Harper’s Tourist Potential

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Liberia is endowed with unparalleled natural assets: over three hundred miles of sun-kissed beaches, rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and wildlife

Despite beautiful vegetation, sandy and rocky beaches, lagoons, as well as waterfalls across the country, the lack of basic infrastructural facilities across Liberia is hampering the development of the tourist industry.

On a recent visit to the southeastern county of Maryland, this reporter discovered that there exists beautiful areas for the promotion of tourism, but because of the lack of good roads, these areas remain unreachable, hence unknown.

In Maryland County, the Daily Observer visited the mouth of the Cavalla River, which lies at the bordering town of Kablaken. This area is full of long sandy beaches, with a lagoon on the other side, making the beach a virtual island.

The view of an Ivorian town on the other side of the lagoon left me feeling like either swimming across or taking a boat ride.

The beach from Harper to Kablaken is lined with coconut trees, and another tree locally known as ‘Boston’ coconut tree. Legend has it that the tree was brought to the area by settlers. An immigration checkpoint lies about 10 minutes walk from the mouth of Cavalla.

Along the way to Kablaken, where the Cavalla joins the sea, are historical sites such as an Episcopal church, built entirely of rocks in 1838 in the coastal town of Grand Cavalla, about 15km northeast of Harper.

The tomb of one prophet William Wade Harris lies near the town of Graway, which is situated some minutes away from Harper.

The late prophet Wade Harris, who lived between 1860 and 1929, is commonly referred to as Liberia’s first native prophet. The wording on his tombstone is done in both French and English; something many said was done by citizens of Ivory Coast and Ghana.

According to residents, people from Ghana and Ivory Coast visit the tomb annually to pay homage to the prophet.

“They can come and carry soil from around the tomb and use it for healing,” said one of the locals.

“It was the Ghanians and Ivorians that decorated the tomb, this is why you see the writing in both English and French,” said another person.

Despite the eastern Harper beaches, Superintendent Betsy T. Kouh A-Toe described Maryland as the home of sunshine and enjoyment, boasting of the coconut beaches around Fish Town and Rock Town, west of Harper.

The rocky cape lies south of Harper overlooking the seaport. People are seen daily doing their sunbathing in the area, with small beach clubs for refreshment and entertainment.

Ivorian wine and gins make the day super for anyone spending their vacation or weekend in the historic city of Harper and its nearby beaches.

But the question is how to get there when the road condition is very bad; and what mechanism the government is putting in place to attract tourists to these areas.

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