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Ivory Coast is located on the southern coast of western Africa and is entirely washed by the Atlantic Ocean on its southern side. The coastal country of Liberia is towards the east of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire while Ghana shares its eastern borders. Towards the northern side, it shares borders with Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso from west to east. While the political capital of Ivory Coast is Yamoussoukro, the largest city, as well as the economic hub, is Abidjan.
Ivory Coast is a stunning country with varied geography. While the northern parts of the country are guarded by the high grasslands of Mount Nimba, the southern side has some stunning beaches. Misty forests are found in abundance on the western side while expansive fields of coffee plantations could be found on the eastern side of the nation.
The nation had extensive coffee and ivory (wherefrom it gets its name) trade with the West and had also been a colony of France between 1893 and 1993. It had seen two civil wars since its freedom and there has been much economic instability. The Ebola virus has left its deep marks on the nation. However, despite these situations, the nation has once again become the largest coffee exporter in the world and has become quite delightful to visit. Exotic food, hikes through solitary paths, and beautiful beaches are what is on offer for you if you are planning a trip to Ivory Coast. So, let's start with all the wonderful places that you should be visiting if you are planning to explore Ivory Coast.
Grand-Bassam is an excellent start to your Ivory Coast tour. The city is situated on the eastern side of Abidjan and is 45 km away by road. Taxis or buses are the best way to reach this superb destination without much trouble.
The old city of Bassam was the central hub of the Ivory Coast whilst it was ruled by the French during the colonial times. The Ancien Bassam district is speckled with elegant mansions built in Parisian architectural styles as well as so many elegant municipal buildings. The sheer wealth of architectural features has earned Grand-Bassam the status of being UNESCO World Heritage. The buildings are crumbling and desolate and efforts are being taken to renovate them. Some of these buildings have already been renovated and opened for the public to visit. Two of the most prominent features that you have to visit while you are in Bassam are the Cathédrale Sacré Cœur and the captivating Museum of Costume.
Grand-Bassam is the newer city that has been developed and is the hip and happening spot of the region. It is where you will find most of the activity in the city. There are beaches towards the east as well as the western sides of Grand-Bassam waiting for you to explore.
Abidjan is the largest and the most happening place to be in while you are exploring Ivory Coast. Na population of more than 4 million lives here making it the second-largest city in western Africa. Consequently, it is very easy to travel to and from Abidjan. The international airport in this city receives quite a lot of national as well as international flights. International flights from France, Brussels, Cairo, Dubai, Nairobi, Beirut, Lisbon, and other cities are scheduled regularly. If you are already on Ivory Coast, you could travel using the roadways via cars or buses. You may also take to the railways to reach your destination to and from Abidjan.
The city is located on the southern coast and opens up into the wide Ebrié Lagoon. This is a stunning city and just the perfect place to introduce you to the culture and people of the Ivory Coast. It is an even better destination than the capital Yamoussoukro to start your adventures on Ivory Coast. There are lots of restaurants to choose from while you are here, you have to try the local cuisine, especially the mouth-watering cassava curry. Wandering through the busy streets of the central Plateau district would also be a great way to experience the vibe of the Ivory Coast. You have to visit St. Paul's Cathedral and look at the towering Francophone spires- a major attraction in Abidjan. If you want to go through the history, tradition, and culture of the people of the Ivory Coast in greater detail, hitting the National Museum is the best idea for you.
Man is one of the most stunning places that the Ivory Coast has to offer. Situated in the western forests of the nation along the rocky edges of the impressive Toura Mountain Range, this particular city is quite the breather from your everyday life. You might either visit Man on a day trip or choose to stay longer if you are looking for a place to chill and relax. The region is surrounded by farms and coffee plantations and thus makes way for quite a refreshing tour destination. It is also quite an important city being the seat of the Tonkpi Region as well as the Montagnes District.
Man is magical and very different from the other destinations on Ivory Coast. You will find two of the highest peaks on the Ivory Coast over here- the Tonkoui and the Toura peaks. The most beautiful geographic feature that brings so many tourists to Man every year is the Cascades waterfall- it is truly a great slice of nature! The forests in Man are mainly composed of bamboo and visitors like to explore through these calm, solitary stretches. The journey is made even more beautiful by the presence of vibrantly colored butterflies to be found throughout the forest area. If you are lucky, you may even come across some very rare insects while you are exploring the forests.
You would also have to visit the Catholic Diocese of Man to look at the influence of the western world on this nation. La Dent de man is another unmissable spot while you are exploring the region. And while you are exploring the forests, be sure to make a trip into the monkey forest to look at something great.
Taï National Park
Taï National Park on Ivory Coast is one of the best places to see the wilderness of the African continent come to life. It covers a gigantic area of 3,000 km2 and is covered in the layered canopies of a rainforest. There are two points through which you can enter the national park area- the villages of Tai and Niobe. Since the area is protected, you would need prior permissions and a guide to enter it. An NGO runs a camp allowing you to even stay the night amongst all the wilderness. The only way to reach these entry points is through an unpaved road that hails from Guiglo.
Taï National Park is one of the most scenic attractions that the Ivory Coast has to offer. Mist-covered rainforests will surround you and offer you peace and tranquillity. The rainforests here are the last remnants of the extensive Upper Guinea rainforests which once covered the entire region between Gabon and Senegal.
The rainforest is not the only attractive natural feature to look out for. Everything naturally beautiful that you can think of can be found in Taï National Park. Huge expanses of river valleys, savannah grasslands, and peculiar inselbergs- all such kinds of natural geographical features could be found against the backdrop of the rainforest at this national park. Amongst wildlife species, you will find some very exotic and rare finds if you are lucky which include chimpanzees, olive colobus monkeys, duikers, and the now-endangered pygmy hippopotamuses!
San-Pédro is a harbor city situated in the Southwestern Forest region of the nation. It is a beautiful city and also happens to be the second-largest port town in the nation. There are two roads to enter San-Pédro from Abidjan-. The more direct road through Sassandra takes about 10 hours because of its worsening condition while the one through Gagnoa and Soubré would take you about 8 hours.
The harbor of San-Pédro extends out into the Atlantic Ocean much like two elongated tendrils from some marine being. It is also quite the trade center and has been a major point of export of fish and mineral and metal ores. The trade has ensured that a bustling city grows around the harbor making it one of the happening places to be in the Ivory Coast. Taï National Park is very close to this region and you could visit the spot while you are visiting this town. You will find many restaurants, nightclubs, and bars to explore within the city. The Bas-Sassandra beaches are also nearby and one of the major attractions to look out for while you are in the region.
Yamoussoukro is the capital of the Ivory Coast and will leave you with a very strange experience. It is a beautiful city and should be on your list of places to visit while you are on Ivory Coast. There is an international airport in Yamoussoukro but there aren't regularly scheduled flights into it and thus not the best option to enter the city. The road from Abidjan would be your best bet. Buses are regularly scheduled from other major cities on Ivory Coast too. The road from Abidjan is the best one and it would take you about 2.5 hours to reach the city. If you take the road from Bouaké it will take you about 1.5 hours, though the condition of the road is not that good.
You will be transported to a strange fantasy world as you enter Yamoussoukro. Though there are stunning open spaces throughout the city and grand buildings along with a range of high-rise hotels, the city boasts a population of just 300,000 and often looks much like a ghost town. This is a great place to explore some stunning works of Ancient Rome since there are domes and columns still standing tall from that era. The best attraction that this city has to offer has to be the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. This colossal church is the largest church for Christians in the world and you have to see it to feel the immensity of this structure.
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