I did stop in at a small travel agency, Exotic Travel on Broad Street, and the manager and her two staff ladies were very friendly and said that they could arrange a tour of the city or various tours upcountry.
They offered a Monrovia city tour at about $100 for car, driver, and guide for one person and only a little more for 3 additional people. (I am sure that the price is negotiable.)
The tours out of the city could include a visit to a village with dancing, etc. They assured me that they had the personal connections to do this and had actually arranged a tour in the last six months. If you are looking for a unique experience this might be your chance. I got the definite impression that you would not be going to a community jaded by frequent tourist visits.
If you meet someone local, go fishing. Liberia is full of water, and fishing is the go here. Fish off a bridge, fish off a canoe, or, if you're really lucky and know the right people with speed boats, go offshore.
Hiking is also great in Liberia. Up in Bong county, which is about to be opened up bigtime by iron ore mining meaning the roads and rail will be refurbished and the area will be much more accessible, there are waterfalls, and the jungle that is left is amazing. Or the National Park is pristine.
Liberia is just emerging from so much war and devestation, and has a long long way to go. Tourism is still a concept rather than an industry, so good luck. Get out there and explore!
PS don't touch the rubber - the smell will be with you all day!
Like chichi in the Andes and pulque in Mexico, palm wine has a very yeasty taste and can vary considerable depending on how long it has been allowed to ferment. The fresher or younger the palm wine the sweeter and less alcoholic it will be.
Also you will not find it in pasteurized bottles. You have to trust the source.
Ganta is a town in Nimba County, in the north eastern part of Liberia. We stayed two nights and one day in the town. We visited schools, churches, a hospital, and were even received by the major of Ganta, Mrs Millar.
There are many villages between the border and Ganta. The village children , not used to European people, shouted “White men! White men!”. Some villages are very traditional, just huts from local materials.
The road between the border and Ganta was filled with holes, but our taxi driver Moussa manouvred the car carefully between the holes. There was a roadblock near the small town of Sanniquelli, which wasn’t a nice experience. Our bags were emptied and it became clear that the men wanted money. In the end, they let us go, and just when it started to get dark, we arrived in Ganta. I was happy to arrive there safely.
The northeastern part of Liberia is still a rainforest area. This is still the case, even though timber exports increased enormously after the end of the civil war and the election of Taylor as president in 1997.
Between the border and Ganta, the road cuts right through the forests.
In Ganta, we saw a truck from the Dutch village of Schoondijke. This happened to be the same village where my fellow traveller was living. Final proof that the world is small. My fellow traveller and the truck driver became friends on the spot.
For more information about the city of Ganta, see my Ganta page
We visited a village school in a small village. Every time my camera gave a flash all the children yelled and laughed. It was un unforgettable experience.
These children were walking around in the village. We asked the head of the village if it was alright to make pictures in the village of the houses and the people; he gave us permission.
In one village between Ganta and the border we saw this little churche house. All the houses in the village were built in the same style.