Liberia Revealed

Liberia has an unusual history. It is the only country on the continent, apart from Ethiopia, not to have been colonised by Europeans in the ‘Scramble for Africa’. Once a home for freed Afro-American slaves, it has a very different feel from its neighbours. It was off limits for some time, but is now accessible to the adventurous Africa enthusiast.

This short tour covers some of Liberia’s highlights, starting and ending in the capital Monrovia. We explore Monrovia’s heritage and lively markets. Next, we visit a community of chimpanzees not far from the city, with great opportunities to get close to these incredible primates.

Out of the city, we explore the culture of the Bassa people.  Many tribal women decorate their bodies with chalk giving them a rather ghostly appearance. We learn about the initiation ceremonies that underpin this unique practice and explore small villages.

We also visit the vast Firestone rubber plantation, intimately connected with the history of the nation. We enjoy the stunning beaches of Robertsport, and spend time looking for wildlife and experiencing Liberia’s natural world at Libassa.

Tourism in Liberia is still developing, and while you shouldn’t always expect a ‘polished’ experience, part of the charm of travelling here is that each encounter feels unique. You can expect an exciting and pioneering journey through a little known part of the African continent.

Liberia Revealed itinerary tile

Highlights

  • Get up close to chimpanzees
  • Meet the Bassa people
  • Explore Monrovia
  • Colourful village markets
  • Relax at Libassa Eco-lodge

Day 1 - Monrovia - Libassa

Arrive in Monrovia and transfer to the hotel. Overnight Libassa Eco-Lodge or similar.

Monrovia

Monrovia has a close association with both the slave trade and the return of emancipated slaves to Africa; it is named after James Monroe, the US president who was instrumental in the latter campaign. It was ravaged by war in the 1990s and is today a rather ramshackle capital, albeit rather atmospheric in the right light.

Day 2 - Chimpanzee Island

Travel to Marshall City, surrounded by various lagoons and the home to a series of islands that are home to a community of chimpanzees, once destined for the medical trade but now living a semi-wild existence and seeming to thrive. We can join the rangers as they deliver food to the islands and watch these incredible creatures up close, before returning to our accommodation. Overnight Libassa Eco-Lodge or similar. (B)


Day 3 - Bassa Villages

We spend the day exploring the villages of the Bassa people, best renowned for the women’s rather striking practice of covering their bodies in chalk during initiation ceremonies, giving them the appearance of ghosts. Overnight Libassa Eco-Lodge or similar. (B)

Bassa people

The Bassa are the second largest ethnic group in Liberia, and in smaller numbers are also found in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Traditionally they are farmers and live in small villages ruled over by a chief. Some researchers believe that they originally came from Egypt in the 6th to 7th centuries, but it’s difficult to find evidence of this. Bassa women take part in initiation rites to mark the coming of age, and cover their bodies with white chalk to give themselves a rather otherworldly appearance.

Day 4 - Monrovia

Spend today exploring the capital of Africa’s first independent republic. We visit some of its most interesting sites including its oldest church, built in 1847, its colourful markets and the remains of West Africa’s first five star hotel, the Ducor, among others. Overnight Bella Casa Hotel or similar. (B)


Day 5 - Robertsport

Head to the town of Roberstport, situated on the coast with some beautiful beaches, charming historic buildings and surrounding countryside to explore. Overnight Nana’s Lodge or similar. (BD)


Day 6 - Monrovia

After a morning at Robertsport, return to Monrovia, stopping at villages and markets along the way. Overnight Libassa Eco-Lodge or similar. (B)


Day 7 - Firestone

Visit Firestone, the world’s largest rubber plantation which has played a significant role in Liberia’s history since its foundation in 1926. Overnight Libassa Eco-Lodge or similar. (B)


Day 8 - Monrovia

Transfer to the airport for departure. (B)


Please note: This is a pioneering trip that will be run as a ‘recce tour’ and so you must be prepared for flexibility and changes to the itinerary if necessary. We most definitely do not recommend this trip if you like rigid plans, good roads and well defined ‘tourist sites’ – this is an adventurous trip through a remote part of the continent, where infrastructure is not great, things change frequently and you can expect a certain amount of discomfort at times. However the rewards more than balance these out – the chance to travel through lands that rarely see western visitors, experience the truly authentic and go to places that few have gone before, in one of the most interesting corners of Africa.

Bassa woman - Liberia tours
Fishing boat on beach, Liberia

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers. Please note though that if you arrive earlier than Day 1 of the tour, and leave after the final day, we may need to make an additional charge for an airport transfer.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.

  • Guides

    In most cases, you will be accompanied by one guide from start to finish. However, there may be occasions when this is not practical, for example, if your trip covers a number of different countries. In these cases it often makes more sense to include different guides for each place, to take advantage of their specific knowledge of the destination.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner). These will vary from trip to trip – in some areas it makes sense to include all meals while in others there is a good choice of restaurants and we feel people might like to ‘do their own thing’ now and again.

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense.

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively, a visa agency such as Travcour can assist.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If, however, you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.

Visas

Most travellers will require a visa to enter Liberia, which must be obtained before travel. You may need an invitation letter in order to obtain this, depending on the requirements of the embassy that you apply at – we can provide this for you. Visa regulations can change however and so we recommend that you contact your nearest embassy for the most up to date information.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations, you can also visit www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk.

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for entry to Liberia and you must bring this with you.

Insurance

It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover, which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.

Money

The local currency in Liberia is the Liberian dollar. It is best to bring Euros for exchange purposes as neither currency is readily obtainable outside of the region.

It’s not difficult to change money either at banks or the hotels and your guide can assist with this. There are also an increasing number of ATMs in larger towns. However, these are not always reliable and so it is best to think of them as a back up rather than a main means of obtaining money.

Credit cards are accepted in larger hotels and better restaurants (usually in Monrovia only) but are not commonly accepted elsewhere.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and thank you for your patience.

Please note that Liberia is not particularly used to tourism and what may seem like common sense and good practice elsewhere may not even be considered here. Your guide will manage all situations as best they can, but it’s important to be realistic about the countries that you are visiting – we do not particularly recommend Liberia for first-time visitors to Africa.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any part of Liberia.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Please note that the information contained above is highly susceptible to change, and while we endeavour to keep up to date we recommend that you use this as a guide only. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Updated May 2019

Bassa woman - Liberia tours
Fishing boat on beach, Liberia
Date(s)
Price (PP) Exc. Flights
Single Supplement
Trip Status
Date -
02 December 2021
Price (PP) -
£2,299
Single Supplement -
N/A
Trip Status -
Available
Date -
01 December 2022
Price (PP) -
£2,399
Single Supplement -
N/A
Trip Status -
Available