The west-African country of Liberia suffered decades of a debilitating civil war that left the landscape unprotected and some of the indigenous wildlife in danger of extinction. After years of unrest and unchecked destruction the country is finally taking responsibility for the survival of its endangered elephants and its forests. Good news for intrigued travelers around the world? Only time will tell.
Like most African countries Liberia has a rich culture and biological diversity, however political unrest has seen the death of some 19 000 elephants and the deforestation of the land, according to TreeHugger.com. It is a small country bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire, and has close ties to the US. During the nineteenth century it was founded by freed black slaves, and this historical tie can be seen in the Liberian flag which closely mimics the well-known Stars and Stripes.
The country offers a number of spectacular tourist sites and impressive wildlife sightings, and in a move that demonstrates a desire to rebuild the country’s original natural splendor Liberia is looking at reapplying for its membership in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The aim of CITES is to provide a united front between African countries against the international trade of wildlife and fauna should such trade be harmful to that species.
Poaching and illegal trade of animal parts is a wide-spread problem throughout Africa, one that threatens to dampen the survival of its heritage and the currently thriving tourism industry. The organisation will only succeed in its goal of ensuring the preservation of indigenous fauna and flora if the countries work together.
Travel to and throughout the beautiful country becomes more appealing as its dedication to healing is more apparent and there are some stunning locations in Liberia that would melt the heart of many an experienced traveler.
If you’re going to visit make sure you visit some of these local gems:
Gertylue Floral Park is such a sweet secret from the traveling world that its name only renders eight Google hits. It is a horticulture garden in the capital city of Monrovia that caters to visitors looking for accommodation and a glimpse of all manner of indigenous plants.
The country’s first national park, Sapo National Park, hosts a number of unique wildlife species including the pygmy hippo. You will have to organise your tour of the park through the Wildlife & National Park Office.
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery is a platform for experienced and emerging artists to introduce their work to the people. The gallery boasts more than twelve rooms of sculptures, paintings and more.
There is relatively little written online about the tourist attractions of Liberia which might scare some travelers away. However the secrecy and intrigue of the west-African country will probably hold a strong allure with those looking to explore paths unseen before.