The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Liberia’s civil war ended in 2003. The United Nations mission (UNMIL) that was deployed to Liberia to facilitate the peaceful transition is still there. This presence helps to establish a climate that fosters stability. Police forces are going through a restructuring process and have limited presence on the ground. The national police can be overextended, particularly when demonstrations and other crowd movements occur.
Area bordering Côte d’ivoire
This border area has been highly unstable in the past, and the presence of armed militias and the lack of proper security force patrols increase the risk to travelers.
Quarantine measures are strictly enforced. Screening measures are in place at entry points in an attempt to contain the Ebola outbreak. Some airlines have suspended flights to and from Liberia. Confirm the status of your flight with the airline before heading to the airport.
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. A high degree of poverty increases the likeliness of criminality, and crime levels in Liberia are high, including in the capital. Muggings, armed assaults and theft are prevalent. Avoid walking alone and displaying any signs of affluence in public, and do not leave valuables or bags unattended. Residential armed break-ins are also common. Crime significantly increases at night due to the lack of electricity in some parts of the capital.
Violent crimes, including aggravated sexual assault and murder, routinely occur and have involved foreigners. Police forces can rarely offer protection and do not have the capacity to investigate and prosecute.
Large demonstrations, often politically motivated, have happened in the past and there could be more. The tension that accompanied the presidential and legislative elections in October and November 2011 has subsided and has given way to a more stable environment. However, violence could still occur during public demonstrations. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The UNMIL force provides national authorities with support and guarantees of limited security on major roads as well as around Monrovia and the main population centres. However, security problems persist throughout the country, including in Monrovia and many outlying regions.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Roberts International Airport (RIA) is located 56 kilometres outside Monrovia. Daytime air service is very limited. With the supervision of UNMIL, the airport is accessible, but expect frequently crowded and disorganized conditions. Since public transportation to Monrovia is not reliable, arrange to be met upon arrival at the airport and dropped off on departure by reliable contacts. If transportation is not arranged, you are advised to hire cars and drivers from reputable security providers with respect to journey management.
During the day, travellers may circulate safely on the country’s roads, as well as in the capital, Monrovia, however, renting a car and driving yourself is not recommended. Overland travel can be hazardous and should only be undertaken in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Roads are generally in poor condition and rarely paved outside Monrovia. Moreover, their condition deteriorates significantly during the rainy season.
Travel after dark is particularly dangerous and is not recommended. There are no operating traffic lights and all roads are unlit; exercise caution when approaching intersections. Overloaded vehicles frequently stop without signalling, pedestrians routinely dodge traffic and roaming animals pose a hazard.
Drivers may be required to pull off the road with headlights turned off when high-speed car convoys carrying government officials announce their presence. It is advisable to wait a few minutes after the convoy passes before resuming your journey.
The number of UNMIL security checkpoints has significantly decreased and they are much less obstrusive than in the past. However, they can still cause significant delays.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Secure tourist facilities and accommodations are very limited in Monrovia and there is little to no infrastructure outside the capital. Travel outside Monrovia and in rural areas is generally inadvisable. There is no landline telephone system in the country. Mobile telecommunications exist in Monrovia and other major towns, however many remote areas and stretches of road between major towns have no coverage. North American cell phones do not always work in Liberia.
Water is not commercially available in Monrovia and there is no functioning sewage system. However, bottled water is available from many businesses.
Fuel shortages are common and transportation services are severely limited or inadequate in rural areas.
When visiting the beach, swimmers should be aware of dangerous currents.
You should carry valid official photo identification with you at all times, preferably a certified copy of your passport’s identification page. Ensure that you always maintain sufficient supplies of food, water and other essentials.