developed tourist destination, so make sure it is a safe place to visit)
  • Rain forests are usually found in remote areas, most are unique and have many attractive feautures,but on the other hand some are risky because of their wildlife.

There are plenty of beaches around Monrovia. Out towards the airport after ELWA junction is ELWA beach, set inside a compound there is a marked safe swimming area, clean beach and plenty of familes at the weekends. No facilites though. Further on is Thinkers (pronounced Tinkers) with a food and drinks service, though the waves are a bit rough here, and it is not safe to walk up or down the beach too far. CE CE beach out the other way, over the bridge out to Hotel Africa is very well set up with palm umbrellas, drinks service and a buffet, and a well protectd swimming area.

For an interesting day trip, Robertsport offers a glimpse of Liberia's cultural history as well as clean, beautiful beaches. A group of South Africans has set up a tent camp for those wishing to spend the night on the beach and the UN also offers accommodations on a first-come basis. Beware the strong tides.

The city of Buchanan, a several hour car ride from Monrovia, also offers sublime beaches and a selection of restaurants and guest houses.liberia honeymoon

Buy

Liberia is well-known for its beautiful masks. Masks are on sale around hotels and UN centres. After haggling, they will cost you about $25 (depending on the size etc.)

There is beautiful printed fabric in Liberia. It is sold in lapas (usually 2), one lapa is 2 yards. 3 lapas of the best quality, real wax, will cost about $15.

Money & Banking

There are limited ways to use credit cards. Bring US dollars in cash with you (most transactions at Western businesses are done in USD) or transfer money through Moneygram or Western Union. Ecobank on Randall Street is used by many foreigners. You can cash travellers cheques, although you need proof of purchase-paper. If someone gives you Liberian Dollars in change, accept it because it will be useful to have some on hand for very small purchases, but once you have a little, be sure to get dollars back (except when your change is less than a dollar, they use local currency in lieu of coins).

There are a few ATM's being installed in the city.

Costs

Liberia can be very expensive or very inexpensive for a tourist depending on what amenities you want. There are now several ATMs in central Monrovia that issue US dollars for VISA card holders.

Food

Eating Liberian food can be enjoyable and easy on the pocketbook. Liberian meals like palm butter, casava leaf, potato greens, chock rice, and jollof's rice will barely leave a dint in your budget (US$2-3 with a soda). Portions are usually enormous. Another popular local dish is fufu (fermented dough made from the cassava plant) and soup (the most common are goat soup and pepper soup). Fried or roasted fish, especially snapper, can be delicious. And for those who like to eat on the go, fruit and snacks can be bought from street vendors throughout Monrovia. Peanuts, fried plantain chips, roasted ears of corn or plantains, bananas, mangos, and other fruits can be had for LD$5-20 (or US$0.10-0.30). Especially delicious are the various breads sold freshly baked in the morning. Some breads resemble banana bread, other breads are more like corn bread. All are delicious although somewhat oily.

Drink

Club beer is the staple drink, served everywhere. Local gin is also available.

Where to sleep

Usually hotels are considered quite safe as the owners will employ guards. However, don't be complacent and make sure that you are aware of your security also in the hotels. Be prepared to pay your entire bill in cash (USD).

Learn

Liberia has just come from devastating war, so the learning curriculum is not the best at all. As a tourist personally, you can learn about many attractions in Monrovia. You can personally learn a lot about Liberia's culture, art, design,etc. It would be easy if you associated with trusted foreigners to give a personal tour and as a tourist, you can learn about this poor but interesting historical country.

Climate

The equatorial climate is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October with a short interlude in mid-July to August. During the winter months of November to March dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland causing many problems for residents.

History

Anthropological research shows the region of Liberia was inhabited at least as far back as the 12th century, perhaps earlier. Between 1461 and the late 17th century, Portuguese, Dutch and British traders had contacts and trading posts in Liberia. The Portuguese had named the area Costa da Pimenta, later translated as Grain Coast, because of the abundance of grains of melegueta pepper.

In 1822, the American Colonization Society which was the primary vehicle for returning black Americans to greater freedom in Africa, established Liberia as a place to send people who were formerly enslaved. This movement of black people by the A.C.S. had broad support nationwide among white people in America. While the institution of slavery in America grew, reaching almost four million slaves by the mid 1800's, a growing population in the U.S. chose to emigrate to Liberia as well. African-Americans gradually migrated to the colony and became known as Americo-Liberians, from whom many present day Liberians trace their ancestry. On July 26, 1847, Americo-Liberian settlers declared independence of the Republic of Liberia.

Liberia retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa, but lost its claim to extensive territories that were annexed by Britain and France. Economic development was hindered by the decline of markets for Liberian goods in the late 19th century and by indebtedness on a series of loans, payments on which drained the economy.

On April 12, 1980, a successful military coup was staged by a group of noncommissioned army officers led by Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe. The soldiers were a mixture of the various ethnic groups that claimed marginalization at the hands of the minority Americo-Liberian settlers. In late 1989, the First Liberian Civil War began and the country was in state of war to varying degrees until the ceasefire in 2003.

Source : Wikitravelpedia.com

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