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1. FAST FACTS ABOUT LIBERIA
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" Capital: Monrovia
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The last major outbreak of yellow fever occurred during the building of the French Panama Canal between 1882 and 1889, which is one of the reasons why it might be slightly daunting to learn that yellow fever is a mandatory requirement for entry into Liberia. That fact, along with guides that pepper their descriptions with terms like 'post-conflict' and 'post-war' only add fuel to the fire. Although Liberia is still coping with the negative after effects of internal conflict, one can have an amazing time with the right information and knowledge.
3. PEOPLE & CULTURE
English may be the "official" language but most people speak "special" Liberian English, which is referred to as the "colloqua". It is important to note that as much trouble as you may have understanding the local Liberians, they may have the same level of difficulty understanding you as well. The main local dialects are Bassa, Gio, Kpelleh, Kru, Lorma and Mano.
The population is majority Christian, with a significant Muslim minority and some traditional beliefs exist throughout the country.
With the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, foreign investments have returned. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products - primarily raw timber and rubber. Liberia operates one of the longest established open registry (flag of convenience) merchant shipping fleets.
Liberians are friendly, talkative and gregarious people. Please make sure to respond to all greetings, even if only with a smile, to avoid being called "rude" - a major insult in the Liberian community. Be prepared that there will be some requests for money. It is much easier and less time-consuming to have small bills accessible than to have people explain why they need money. A dollar bill can go a long way, try not to give too much or there might be a tendency to take advantage.
The Liberian handshake is a hand shake followed by a finger snap. Liberians take pride in their local customs and will definitely appreciate the gesture. Most Liberian interactions, from the casual to the business, ends with an exchange of business cards - please be prepared and bring enough cards to share.
Liberia's history is full of 'firsts'. Liberia is one of only two countries in Africa never to have been colonized. Liberia is also Africa's oldest republic. Liberia can also boast that it has the first female Head of State in Africa, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Liberia was founded by freed Black States from the Americas in the 1800's and its capital - Monrovia was named after United States President, James Monroe. The Liberian flag closely resembles the American flag, reflecting the historical ties between the two countries.
5. TRAVELING IN LIBERIA
Upon arrival at Robertsfield International Airport, you must be prepared that Liberians are extremely gregarious people, airline agents are not yelling at you, merely speaking with conviction and directing you in the right direction.
The main airports in Monrovia are:
Monrovia (ROB) Roberts International Airport - www.freewebs.com/roberts-int-airport-liberia.
Transport to and from the Airport:
Several flights fly into Monrovia, including SN Brussels and Royal Air Maroc. Delta Air Lines recently announced that they would begin flying to Monrovia.
Brussels Airlines has flights on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
It is at least a half hour drive from the airport to the nearest hotel or restaurant so it is a good idea to stop by Wings restaurant on the Airport grounds, or drive further to Barnes Beach where you can have food and drinks on the beach at Thinker's Beach Village on the Robertsfield Highway. Soon, you will also be able to stop by RLJ Kendeja Resort a 4-star restaurant also located along Robertsfield Highway.
Spriggs Payne Airport (MLW)
Liberian Dollar LRD= 64 USD
Money can be exchanged at the current Banks:
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
It is necessary to have an unlocked GSM phone that can use multiple SIM cards. The main cellular phone providers in Liberia are Cellcom, Lonestar, LiberCell and Comium and they all provide SIM cards for $10. You can also purchase pay-as-you-go 'scratch cards' in $1, $5, and $10 denominations from street vendors at the airport and at major corners.
Food, Lodging and Nightlife______________________________________________________
One of the burgeoning industries in Liberia is most definitely the hospitality and service sector. These are a few sample itineraries: Monday nights, you can combine work and play at the Royal Hotel located in Sinkor in the Living Room where you can enjoy Sushi, Brown Sugar Caiphirinias and wireless internet. Tuesday nights, you can have beer and snacks while watching the sunset on Golden Beach on Tubman Boulevard. Wednesday nights is Ladies' night at Embassy Nightclub, also on the boulevard and boasts the 'Best DJ in the City.'
Thursday nights, enjoy 'lapas' - interesting sandwich wraps - and Lemongrass Martinis at Rozis in Lakpazee, Airfield. Friday nights, P.A's Ribhouse, also in Lakpazee, offers great combo deals with Ribs and Chicken along with cocktails like the Sinoe Sangria. Palms Casino in Congotown, Déjà Vu in Lakpazee, Airfield and La Noche on Benson and Center Streets provide great options on the weekend. If you have time, you can combine all three - begin the night at Palms Casino at the blackjack table, enjoy latin inspired drinks at La Noche and dance in the VIP section at Déjà Vu Saturday into Sunday. If you are lucky enough to have a free weekend, escape to Nana's Lodge in Robertsport to luxuriously rough it in this camp-style resort.
Other honorable mentions and great options include Sunday brunch at the Cape Hotel in Mamba Point, Acheke at Evelyn's on Center Street, Boulevard Café on Tubman Boulevard for great pizza and free internet, Krystal Oceanview Hotel in Mamba Point with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, and Bella Casa a boutique hotel on Tubman Blvd with its excellent interior design. Other authentic Liberian options include Aunty Nana's behind City Hall and Flocee's on Mechlin Street, both in town. Garden Restaurant on Tubman Boulevard offers the best Chinese food in Monrovia!
Please also contact WOW! Liberia for information on tours in and around Monrovia.
*Malaria is endemic year round.
5. PACKING LIST
6. Important Numbers and Contacts
British Political Officer C/o United States Embassy
Charge d' Affaires, a.i. of Sweden C/o European Union
Embassy of Libya
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China
Embassy of the Republic of Guinea
Embassy of the Republic of Lebanon
Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Embassy of the United States of America
European Union Commission of Liberia
Executive Secretary of ECOWAS in Liberia
United Nations Secretary General & Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia (UNMIL)
TravelThings to Do and See in Liberia
Source: World Travel Guide
Explore Monrovia, the capital. It is a sprawling city on the coast divided by inlets, lagoons and rocky headlands. The city has several vibrant nightclubs, restaurants and bars, centered on the area around Gurley Street. There are several good sandy beaches near the capital.
Experience Liberian culture at Kendeja National Cultural Center. Established in 1964 along the Atlantic Ocean Beach in Montserrado County, it presents an overall picture of tribal life, customs and traditions of Liberia, though looting during the civil war caused damage to its cultural significance.
Go fishing in Lake Piso, around 80km (50 miles) from the capital. Conducted tours of the Firestone Rubber Plantation, one of the largest in the world, make an interesting day's excursion, 50km (30 miles) from Monrovia. Discover some of the country’s most beautiful beaches at Robertsport. The Kpa-Tawe Waterfalls are four and a half hours from Monrovia (a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended).
Wildlife and nature enthusiasts should visit the Sapo National Park: located in Sinoe County, this pristine forest wilderness is home to a great variety of plants and animal species (including elephant, leopard, giant forest hog and the rare pygmy hippo). The park is only accessible on foot and consists largely of rainforest, which has never been logged, and hence makes it Western Africa’s largest untouched tract of rainforest. The park’s western boundary is formed by the Sinoe River and river trips are available.
Go swimming and boating at Liberia’s many beautiful sandy beaches. These include Bernard’s Beach, Caesar’s Beach, Cedar Beach, Cooper’s Beach, Elwa Beach, Kendaje Beach, Kenema Beach and Sugar Beach, all of which charge a small entrance fee. The skindiving season is from December to May, when the sea is at its clearest. There is good fishing in the Mesurado and Saint Paul rivers, along the coast and at Lake Piso, where there are traditional fishing villages. For a comprehensive list of information pertaining to traveling to Liberia, please visit World Travel Guide.
Getting ThereStarting in June 2009, Delta Airlines will fly directly from the U.S. to Liberia. For other airlines that travel to Liberia, and for information on car rentals, cell phones and banking, please visit TLC Africa's Travel section.
A passport and visa are required for non-Liberian citizens traveling to Liberia. For persons who are traveling from countries that do not have a Liberian embassy or consulate, an airport entry visa may be obtained, but the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization must authorize the visa in advance of arrival. Further information on entry requirements for Liberia can be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia website in the U.S.
Other overseas inquiries should be made at your nearest Liberian embassy or consulate.
It is recommended that visitors see their personal physician before traveling to Liberia. MD Travel Health has a list of recommended vaccinations.
Cape Hotel Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-77-006-633 or +231-6-832-700; Website Link
Royal Hotel Tubman Blvd, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-554-444, +231-5-654-444, +231-77-776-925 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website Link
Mamba Point Hotel Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-544-544 Email: email@example.com; Website Link
Palm Hotel Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-669-210, +231-6-575-959 or +231-6-535-177 +231-5-618-618 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Great Wall Hotel Tubman Blvd, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-77-555-666 +231-5-555-666
Thinker's Beach Village ELWA Area, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-588-382
Corinna Hotel Tubman Blvd, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-514-708; Website Link
Quelu Farms & Resort Careysburg, Liberia Tel: +231-6-555-999; +231-6-555-888
Tilda Guesthouse Un Drive, Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia; Website Link
Renaissance Hotel 14th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-552-200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website Link
Golden Key Robertsfield Hwy, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-654-186, +231-6-474-583
RLJ Kendja Resort (Bob Johnson) Robertsfield Hwy, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-657-222, Email:email@example.com
Provident 9th St., Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-874-958
Bella Casta 3rd St., Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-418-218
Palm Spring Resort Congo Town Back Road, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-5-654-111 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
International Hotel Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-541-761; Tel:+231-6-951-847
Metropolitan Hotel Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-550-080
Waulki Farms Careysburg, Liberia Tel: +231-6-510-417
Moko's Bed & Breakfast 19th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: +231-6-515-897 Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Website Link
Pre-Conference DialoguesA 3-part series of Virtual Dialogues is being organised during January and February in the lead-up to the Colloquium. These Dialogues will feature live interviews and participation of current and former women Heads of State interacting with a global audience of future leaders. They will produce recommendations and solutions on how to break down barriers to leadership which will be presented at the Colloquium. For more information, visit Women's Dialogue Website (www.womensdialogue.org).
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