Liberia’s journey hasn’t been the easiest. The nation was established on the darker histories of the 18th and 19th centuries, as it was founded by emancipated slaves. But for the former slaves who had been freed, Liberia also represented a fresh sense of freedom. It symbolized returning to one’s roots and having one’s own nation to rule. This article highlights some of the beautiful places a tourist can explore on their visit to Liberia.
12 Best Places To Visit In Liberia
There is also certainly no denying the absolute beauty to be found along the shimmering golden stretches of Atlantic coast, at the roaring surf spots and between the dense, chimp-peppered jungles of the inland! Take a look at 12 of the best places to visit in Liberia.
- Sapo National Park
- Gola National Forest
- Bushrod Island
1. Sapo National Park
The Sapo National Park is without a doubt the most well-known of Liberia’s two national parks.
One of the highest mammal biodiversity counts in the world is claimed to be present in this 1,804 square kilometer region of the Upper Guinean Rainforest.
People with a sense of adventure who choose to explore the old growth forests will have the opportunity to see chimpanzees, crocodiles, leopards, speckle-throated otters, pygmy hippopotami, and white-crested Diana monkeys.
There is also a fascinating past to explore, since tragic events occurred here throughout Liberia’s civil conflicts and even a full-fledged gold rush occurred in the early 2000s.
More over one million Liberians live in Monrovia, a bustling, refined, and smart city (at least in its own, very West African style).
It is the largest city in the nation and a vibrant location.
Broad Street, a bustling boulevard tucked between the Mesurado River’s meanders and the Atlantic Ocean, is a picture of life. Rumbling bush taxis float over the potholed roads around the center.
The National Museum is fascinating, and the eerily deserted Ducor Hotel is a great place to learn about Liberia’s history of coups and countercoups, civil wars, and political trails. This area is known for its bustling beer bars and deteriorating remnants of old 19th-century townhouses.
Robertsport has established itself firmly at the forefront of the nation’s current tourist push as the king of all Liberia’s surfing destinations (and there are quite a few).
Wave riders swim to join the surfing groups and ride the rolling Atlantic swells that batter spots like Fisherman’s Point, Cotton Trees, and Cassava. They carry board wax in their hands.
In order to get newcomers out on the waves, surf schools are also starting to appear. However, some visitors simply come to hike the coastal stretches to see Cape Mount Bay’s picturesque reaches and the distinctive timber and stone churches that dot the shore.
The seaside city of Buchanan, which is about three hours south of Monrovia’s capital, is a great place to start learning about this region of West Africa’s coastline.
Every beach is completely natural, with swaying palm trees and local kids playing in the shallow water.
While other people will head into the city to find one of the few guesthouses that lie amongst the chaotic marketplaces and streets, many choose to set up camp here.
A length of beach bars may be found along the beachfront, tucked in between the deteriorating bamboo shacks.
The regional seat of Bong County, Gbarnga, may appear to be just another of the huge, run-down cities that emerge from the expansive mud plains and woodlands of inland Liberia, but it actually has a little more history and tradition to offer than others.
One notable instance is that during the 1980s and 1990s, it served as the headquarters for Charles Taylor, a notorious political and rebel leader.
Another notable institution in the nation, Cuttington University, which has been around for more than 100 years, is located in the town.
Gbarnga transforms into a fascinating location to explore away from the more well-known seaside sites once you add a few stunning waterfalls and earthy guesthouses.
The city of Harper, located in the extreme south of Liberia, has a good number of both natural and man-made attractions. Here, the turns of the African Panhandle give way to the beaches of the Ivory Coast.
To begin with, the shorelines to the north-west and south of the town are framed by stunning Robinson Crusoe sands, with swaying coconut palms bristling against the Atlantic gusts at their backs.
Then there are the surviving descendants of Liberia’s former slave settlers, who are believed to have started building the present state in the Cape Palmas territory, where Harper is now located.
This history is visible in the arched plantation-style homes and aging colonial frontispieces.
7. Bushrod Island
One of the few American officials who really supported the resettling of slaves on the continent in the 1800s gave the island of Bushrod its name.
But in this mangrove-lined port hamlet on the edge of the Atlantic, Bushrod Washington’s influence doesn’t go much further than that.
The dilapidated slums of New Kru Town sprawl close to the coastline today, and the area is brimming with an undeniable sense of life. Streets of tooting vehicles run in and out of the jetties and docks.
Even though it’s not the most comfortable site to visit, it offers an intriguing look of a working, modern Liberia.
This remote county seat in Liberia might not seem like the best site to include on that country’s itinerary given that there are only 23,000 residents there and a seven-hour journey separates it from the capital city on the coast.
But Zwedru has certain unique characteristics that you simply won’t find in the better traveled parts of the west.
Due to its incipient logging operations, it still has a certain amount of an industrial, earthy feel.
And then there’s the unmatched access to the vast Upper Guinean jungles, which are home to a variety of ultra-rare plant species and colorful tropical hummingbirds.
9. Gola National Forest
The Lofa-Mano National Park, a vast expanse of ancient rainforest that stretches out along the country’s northern border with Sierra Leone, is now known as the Gola National Forest.
The area possesses every characteristic of a true West African wilderness and is one of the densest remaining areas of Upper Guinean woods in the area.
Yes, you can anticipate lush forests with seemingly infinite stretches of enormous tree trunks and boughs, secret fern fields with uncommon dragonflies flitting among the flowers, swinging chimpanzees, and rare pygmy hippopotamuses, to name just a few.
There are only two reasons why vacationers would head straight for Marshall’s laid-back oceanside areas.
The first is its scattering of deserted beaches, each flanked by lush patches of palm forest and mangrove swamps, and ideal for engaging in some truly adventurous camping along the Liberian coast.
The second is a tiny group of islands aptly known as Monkey Island.
In the nearby jungles, a group of tenacious chimps live.
They were saved from research facilities during the civil war and are now especially fond of swinging in the branches, tease tourists, and launch delicious fruit from their branches at passing boats – you have been warned!
In the far western part of the nation, Sanniquellie is a small community that is near to the international tristate border with Guinea and Ivory Coast.
The center of the area is dominated by a busy tiny market where the majority of the goods offered are rows of colorful fruits and vegetables that have been picked fresh from the fields.
You can choose to wax your walking boots and head straight for the East Nimba Nature Reserve after haggling your way through this, or you can choose to relax in one of the rustic neighborhood beer bars.
This stunning section of the Strict Nimba UNESCO World Heritage Site features rare lowland rainforests, highland savannahs, and uncommon wildlife like the West African lion as well!
One of the more popular entryways to the aforementioned Sapo National Park, which is hidden between thick trees just a little to the east of town, is Greenville.
But while the majority of visitors just buy supplies and leave to explore the chimpanzees and unique jungles of the reserve, those who stay will get to see an unusual reminder of Liberia’s resettlement era—after all, the town still goes by the name of its namesake in Mississippi! Along with some genuinely undeveloped beaches on the west coast, there are several interesting communities to explore up the Sinoe River’s courses.
When former enslaved Africans were freed, some decided to return to the African continent to form a new settlement. They settled in the place now known as Liberia which means free place. The coming of these former enslaved people brought about new traditions such as Thanksgiving but this time with a rebranded Thanksgiving.
In Liberia, Thanksgiving falls on the first Thursday in November and not the fourth like in the United States. There is no also no traditional food In Liberia, and those who celebrate tend to see it as a religious occasion. While for those who don’t celebrate, Thanksgiving is a day whose origins in the United States are often the subject of controversy.