Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash

Côte d’Ivoire is large, varied, and relatively developed and touristy by West Africa standards – “relatively” being key. Transport between the major cities is smoother than in neighboring countries, making the interior more accessible. Yet Côte d’Ivoire is a country of massive contrasts, and those seeking off-the-beaten-track experiences don’t need to look far for a bumpy bush taxi ride to a rarely visited town.

Most visitors come for the beach resorts concentrated around Grand Bassam and Assinie, where you can relax beneath palm trees with a cold beer and grilled fish. The capital Abidjan is surprisingly swanky in pockets, providing expat-quality food and coffee shops at prices to match, while the rest of the bustling city goes about its business in more typical West African fashion.

Nowhere in Côte d’Ivoire is the country’s contrast more evident than in Yamoussoukro, the past-its-prime administrative capital that boasts the Basilica of our Lady of Peace, the largest church in the world! Intrepid travelers head west to the pleasant mountain town and hiking destination of Man, or to Tai National Park for wildlife. Those with enough time head all the way north to Korhogo to learn about animist traditions and artisan crafts.

French is the official language of Côte d’Ivoire and you’ll need to speak a little to get by, as English speakers are rare. Prices can be a bit higher than you’d expect for what you get, especially in the resort areas and Abidjan. Navigating the country takes a bit of work and is not hassle-free. But for those with some experience traveling in Africa, Côte d’Ivoire has much to offer in natural beauty and cultural interest.

Excerpt by Exploring Wild

Here’s everything you need to plan a trip to Ivory Coast! So what are you waiting for?

LANGUAGE:  French   

CURRENCY:  West African CFA Franc (XOF)

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)