Located where the Mesurado River flows into the Atlantic Ocean, Monrovia was founded in 1822 as one of Africa’s earliest African American settlements. It now serves as the lively capital of Liberia, with its low-rise buildings framed by swaying palm trees and a distinctly tropical vibe in its streets. In addition to exploring the National Museum and bustling riverfront market, it makes a convenient base for visiting the chimpanzee colony of Monkey Island.
Things to do in Monrovia
Delve into the country’s history at the National Museum of Liberia, which occupies the Old Supreme Court building in the heart of Monrovia. Presidential papers and official documents are on display on the ground floor, together with the nation’s first flag that was hoisted back in August 1847. Take the time to browse the traditional household objects and the museum’s ethnographical collection, together with its contemporary works by Liberian artists.
Originally built by Pan Am Airlines, Hotel Ducor is a crumbling colonial ruin that’s become one of Monrovia’s most popular tourist attractions. You can wander through the once-luxurious grounds where high-level political meetings were held and soak up the elevated views across the Atlantic Ocean from the hotel’s now-empty swimming pool.
Looking for souvenirs? You’ll find everything imaginable at Waterside Market, a chaotic commercial hub on the banks of the Mesurado River. Traditional African textiles, leather goods and pottery items are piled high beneath the market’s colourful umbrellas, with fierce haggling all a part of the experience.
Getting around Monrovia
Roberts International Airport is just over an hour’s drive from the centre of Monrovia and has flights to destinations across West Africa, as well as to Paris and Brussels. Buses connect Monrovia with destinations across Liberia while taxis and share-taxis are the main means of getting around the city.