Destination in brief
Liberia in brief
Liberia is a country in West Africa. Neighbors: Sierra Leone and Guinea (north), Ivory Coast (east), The country’s western part has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
Liberia was never colonized by Europeans! The land was declared an independent state in 1847, after about 10,000 free African Americans, and some black Caribbean former slaves migrated here. The first president was a freed slave from America.
Size: 111,369 km² (43,000 mi²)
Capital city: Monrovia – It is strikingly clean compared to other African cities. - The town was named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe, a prominent supporter of the colonization of Liberia by Black Americans.
Population: 5 million (2020) – only about 5% of the population are direct descendants of the African American founders of the state.
The average age of its citizens is 18 years. (By way of comparison, a typical resident of Germany is 47 years old.)
Rice is so central to Liberians’ diet that the locals will say of someone who has not eaten rice that day that he/she didn’t eat anything, even if the person has in fact eaten some other food like bread, fruit, or pasta.
A troubling fact: endangered species are hunted (poached) for human consumption in Liberia. Species hunted for food include elephants, pygmy hippopotamus, monkeys and leopards.
Oprah Winfrey, the world-famous U.S. talk-show hostess, traced her ancestors back to Liberia and made efforts to find donors to help poverty-stricken Liberian women and children.
Languages: English is the official language – over 20 local languages are spoken
Religions: 85% Christian, 12% Muslim
Political & economic situation (April 2020) - a republic (the oldest one in Africa)
A coup in 1980 ended 133 years of government by the descendants of freed slaves and has started - not incidentally – a 25 years-long period of political instability, including two bloody civil wars (1989-2003). Liberia has been relatively peaceful since 2005.
The current government, led by George Weah, a former international football star, is highly incompetent. Although corruption is widespread, people do appreciate that at least there is peace.
According to a 2020 list of the World Population Review, Liberia is the poorest country in the world.
Liberia is one of the biggest exporters of iron ore in Africa.
Currency: Liberian dollar (LRD)
The average net monthly salary of employees: 340 USD (2020)
Most common surname: Kollie
Customary law allows Liberian men to have up to four wives.
Safety (May, 2020):
Crimes of opportunity, or armed robbery (typically using a knife or machete) have affected foreigners and are more common at night. Crime is common in both urban and rural areas. The local police forces do not seem to have sufficient and efficient capacity to respond to crime cases.
Liberia is “blessed” with many venomous snakes, among them the fearsome green mamba (OMG!)
When to visit? November-April
There are very few tourists (many of those who do visit are African Americans searching for their roots). The tourist infrastructure is underdeveloped.
Top tourist attractions:
Providence Island, Waterside market in Monrovia, Cece Beach, Sapo National Park (with the pygmy hippopotamus native to Liberia), excellent surfing beaches, Silver Beach, sport fishing, Firestone Rubber Plantation