Founded in 1817 as a colony for emancipated African-American slaves, Monrovia is both the financial heart of Liberia and an important port on the West African coast.
Monrovia, Liberia © jeffrey
The centre of Monrovia is a typical tropical city. Its wide streets are lined with palm trees and informal merchants, and paint-chipped buildings make up most of the sights. There are a few attractions worth seeing, including the Waterside Market, the oldest Masonic Lodge in Africa, the National Museum of Liberia, and the Centennial Pavilion.
One of Monrovia's top attractions, Monkey Island, had
a sinister beginning, founded as a lab to conduct medical
experiments on chimpanzees. However, the experiments have long
since ceased and the chimps are now cared for. The facility is set
on six small islands and visitors who make an appointment can ride
with the caretakers and interact with the chimpanzees.
There are also plenty of beaches around Monrovia,
most notably ELWA Beach near the airport, Thinkers Beach, and Ce Ce
Beach. Facilities are spotty however, and swimmers should get local
advice on where the safest areas are as the ocean can be
Tourism in Monrovia is on the rise, thanks in part to
cruise ship traffic, and infrastructure is gradually improving. A
good, if limited, selection of restaurants and bars pepper the
downtown area, and the locals are generally friendly and welcoming
to all visitors.