Backpacking Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire)
Cote d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, can be one of the most appealing West African nations to travelers. This is thanks to its combination of pretty beaches, inland rainforests, and interesting history. It also happens to be a country in which you can enjoy a lot of the best activities and attractions on a fairly tight travel budget.
These are five of the things you might want to keep on your list.
#1 Hike Mount Tonkoui
Mount Tonkoui is actually only the second highest peak in Cote d’Ivoire but is perhaps the best-known for hiking. The mountain is outside of the city of Man and requires several hours at least to hike (meaning it’s not for the faint of heart). However, at the peak, you can see much of the surrounding region and even peek into Liberia and Guinea. It’s one of the best outdoor activities in the country, though there is also an easier hike if you’re looking for something more casual, up the smaller mountain of Dent du Man.
#2 Explore Abidjan
Abidjan is the main city in Cote d’Ivoire, located on the southern Atlantic coast. It will surprise some visitors with its skyline full of skyscrapers, and there are plenty of specific attractions in town. La Pyramide, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the botanical garden are among the top sightseeing spots, and there are also terrific museums and beaches you can enjoy. Additionally, Abidjan has one of the liveliest night scenes in West Africa, which means you can have a lot of fun after the sun goes down as well.
#3 Visit Stade Félix Houphouet-Boigny
Stade Félix Houphouet-Boigny is the main football stadium in town, which is significant given that the Cote d’Ivoire national team is consistently one of the best in Africa. There’s a bit of disappointment now given that the team didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but just last summer they were favorites for the African Cup of Nations and they’ll continue to be a strong group. Needless to say, watching the national team at this home stadium is a treat, and tickets aren’t particularly expensive.
#4 Swim at La Cascade
This is a beautiful country full of very cool natural areas, and La Cascade is near the top of the list. Basically, it’s a rainforest waterfall a short distance from the aforementioned city of Man. The waterfall can lull a little bit late in the summer (during the drought season), but if you visit any other time you’ll see a truly spectacular natural attraction, and one you can wade out into. Just remember to be safe!
#5 Wander Grand Bassam
Grand Bassam is arguably the most interesting man-made part of Cote d’Ivoire. It was the first capital of the country and is now viewed as something of a preserved historical town that still demonstrates French colonial influence. Now, however, the area is also home to some beachside resorts that can make it one of the prettier areas to simply wander around in. It’s well worth checking out, if only for a couple of hours at no cost.