ABOUT There are plenty of beaches around Monrovia. Out towards the airport after ELWA junction is ELWA beach, set inside a compound there is a marked safe swimming area, clean beach and plenty of families at the weekends. No facilities though. Further on is Thinkers with a food and drinks service, though the waves are a bit rough here, and it is not safe to walk up or down the beach too far. CE beach out the other way, over the bridge out to Hotel Africa is very well set up with palm umbrellas, drinks service and a buffet, and a well protected swimming area. Liberia has few tourism companies but tours are available like canoeing trips and hikes through the rainforest and local culture tours of the country’s capital, Monrovia. You won’t get air-conditioned buses or rigid schedules but it can be fun. Also for an interesting day trip, Robertsport offers a glimpse of Liberia's cultural history as well as clean, beautiful beaches. A group of South Africans has set up a tent camp for those wishing to spend the night on the beach and the UN also offers accommodations on a first-come basis. Beware the strong tides. The city of Buchanan, a several hour car ride from Monrovia, also offers sublime beaches and a selection of restaurants and guest houses. Peace finally came to Liberia in 2003. And then Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made history by becoming the first democratically elected female head of state on the continent. She began by clearing Liberia's crippling foreign debt, building new roads and strengthening the security forces. For her efforts, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. Roberts International Airport is located some 60 km from the city center at Robertsfield. British Airways flies from Heathrow on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. There are no real train services, one track, which previously belonged to a mine, has now been opened for tourists.

CLIMATE The equatorial climate is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October with a short interlude in mid-July to August. During the winter months of November to March dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland causing many problems.

BEWARE There is a significant level of crime in Monrovia, including armed robbery. The Liberian National Police has very limited capability to prevent or detect crime, or to provide emergency response in any part of the country. Levels of crime are much higher after dark, and you should not walk anywhere in the city at night. Most crime is opportunistic theft, although there are some more organised criminal gangs. Thieves are often armed with knives or machetes, but occasionally also carry firearms. While Liberians are the main victims of crime, the relative wealth of international visitors makes them an attractive target for criminals when the opportunity arises. Avoid carrying valuables in public and be vigilant at all times, especially at night. Mobile phones and laptop computers are common targets of theft. There have been incidents of muggings of foreigners in the Mamba Point and Sinkor areas of Monrovia, where most international visitors stay. There is a high incidence of rape in Liberia and there have been cases of rapes and attempted rapes involving expatriate women.