Liberia has reclaimed its position as one of the most promising tourist destinations in Africa after facing years of civil war that tore through its rich history.
The West African country has moved on, and definitely merits a top spot in your list of travel destinations to explore.
The Honorary Consul General of Liberia in Georgia, U.S.A, Cynthia L. Blandford puts in a good word for the country she represents as she invites the world to the place she calls home.
“Liberians are lively, friendly people and they love to share their incredible culture and delicious and spicy food with their friends and family alike. You will know for sure you have been properly greeted in Liberia when the outstretched hand of a Liberian welcomes you home with the Liberian handshake followed by a finger snap.”
Liberia is blessed with beautiful resorts, surfable white sand beaches, historical/ cultural sites, uninhabited islands, wildlife sanctuaries, eco-tourism parks, waterfalls, bustling markets, to name but a few.
After a long journey to the country, one deserves a stay at the Libassa eco-friendly beach and lagoon resort outside the capital Monrovia. It has the popular “lazy river” winding around its luxurious chalets overlooking a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean.
Nana’s Lodge is also an eco-friendly resort at the mouth of the surfable beach in Robertsport town in western Liberia. Guests sleep in thatched huts fitted with comfortable furniture. It is an ideal destination for surfers who can also opt to live at the Kwepunha Retreat in the town.
“I have stayed at the Kwepunha Retreat where the local fishermen pull fish right out of the ocean and cook it for you in this rustic lodge on the beach,” says Cynthia L. Blandford.
The Farmington Hotel located on the banks of the Farmington River less than 100 metres from Roberts International Airport near Monrovia has one of the best leisure facilities and conference centre of its kind. It recently hosted the 51st ECOWAS Summit.
There are other luxurious hotels in the country offering great local cuisine and wonderful hospitality services including the Kendeja Hotel, and the Grand Royal Hotel, Bella Casa Hotel.
The popular Anglers Bar and Restaurant has Karaoke night and offers a romantic view of the beach while having a tropical drink.
Other beaches recommended for surfing in Robertsport are Cotton Trees, Cassava Point and Fisherman’s Point for professionals and beginners respectively.
CeeCee Beach close to the historic Hotel Africa near Monrovia gives a much quieter experience and a perfect spot to swim in a lagoon.
For the beach party lovers, the Silver Beach is your go-to place in Monrovia; or the popular Thinker’s Beach.
“With the historical and cultural ties between Liberia and the United States dating back over 170 years, a visit to Robertsport, named after Liberia’s first African-American President Joseph Jenkins Roberts, would be a missed opportunity for sun and fun,” said Cynthia.
After you get refreshed, catch a glimpse of the historic Ducor Palace Hotel which is one of Africa’s first five-star hotels.
Built on the Ducor Hill in 1959, the once luxurious eight-storey world-class hotel was the capital’s highest point and the country’s main tourist attraction.
It has 106 luxurious rooms and hosted dozens of African leaders and international conferences until it closed down when the civil war began in 1989. It was later inhabited by displaced residents of Monrovia’s slums and never regained its status despite attempts to renovate it in 2010.
Not too far away is the iconic five-star Hotel Africa which was built in 1979 to host the guests of that year’s Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit held in Monrovia for the first time. It became the largest hotel in the country and had an iconic Africa map shaped pool.
The non-functional Cape Palmas Lighthouse in Harper will give you a bird’s eye view of the coastal town.
The Liberia National Museum in Monrovia will usher you into the historical perspective of the beautiful country through its art and historical exhibitions.
The Firestone Rubber Plantation near Monrovia is the largest in the world and a place worth a visit. Don’t miss the Firestone 9-hole golf course and restaurant where you can play a round of golf, have lunch and relax before going back to the city.
The Providence Island is where freed American slaves first disembarked in the country in 1822. There is a ceremonial site where people celebrate the return of their ancestors.
The Providence Baptist Church which is one of the oldest churches in West Africa still stands tall in Monrovia.
There are other monuments and buildings in Monrovia commemorating events and housing memorabilia of the country’s greatest leaders.
The Monkey Island is an archipelago of six islands on the Farmington River in Marshall inhabited by chimpanzees. The chimps were subjects of a hepatitis research for 30 years by a New York lab.
The research ended in 2005 and they were freed on the islands. While you won’t be able to land on the island, you can pay a fisherman to take you around in a canoe to catch a glimpse of the monkeys.
The Gola National Forest in the Gbarpolu County in northwest Liberia is home to several species of flora and fauna including birds, dragonfly, butterflies, frogs and several plants. It was established as a national forest in 1960 and covers 88,000 hectares bordering Sierra Leone.
Liberia’s only national park – Sapo National Park – is 1,808 square kilometres and home to elephants, antelopes, chimpanzees, African civet, giant forest hog, crocodiles, leopards among other animal species. It is located in Zwedru in the Grand Gedeh County and contains one of West Africa’s last remaining rainforests.
Liberia boasts of two waterfalls – Kpatawee Waterfall and Gbedin Waterfall. They are located in Gbarnga and Gbedin respectively. They are popular spots for picnics and swimming on a hot day. You can reach the falls after some few metres on foot.
You can’t leave Liberia without buying some artwork, textiles, shoes and any other souvenir at the Waterside Market in Monrovia – which is the largest in the country. Strike a bargain and the item is yours.
“Monrovia is memorable with great restaurants with huge, fresh lobster from the sea, live Liberian music and shopping for African fabric, beads, slippers and arts and crafts. Liberian honey is some of the best I have tasted and is quickly becoming a popular item to carry home for holiday gifts to loved ones,” hints Cynthia L. Blandford.
This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com