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Exploring Monrovia, Liberia: A Half-Day Tour with Visit Mama Liberia

Posted on Thu May 30, 2024.

Looking for a tour guide for Monrovia and other Liberian destinations? This blog covers my amazing half-day guided tour of Monrovia with tour operator Visit Mama Liberia Today.

Arriving in Liberia for the first time, I was excited to explore Monrovia, the country's bustling capital. Choosing a guided tour is always an ideal way to discover a new place and gain a local perspective on its history and culture. My half-day adventure exploring Liberia’s largest city provided a glimpse into its rich heritage and vibrant culture, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems.

One of the greatest benefits of opting for a local guide is the insider knowledge and personal insights, allowing us to see a place through the eyes of someone who has spent their entire life there. This added depth and authenticity to my Monrovia experience, making it all the more memorable and enriching.

Bustling Waterside Market in Downtown Monrovia, Photo Credit: MICAT

Youth Changing the Global Image of Liberia

We chose Visit Mama Liberia Today to show us around. Founder Gregg T. Watson isn't just passionate about showcasing Liberia's beauty; he's part of a larger movement of young people determined to build a more resilient economy for their nation's future.

Tired of the negative depictions of Liberia—civil war, Ebola, and other hardships—Gregg took to social media to highlight Liberia's vibrant reality, brimming with potential for growth and innovation. This spark ignited Visit Mama Liberia Today, a company built on the "make it happen" spirit. For years, Gregg and his team have been reshaping tourism by offering tours that go beyond landmarks, fostering genuine cultural connections, and promoting sustainable practices that benefit both visitors and locals.

My guide, Gregg T. Watson, the founder of Visit Mama Liberia Today tour operator

This shift, spearheaded by Liberia's youth, is more than inspiring. It's a blueprint for a future where young people are witnesses to history and active architects of a more resilient and prosperous economy. Gregg and Visit Mama Liberia Today are living proof that optimism, innovation, and a commitment to sustainable practices are the cornerstones of a brighter future for Liberia. They join other young tour companies like the Orange Moon Experience, Innovative Liberia Travel and Tours, Walkobor, and Kakaleka, among others, to showcase the adventure and beauty of this remarkable country.

Now, onto the tour!

A Half-Day Tour in Monrovia

Our day began with a pick-up at my hotel in a clean, air-conditioned car - then we were off! The first stop was a panoramic view of Monrovia's political landmarks: the Executive Mansion, the imposing Capital Building, and the Temple of Justice. These grand structures were a fascinating introduction to Liberia's government. As an American, it was particularly interesting to see the echoes of the US political system reflected in the architecture and layout – a tangible reminder of the historic ties between our two nations.

We then headed to our next stop, Ducor Hill, a place steeped in history that overlooks the vibrant, sometimes chaotic, city and the stunning blue Atlantic below. Here, we stood in awe of the remnants of the old Ducor Hotel from outside its gates. The Ducor Hotel was a grand hotel that fell victim to the ravages of civil war. Gregg's commentary painted a vivid picture of the hotel's glory days when dignitaries from around the world came to enjoy the views of the Atlantic. Adjacent to the hotel stands the JJ Roberts Monument, a tribute to Liberia's first president and the world's first African-American president. We had a full panoramic view of the city and surrounding landscapes from the statue, as Ducor Hill is the highest point in the Monrovia area. 

The JJ Roberts Monument on Ducor Hill, Monrovia

The next stop, the Liberian National Museum, was a treasure trove of artifacts and stories, with Gregg serving as our knowledgeable guide through centuries of Liberian history. 

From tribal traditions to the legacy of the country's founders (freed formerly enslaved African-Americans), every exhibit offered a glimpse into Liberia's unique and fascinating history and culture. My favorite exhibit was on the museum's second floor, entitled "Waves of Time," which takes museum-goers through Liberia's history, starting with the cultures and peoples who lived in Liberia before the African-American settlers arrived. 

The exhibitions inform visitors through the artifacts, documents, photographs, videos, artworks, and other mediums of the stories of Liberia's ethnic groups, the establishment of the Americo-Liberian communities, the two civil wars, how Liberia achieved peace, the Ebola crisis, and the current rebuilding of Liberia. You'll leave with a genuine appreciation for Liberian resilience!

Amazing artifacts of Liberia’s past are on display at the Liberia National Museum in Monrovia

The second floor of the National Museum’s exhibit called “Waves of Time”

As we ventured next door to the Providence Baptist Church, Liberia's oldest church, Gregg's enthusiasm was infectious. With each step, he brought the church's storied past to life. He told of the founders who left the United States in 1821 to arrive at Providence Island and established the church overlooking the Mesurado River and the Atlantic Ocean in 1822. Luckily, I was there on a Sunday, giving me the unique opportunity to hear the soul-stirring harmonies of the gospel choir!

The next stop was also just a few steps away, the Centennial Pavilion, providing a welcome respite from the midday sun. This monument was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the nation of Liberia on July 26, 1947. It serves as the site of presidential inaugurations. When you enter the hall of the building, the portraits of all Liberian presidents line the outside of the chairs, and it is interesting to walk around and get to know the country's former leaders. 

Inside the Centennial Pavilion, where Liberia’s presidents are inaugurated

Our exploration of Monrovia culminated at Providence Island, the birthplace of the nation of Liberia. Stepping onto the very shores where formerly enslaved African Americans first landed in 1822, a palpable sense of history washed over me. A particularly moving sight was the "peace tree," a powerful sculpture crafted from the melted-down weapons of past conflicts. Standing beside this testament to reconciliation, it was exciting to see the strides Liberia has made towards a peaceful future.

Providence Island, where formerly enslaved African Americans first arrived

The peace tree made out of weapons from Liberia’s civil wars stands as a testament to the country's commitment to peace

As we bid farewell to Monrovia's historic sites and breathtaking vistas, I reflected on the moving insights and experiences Gregg had shared about his hometown throughout the day. His passion for Liberia's history, culture, and natural beauty made this tour unforgettable and breathed rich, storied life into the city. 

Monrovia City Tour Guide

Through his tireless efforts and boundless enthusiasm, Gregg is helping to showcase the best of Liberia to the world, one tour at a time. His dedication to promoting cultural exchange, supporting local communities, and preserving Liberia's heritage is truly inspiring. Visit Mama Liberia Today is among a few tour operators providing guided tours in Liberia. 

In addition to a Monrovia tour, Visit Mama Liberia Today offers several other amazing visits around the country, including:

  • Hike Mount Nimba: Embark on an exhilarating hike up Mount Nimba, where a rugged trail leads to breathtaking vistas over three West African countries and allows you to see diverse flora and fauna.
  • Boat Tour of the St. Paul River and the Atlantic Ocean: Cruise along the tranquil waters of the St. Paul River and venture into the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Day Trip to Libassa Ecolodge and Wildlife Sanctuary: Sit by the pools, on the beach, or on the deck overlooking a tidal lagoon at the serene Libassa Ecolodge. Enjoy lush surroundings and eco-friendly accommodations, offering a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
  • Day Trip to the Clay Ashland District: Discover the rich cultural heritage of Clay Ashland, where traditional pottery-making techniques have been passed down through generations, creating exquisite works of art.
  • Tour to Robertsport: Visit one of the largest lakes in Liberia and explore nearby villages along the beach leading to the Bar Mouth, where the lake and Atlantic Ocean meet. During this beach walk, tourists can watch local youth and kids surfing the amazing ocean waves and see adults parking their fishing canoes/boats along the beach for sale at the local market.
  • Tour to Bomi County: Visit the village of Bai T. Moore, one of Liberia’s famous storytellers. In this village tour, tourists can experience how indigenous people cook and preserve food without electricity, enjoy early morning birdwatching, and listen to cultural drums. They arrange for cultural performers and traditional masks to greet tourists, perform traditional dances and rituals, and, best of all, teach guests some cultural dances, creating a lifetime of memories and a connection to Liberia.

Travelers can contact Visita Mama Liberia Today via Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp to book a tour. For more information, email Visit Mama Liberia at [email protected].

Contact Information

Email: [email protected]
Phone: +231 88 002 7551
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram