From Istanbul, we flew via Casablanca down to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Surprisingly, without planning it, a friend of mine was on our flight to Monrovia. We bumped into him at the transit security point in the Casablanca airport. I’ve seen him in 4 countries now, only 1 time planned.
Arrival at the Monrovia airport was a complete mess. They had COVID testing on arrival, but where to go, how to show that you’d filled out the forms online, paying…it was chaos, and at 4am no one was too excited about it. Once we finally got our tests and the code to retrieve our results, I asked whether we needed to do a new test before leaving, since we were staying only 3 days. “If you’re staying less than 5 days, you don’t need to do a new test.” Remember that.
Then, we went to passport control, which was also disorganized. We’d applied for visas online, and we had the name of who was holding the certified original document approving our visa. Surprisingly, he wasn’t around.
Once we finally got through passport control, of course someone was basically sitting on our suitcases, hoping we’d pay him to help us with our stuff. They have wheels, no thanks!
Outside, the driver was waiting for us as planned and drove us the 45min out to the Libassa Eco-Lodge. This place is awesome. Aside from the cool stuff like water slides and a lazy river, they cut down 0 trees in the jungle to build it. They use solar power and gray water wherever possible. They built a local school that they sponsor. They have an animal rescue center on the property for injured animals or those seized from trafficking.
We got to our room after 6am and crashed until breakfast.
After breakfast, we explored the property. The pool stuff is along the beach (which has crazy waves & strong currents, so we never got in). The property runs to a lake on the back side, where you can relax, swim, or even use their kayaks.
That afternoon, we set up a tour of the animal rescue center.
What’s cool is that they actually partner with several government and NGO groups to get animals that are injured, hit by cars on the road, seized from trafficking, etc. and work to release any of them they can.
First, we saw a giant eagle with only one foot, so it will never be able to be released. Next, we saw a blind crocodile.
After the mini deer and buffalo, we saw the monkeys.
They have a TON of monkeys, sadly. People capture them in the wild and sell them as pets. There’s an anonymous phone number people can call, and authorities will go seize the animals people are keeping illegally as pets. That’s good, but it doesn’t stop the people from stealing the animals from the wild. They had close to 60 monkeys probably, and they think about 25% will be able to go back to the wild at some point. If they live too long with people or were taken too young, they don’t have the survival skills necessary.
Moving on, we saw an enclosure with several Timneh parrots. They’re a separate but related species from the gray parrot and are considered the smartest parrots in the world. Sadly, people keep them as pets, and many of these will never make it in the wild, so they can’t be released.
The last animal we saw was a pangolin, which is the most trafficked animal in the world.
According to traditional medicine in China, the scales (which are just keratin like our fingernails) can cure infertility, make you powerful, and other nonsense. Thus, they’re killed and turned into medicines, soups, vitamins. It’s stupid and has 0 truth.
Here are some videos from the center.
They’re small and still growing, but they are doing good things.
For the rest of our 3 days, we mostly relaxed. We did kayak out on the lake at one point, but mostly we were lazy. The food options were decent but not amazing for vegan stuff. The wifi was pretty bad. The staff were really friendly.
Mostly, we sat in the lounge chairs looking over the ocean and took it easy.
The night before we were supposed to leave, we still hadn’t received our COVID test results from the test on arrival. I talked to the owner, who knew some senator who comes to the lodge frequently. She called him, we got the number to the chief of the testing lab…and long story short I didn’t sleep much that night. I kept making phone calls and sending emails, checking the test results website…nothing.
Our next destination (Ethiopia) wouldn’t let us in without proof of a test, but Liberia said they won’t give us the results if we stayed less than 5 days. “Just get on the plane, you’re ok to leave our country,” they said. Sure, but I can’t actually get on the plane without the paper you won’t give me.
Finally, when the flight was boarding (we went to the airport to fight our case, since the testing center is there), and after cussing out a few people and asking them “do you want us to leave your country or not?” they finally realized no flight they could attempt to put us on would accept us without a COVID test paper. Every country you can fly to from Liberia (Sierra Leone, Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia, Togo) requires proof of a negative test result to get on the plane. Shocker, I was right that we needed the paper.
They finally printed out some results for us, with our names totally spelled wrong, and we boarded. Good thing we got the papers, since the flight attendants demanded to see them during boarding, and we had to show them to connect during our layover in Ghana. 0 beyond 0 chance those idiots actually understood the situation with telling us we didn’t need the paper. We got the paper, I’m sure the people at the Monrovia airport hate me, and we left.
Liberia was interesting, but we both agreed that it’s not somewhere we’d plan to go back to.This entry was posted in Africa, Libassa, Liberia