Liberia, Africa - Stein Travel



    • 16+ years

    • 12-15 years

    • 2-11 years

    • 0-23 months


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Welcome to Liberia

One of the poorest nations in Africa and only recently emerging from a bloody civil war in which 300,000 of its people died, Liberia is a land boasting 350 miles (563 km) of tropical beaches juxtaposed by pristine wildernesses and verdant rainforests. It may be on the mend under the highly regarded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, re-elected in peaceful elections in 2011, but sadly travel to Liberia is currently not recommended due to its political situation and lack of infrastructure.

Originally founded as a refuge for liberated American slaves, it's not hard to find reflections of the historical ties between the United States and this struggling country, located on just north of the equator on the western bulge of Africa. The capital of Monrovia is named after 5th President of the United States, James Monroe and the country's flag closely resembles the American flag.

There are several worthwhile attractions outside of the dilapidated capital Monrovia. The city of Buchanan offers breathtaking beaches, a modest selection of restaurants and a handful of guesthouses. A day trip to Robertsport is a must, where visitors can take a peek into the cultural history of Liberia and relax on some of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in the country. A tent camp for those wishing to spend the night on the beach has been set up by a group of South Africans while the UN also offers accommodations on a first-come basis.

Liberia's key attraction is the Sapo National Park, the largest untouched tract of rainforest in Western Africa and incorporating the Nimba Mountains, which are abundant in spectacular wildlife such as elephants, leopards, buffalo, pygmy hippos and monkeys. Game viewing by taking a boating trip along the Sinoe River is a popular activity.

Foreigners are advised to travel only in an organised tour and never venture out alone. Gangs of former combatants are known to walk around poorer areas of Monrovia while women should prepare themselves for plenty of unwanted attention and marriage proposals from local men. Health care facilities are sparse and diseases such as typhoid and malaria are very common. Travellers are advised to take care with their personal hygiene, as there are many risks involved in every day situations.

Not a typical or ideal tourist destination right now, but when the skies of political turmoil clear and make way for picture perfect sunsets, Liberia is sure to be top on the list of West African destinations to visit.


Customs

Travellers to Liberia should not be unduly worried about transgressing social etiquette. Avoid boisterous behaviour and ostentatious displays of wealth, and make sure to smile at and greet people in the street (especially when they have made eye contact with you). Unfortunately, due to the extreme safety precautions one must exercise when visiting Liberia, foreigners may find it impossible to 'scratch under the surface' of Liberian society.

Duty Free

Visitors to Liberia may import the following goods duty-free: 200 cigarettes/25 cigars/250g of tobacco, one litre of spirits and one litre of wine, 100g perfume and one litre eau de toilette, and gifts valued at US$125.

Passport Visa

All foreign passengers to Liberia require a visa. Holders of a pre-arranged visa can obtain a visa on arrival, provided that: (i) they are entering from a country without diplomatic representation of Liberia; (ii) their visa has been pre-arranged and paid for by a local sponsor in Liberia; and (iii) the transporting carrier in Monrovia is informed of the following details: the passenger's name, nationality, document number, flight number, date of arrival, and address of stay in Liberia. Note that passengers should not be boarded unless a telex confirmation from the airline's station manager in Monrovia is stapled to the ticket. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Liberia. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


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