How to Travel to Liberia, Africa

The Republic of Liberia is located on the West African coast. As of January 2011, American and European travel advisories emphasize that travel to Liberia be limited to the capital, Monrovia. Although many Portuguese sailors settled near Cape Mesurado in the 16th century, Monrovia was founded in 1821 by a group of emancipated African-American slaves called the American Colonization Society. The city was greatly damaged during the Liberian Civil Wars, in particular during the siege of Monrovia in 2003. Although still affected socially and economically by the legacy of the war, as of January 2011, Monrovia is considered relatively safe. The easiest and most common way to travel to the city is by plane.

Things You'll Need

  • Valid passport
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate
  • Plane ticket

Instructions

    • 1

      Check any travel advisories currently in place for Liberia. This information is available on the website of the State Department or Foreign Office of your home country. Read through all information carefully and note which areas of Liberia are considered dangerous and any other relevant advisory statements.

    • 2

      Make sure your passport is valid and is not set to expire for 6 months following your date of entry into Liberia. Make a photocopy of your passport and give it to a friend or family member who will not be traveling with you.

    • 3

      Obtain the necessary visa prior to traveling. American, Commonwealth of Nations and European Union citizens, as well as many other nations, should apply for a visa prior to entering Liberia. Liberia offers three different tourist visas: a single-entry visa valid for 3 months; a multiple-entry visa valid for 6 months; and a multiple-entry visa valid for a year. Prices for visas change, so contact the Liberian Consulate in your home country for prices. File an application for a visa at your local consulate. Visas are not issued at Liberian airports.

    • 4

      Visit your local doctor to receive a yellow fever vaccination. A certificate proving receipt of this vaccination is required of all travelers over 1 year old.

    • 5

      Discuss with your physician any medicine you might need while you are in Liberia. Get all your prescriptions filled and discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking antibiotics with you. Many doctors will prescribe a general antibiotic for travelers to Africa.

    • 6

      Book a flight to Liberia. Flights can be booked online or through a local travel agent. Flights to Monrovia are frequent from many American and European airports. The closest airport to Monrovia is Spriggs Payne Airport, a few miles from the city center. Roberts International Airport, the largest in Liberia, is 60 km from Monrovia.

    • 7

      Book a hotel in Monrovia for the entire duration of your stay. Be aware that hotel rates are quite expensive in Liberia. Book in advance as far as possible as the number of rooms in the city is limited. If you require air conditioning, ask the hotel if they provide it, as many hotels do not.

    • 8

      Inform yourself on Liberian food, weather, voltage and culture. Make a notebook with lists of emergency numbers and the number and address of your hotel.

    • 9

      Check the weather conditions in Liberia and pack accordingly.

    • 10

      Arrive at least 2 hours early at the airport the day of your flight. Hydrate well and enjoy your flight to Liberia.

Tips & Warnings

  • Buy any guide books or other proprietary materials you can find before the trip. These will help guide you through practical as well as cultural matters.
  • Try to talk to people who have been to Liberia for extra tips and advice. If you don't know anyone personally, try looking online for a relevant forum.
  • Be careful if flying between airports in Africa. Make sure you choose an airline whose fleet is new and meets industry standards.
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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit liberia flag icon. (with clipping path) image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com

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