Things to see and do in Ivory Coast
Attractions in Ivory Coast
Be impressed by the capital, Yamoussoukro
Discover the city's lively market, the mosque and the palace of the president, not to mention the exquisite Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix. Fractionally smaller than St Peter's in Rome, it incorporates a greater area of stained glass than the total area of stained glass in France. Yamoussoukro was the birthplace of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. The cathedral was paid for almost entirely out of his own pocket.
Escape to the beach
About 100km (60 miles) east of Abidjan is the beach resort of Assouinde. Also not too far from the city is Grand Bassam, whose sandy beaches make the place a favourite weekend retreat for the inhabitants of Abidjan. Note that in Abidjan and the surrounding coastal resorts, there is a dangerous deep current and swimmers should stay near the shore.
There is good coastal and river fishing in Côte d'Ivoire. Red carp, barracuda, mullet and sole can all be caught from the shores of the lagoons. Sea trips can be organised through travel agencies to catch swordfish, bonito and marlin. Boats and instructors are available in Abidjan, where waterskiing and sailing are also available.
Marvel at the bright lights of Abidjan
The former capital and largest city, Abidjan, comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors. The glistening downtown is a place of bright lights and lofty skyscrapers, while the more traditional Old Town, Treichville, is home to many bars, restaurants and nightclubs, plus the colourful central market. There is a very good museum, the Ifon Museum, as well as the National Museum containing historic artefacts, statues and ivory.
Spot African wildlife
The largest and oldest national park in Côte d'Ivoire is Comoë National Park, in the northeast, where lions, waterbucks, hippos and other animals can be seen frolicking in their natural habitat. The Abokouamekro Game Reserve is another great spot for wildlife watching and is one of the more accessible parks, about an hour outside Yamoussoukro. Most national parks in Côte d'Ivoire are largely inaccessible for visitors without their own vehicles.
Take a hike
The verdant hills surrounding Man, nicknamed the 'City of 18 Mountains', are a joy for hikers. As well as harbouring some of the last remaining rainforest in Côte d'Ivoire, these lofty ranges are also home to Mount Tonkoui, whose 1,223m (4,012ft) summit offers views over Liberia and Guinea. Guides are necessary for longer walks.
Tour the provinces
Take a trip around Côte d'Ivoire. Places worth visiting include Korhogo, the main city in the north, which is notable for its woodcarving and handicrafts. The former capital of Bingerville, with its idyllic, lagoon-side setting, and the town of Bouaké, also renowned for its crafts, are also worth a visit.
Walk to a waterfall
From Man you can visit La Cascade, a pretty waterfall that crashes into a bamboo forest, 5km (3 miles) from town. The falls are accessed via a paved pathway, which offers a pleasant walk through the forests. Hikers can expect to receive a warm welcome if they take a detour to the villages of Biankouma and Gouessesso.
Watch some stilt dancing
Dancers in Côte d'Ivoire perform incredible acrobatics on stilts as part of time-honoured ceremonial dances. Often performed at weddings, funerals or the arrival of an important person, these rituals are performed by children as young as seven. Visits to stilt dancing performances can be arranged from Man.