Travel to Liberia

Entry and residence requirements

With the exception of citizens of the ECOWAS countries, all travelers to Liberia need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and a visa. The visa for German citizens is usually issued without any problems by the embassy of the Republic of Liberia in Berlin. Proof of a yellow fever vaccination is required for a visa to be issued. The three neighboring states of Liberia have diplomatic missions in Monrovia which issue visas for onward travel.

Housing and supply

Suitable apartments and houses are relatively easy to find, especially in Monrovia. However, due to the presence of the United Nations, the price level is extremely high. It is customary to pay an annual rent in advance. When choosing accommodation, you should also consider the power supply(own generator required?), the water supply and security are considered. In the case of rented apartments (mostly in apartment complexes), but not in the case of houses, this is usually included in the rent. Another aspect is the location of the accommodation – in Monrovia traffic jams are a big problem, so the distance to the place of work should be considered. Outside of Monrovia, accommodation of a reasonable standard is more difficult to find. It is not uncommon here to renovate a house yourself and to offset the resulting costs against the rent. However, this should be agreed with the landlord in advance (before paying the annual rent).

The supply of everyday consumer goods is good. According to franciscogardening, there are various supermarkets in Monrovia, and the prices are consistently high compared to other African countries. The foods that are available there, including fruit and vegetables, are often imported from abroad. Local products, fruit, vegetables, fish and meat can be found in markets at lower prices. In the hinterland, the supply options are limited – food (also canned) and certain consumer goods (batteries, lightbulbs) are available almost everywhere.

Money and money transfer

The local currency is the Liberian dollar and de facto the US dollar. After the Liberian dollar (in local parlance also “Liberty Dollar”) had largely disappeared during the war, it is now increasingly in circulation again (especially in markets). Even so, almost all prizes are in US dollars and payment in American currency is common, especially for larger sums. Liberian dollars are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 dollars, so the largest note is only worth less than 3 euros. Coins are not used.

Credit cards and travelers checks can hardly be used in Liberia. Large hotels and some ATMs in Monrovia accept Visa cards. Hotels often charge a fee of 5-8% of the total bill. Money transfers are quick and reliable via Western Union and MoneyGram. Transfers to a bank account in Liberia take between 5 and 10 working days from Germany.

With children in Liberia

It is generally possible to leave the country with children. However, the country is still a “non-family duty station” for the United Nations and for many aid organizations, so that only a few western foreigners live with families in Liberia. With the American International School of Monrovia, there has been another international school in Monrovia since 2007. The Liberian-Turkish International School has also existed since 2006, a not-so-expensive alternative.

Travel, transportation and traffic

Travel within Liberia and to the neighboring countries Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast is generally possible. A problem when traveling overland is the poor road conditions (especially in the rainy season) and a lack of accommodation. Because of the risk of traffic accidents, we strongly advise against driving after dark. There is hardly any public transport, and sometimes its use is associated with dangers, so that you need your own (or rented) vehicle to travel to the hinterland.

Public flight connections do not exist within Liberia, but the United Nations maintains a network of helicopter flights, which in principle is also open to employees of development organizations.

Direct flights to and from Europe are currently offered by Brussels Airlines and Royal Air Maroc. Due to the low number of passengers, the flight prices to / from Europe are relatively high. There are also connections to various West African capitals with local companies, as well as a connection to Nairobi (via Accra). All flights take off and land at Roberts Field International Airport (ROB), about an hour’s drive from Monrovia.

The transport of people in Monrovia and the other cities is largely covered by shared taxis and motorcycle taxis. A place in the shared taxis is difficult to get hold of at peak times. There are now also explicit single taxis. The motorcycle taxis are not a safe means of transport, but they are popular for spending less time in traffic jams during rush hour. Since 2013, however, they are no longer allowed to run on the main streets and in the city center. In the city center, the tuk-tuks known from Asia, which are called “kekeh” here, now drive instead.

Kekehs and cars in Monrovia