Last weekend we took the opportunity to get out of Monrovia and drive up country to Gbarnga. This “city” (apparently the third largest in Liberia) is pronounced “bonga” and, even more amusingly, is located in Bong County. It’s about 3 hours drive inland from Monrovia, in the direction of the Guinean border.
Our main reason for going there was to visit the nearby Kpatawe waterfall, which is a bit of a trek to get to – first a long drive along paved roads peppered with potholes, then a shorter but slower drive along narrow dirt pistes through the bush (requiring some challenging off-road driving skills, artfully managed by my friends), and finally a tiring upstream hike along a narrow track through the jungle (involving a nerve-racking river crossing by fallen tree-trunk and a bit of bush whacking at the end).
By the time we reached the falls, I was knackered. It took the last of my energy to change into my bikini and crack open a Savanna (I know, life is hard). But it was well worth the effort – the setting is as pretty as it is primal. I have never been in a jungle before, and it is literally teeming with life – exotically colored butterflies float across the path; the myriad sounds of frogs and birds and other critters fill the air; all sorts of insects swarm in the reddish dirt; and a riot of green vegetation crushes in on you from all sides. And right through the middle of this runs the crashing waterfall, drowning out any thoughts save for peace.