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Introducing Liberia

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Bomi Lake © Sahmeditor

Liberia is a land boasting 350 miles (563km) of tropical beaches, with swathes of pristine wilderness and verdant rainforests. However, Liberia is also one of the world's poorest countries, and while it may be on the mend following a damaging civil war, there are still significant risks to prospective tourists from a fragile political situation and a lack of infrastructure.

Originally founded as a refuge for liberated American slaves, there is still much evidence of its onetime link to the US. The capital of Monrovia is named after the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe, and the country's flag closely resembles its American counterpart.

There are several worthwhile attractions outside of the capital. The city of Buchanan offers fine beaches, a modest selection of restaurants and a handful of guesthouses. A day trip to Robertsport is a must. Here, visitors can take a peek into the cultural history of Liberia and relax on some of the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in the country.

Liberia's key attraction is the Sapo National Park, the largest untouched tract of rainforest in Western Africa, incorporating the Nimba Mountains, which are home to abundant wildlife such as elephants, leopards, buffalo, pygmy hippos and monkeys. It is also popular to go game viewing by boat along the Sinoe River.

Prospective visitors are well advised to travel only in an organised tour and never venture out alone. Although it is not a popular tourist destination right now, when the political turmoil clears, Liberia is sure to be near the top of the list of West African destinations to visit due to its natural splendour and off-the-beaten-track allure.

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