The main port and capital city of Liberia was completely destroyed during the civil war in the 1990s and came under rebel attack again beginning in 2002. Heavy fighting in and around the city demolished buildings, roads and bridges. Reconstruction, done in fits and starts around hostilities, has been slow, although in recent months it has begun to gain momentum. There are basic services, such as supermarkets and a surprisingly decent range of hotels (most lower midrange), and the city is the only place in Liberia where you can take care of banking and other business. However, it offers almost nothing by way of tourist infrastructure. If you find yourself there with time on your hands, you might check out the ailing National Museum on Broad Street in the city center or enjoy a drink on the terrace of Mamba Point Hotel. A number of restaurants, bars and clubs have opened up during the past year to cater to the large influx of staff from the U.N. Mission in Liberia and nongovermental agencies—ask local contacts to show you their favorites

An enjoyable half-day excursion is to the white-sand beaches and cultural center of Kendeja, about 10 mi/16 km down the coast from Monrovia. There are numerous artisans there, some of whom are descendants of those brought forcibly to the village many years ago to create a crafts center, and the beach is a popular weekend relaxation spot. Monrovia is 150 mi/240 km northwest of Greenville.

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