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Côte d’Ivoire Travel Guide

Côte d’Ivoire Travel Guide

Once the picture of stability in Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, has fallen into disarray in recent years. Its efforts to sustain modernity and prosperity were cut short by the death of its first president, Houphouet-Boigny causing the same fate as many of its African neighbors- internal discord. The year 2002 saw an armed rebellion that tore the nation apart and changed the entire political climate forever. Today, rebellions have subsided though tensions are still high, making travel difficult. However, explorers who brave the country’s rocky landscape will be rewarded with many rich attractions.

The Ivory Coast is surrounded by other interesting West African destinations like Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso. It boasts a colorful culture and plenty of natural elements. It is home to several World Heritage national parks including the virgin rainforests of Tai National Park, the lush Comoe National Park and the well-preserved Mount Nimba Reserve. The Ivory Coast offers plenty of opportunities to experience the great outdoors at their finest and to discover the past of this part of the continent. Boasting vast expanses of rainforests and nature reserves with abundant wildlife along with other draws like the beautiful Cascade Waterfall, Côte d’Ivoire is a hidden gem.

Cultural experiences like the annual Festival of Masks in the town of Man—made lively by people in colorful masks and costumes surrounded by dancers on stilts, will leave you in awe. The capital of Yamoussoukro is home to many historic wonders. You can find an amazing replica of Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica complete with stunning stained-glass windows. The country’s largest city and cosmopolitan heart, Abidjan, is not only home to spectacular skyscrapers and its own landmark cathedral, but also to beautiful parks and museums.

There are plenty of hotels in the larger towns ranging from cheap to luxurious and catering to all budgets and desires. Booking in advance is recommended if you're not purchasing a complete Ivory Coast tour package. Good eats are easy to find, especially in Abidjan, and food is cheap, whether you want to try the street favorites or go for a slightly more upscale sitdown dining experience.

Traveling around Côte d’Ivoire is much more comfortable than neighboring West African countries. Roads are generally in good condition and there are plenty of gas stations. Bus services are modern and reliable, and taxis frequent the main cities. Renting a car is a convenient way to get around, but public transportation (rail, bus or boat networks) is also reliable.

Highlights

  • Explore the commercial heart of Abidjan with its trendy bars, restaurants and museums
  • Take a wildlife safari and sightsee around the country’s verdant national parks and game reserves
  • Explore the former capital and beach town of Assouinde
  • Fish for barracuda, red carp and mullet in the country’s Lagunes region
  • Hike around Man, where the Festival of Masks is held
  • Hunt and fish in the town of Korhogo
  • Admire the awe-inspiring Cathedrale Notre Dame de la Paix in the capital of Yamoussoukro and visit the town’s bustling markets and stunning architectural landmarks
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