Liberia Revealed

DURATION 8 Days
BETWEEN Monrovia and Monrovia
COUNTRIES VISITED – 1 Liberia
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE 12
TRAVEL DATES
Contact Diesel for all departure dates and latest pricing
WHATS INCLUDED
Airport Transfers All Accommodation
All tour transportation All meals as listed in itinerary
Entrance fees as listed Professional Tour Guides
WHATS NOT INCLUDED
Visas Airport taxes
International Flights Travel Insurance

Trip Overview

Liberia has an unusual history. It is the only country on the continent, apart from Ethiopia, not to have been colonized by Europeans in the ‘Scramble for Africa’. Once a home for freed Afro-American slaves, it has a very different feel from its neighbors. 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. Explore Monrovia’s heritage and lively markets. Visit a community of chimpanzees not far from the city, with great opportunities to get close to these incredible primates. 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. 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 traveling 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

Native Eye specializes in small group tours to unusual destinations with a focus on traditional, often tribal, cultures. An innovative and completely unique tour in Liberia, one of West Africa’s least visited countries. Having been off limits for some time, Liberia is in the process of shaking off its past troubles, and has a huge amount to offer the Africa enthusiast. An exciting and pioneering journey through a little known part of the continent.


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Day 1: Monrovia

Arrive in Monrovia and transfer to your hotel. Overnight Cape Hotel or similar. (B)

Monrovia

Like Freetown, Monrovia is another city with 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. The similarity with Freetown doesn’t end there – Monrovia was equally ravaged by war in the 1990s and is today a rather ramshackle capital, albeit rather atmospheric in the right light.

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Day 2: Monrovia

Spend today exploring the city and its history, visiting the National Museum, the Masonic Temple and the Waterside Market among other places. Overnight Cape Hotel or similar. (B)
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Day 3: Gbarnga

Drive to Gbarnga, the capital of Bong County. The town played an integral role in the civil war and was the base for Charles Taylor and his forces. We visit the central market and learn more about the tragic recent history of Liberia. Overnight local guesthouse. (BD)
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Day 4: Zwedru

A long days drive to Zwedru, a stronghold of the Krahn tribal group, stopping in villages along the way. Overnight local guesthouse. (BD)
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Day 5: Krahn Villages – Harper

Spend the morning exploring traditional villages of the Krahn people, where old beliefs are still strong, and learn about their customs. From here continue to Harper. Overnight Adina’s Guesthouse or similar. (B)

The Krahn people

The Krahn are one of Liberia’s more traditional groups and many believe in water spirits or ‘Gods of water.’ It is believed that powers associated with these beings included healing, fertility, and the ability to end conflict and create new villages. The Krahn also think that a town or village can gain protection from one of these water guardians if they are caught in the water and carried into town. Whenever new land requires cultivating for fields or expansion, or when tribesmen need to venture outside the village, it becomes necessary to make offerings to the spirits, with such endeavours being surrounded by an air of danger. It is also believed that the bush spirits take physical form in order to interact with the villagers and participate in ceremonies. The Krahn feel that the bush spirits can communicate with humans through dreams, often demanding ceremonial masks be created in their honour in either male or female forms. These masks then serve a variety of functions ranging from ritual ceremonies, forms of entertainment, and focal points in moral stories.

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Day 6: Harper

Spend the day exploring Harper, once a prosperous town but now with its many imposing Afro-American mansions gradually returning to the land. We spend time exploring its streets and soaking up the very unique atmosphere of this unusual place. Overnight Adina’s Guesthouse or similar. (B)
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Day 7: Tapeta

A long day of driving to Tapeta, back through the forested interior. Tapeta was devastated during the war but is now growing again thanks to trade and agriculture, and will serve as our base to visit the territory of the Bassa tribal group. Overnight local guesthouse. (BD)
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Day : Bassa Villages - Buchanan

We spend the morning exploring the villages of the Bassa people, best renowned for the women’s rather striking practice of the chalk body decorations, giving them the appearance of ghosts. We then drive to the coastal town of Buchanan, stopping en route at more villages and sites of interest. Overnight Spark Hotel orsimilar. (B)
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Day 9: Monrovia

After a morning exploring Buchanan, Liberia’s third largest city, we return to Monrovia for our final night. Overnight Cape Hotel or similar. (B)
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Day 10: Monrovia

This morning we head out 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 Monrovia and transferring to the airport for your onward flight. (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, 4 star hotels, good roads and well defined ‘tourist sites’– this is a very 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.


Tour Dossier Notes

Airport transfers – Native Eye Travel includes 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.

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.

Visas – We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then can request for this to be arranged for you. If you need any advice with visas just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as CIBT can assist.

Airport taxes – If there are any departure taxes to pay that are not included within the cost of your ticket, you’ll need to pay these yourself.