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Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire travel guide

Côte d’Ivoire – the Ivory Coast – is Africa for the most adventurous travellers, who'll be rewarded with mud mosques, chimpanzee sightings and super trekking

Perched between Ghana and Liberia, this once harmonious West African nation has had a tumultuous few years. The 2002 armed rebellion cost thousands of lives and split the country in two. Since the conflict ended there have been tentative steps towards long-term peace punctuated by sporadic violence. The troubles have ensured that, when it comes to African travel destinations, Côte d'Ivoire is well and truly languishing at the bottom of the pile.

But there is far more to this diverse country than pejorative headlines. Sky-skimming modern office blocks collide with baked-mud mosques and the elegant Yamoussoukro basilica. Energetic cities clash with rugged Atlantic beaches and an impressive stretch of rainforest. There are also some 60 tribal groups including Dan, Lobi, Baoulé and Senoufo peoples, each with a fascinating culture – think symbolic art, magic spells and naked spirit cleansing festivals.

Wanderlust recommends

(Check safety advice before heading to these attractions).

  1. Visit modern Abidjan. Experience one of Treichville’s lively markets and see Africa’s largest outdoor launderette at Abobo, where the stream is dotted with hundreds of Fanicos scrubbing clothes.
  2. Keep your eyes peeled for chimpanzees in Park National de Taï’s rainforest.
  3. Be spellbound by Yamoussoukro’s beautiful basilica. Modelled on St Peter's in Rome, it is the largest church in the world behind the Vatican.
  4. Spot elephants, monkeys, hippos and more at Comoë National Park, Côte d'Ivoire's biggest game reserve, before seeing some fine mosques in the homeland of the Lobi people.    
  5. Make a beeline for Man, also known as ‘the city of 18 mountains’. Hikers will find this a great base for exploring the nearby peaks, waterfall and butterfly-filled bamboo forest.

Wanderlust tips

Check that your medical insurance includes evacuation by air ambulance and stay abreast of safety advice. Carry your passport at all times.

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