Côte d’Ivoire, also usually known as Ivory Coast is a country located in West Africa with its south facing the North Atlantic Ocean coast. It is shares its borders with Ghana to the east, Liberia to the west, Guinea to the northwest, Mali to the north, and Burkina Faso to the northeast. Ivory Coast is the place to visit if you want to experience really West African villages, beaches, and take amazing photos of African nature in its safaris.
Another feature this country offers is the gorgeous ‘Mount Nienokoue’ that you can climb if you’re more of a nature lover. The 230 meters of trekking will be worth it after you see what it has to offer: it consists mostly of unexploited forests and exotic animals, and you can expect a plethora of breathtaking views along the way. If you want to mingle with the folks, visit Tanu Sakkasu near Bouake and see how the black pottery is traditionally made or visit the Wananiere Village des Tisserands near Korhogo and learn how the traditional cloth is made.
Warnings & Dangers in Ivory Coast
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Generally speaking, safety in Ivory Coast is not one of a high level. There is petty crime, violent crime, political differences, and you should generally be very careful when traveling to this country.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
Transportation is definitely not safe in Côte d'Ivoire. If you plan on traveling by bus, you should know that car and bus-jackings are common and checkpoints and roadblocks may be encountered. Tourists are highly advised against traveling to the Dix-Huit Montagnes and Moyen-Cavally regions of western Côte d'Ivoire, bordering Liberia as there have been reports of banditry and carjacking.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpockets are generally an issue in this country, especially if you’re an obvious tourist. Travelers are targeted, particularly on public transportation and in crowded places. Be careful and keep your valuables in your accommodation. Refrain from flashing your belongings in public.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
When it comes to natural disasters, heavy flooding has been known to affect this country, and additional problems that can cause more problems are the facts that Ivory Coast has no natural harbors.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There is a real threat of being mugged or robbed on the streets of Ivory Coast. Be especially careful when crossing the De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan as pedestrians have been attacked and robbed in the past, even during the day. Keep in mind that the risk of being targeted increases at night throughout Abidjan. Armed robberies of hotels and restaurants are also common.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Côte d’Ivoire, and the main danger comes from AQ-M and its associated groups that are persistent in their intent to increase their influence across the region.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Like in any country throughout Africa, there is a heightened risk of being scammed. There are a number of scams performed on tourists, and the locals might use tricks to trick you in order to get money from you. Double check everything, and negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Ivory Coast isn't the safest of countries for solo females. Apply basic precaution measures - avoid wearing purses and do not walk alone or roam around deserted or poorly lit streets and areas. Women are advised against going to beaches alone or entering buses without someone to accompany them.
So... How Safe Is Ivory Coast Really?
Ivory Coast is not among the safest countries of the world, or in Africa for that matter. West Africa is generally not for the fainthearted, as every country in this region has its share of political instability, violence, terrorism and poverty. Ivory Coast is no exception to this rule.
After the presidential elections in 2010, the safety situation has been unpredictable to put it mildly. The violence erupted and had hundreds of deaths and millions of people displaced as a consequence. The situation improved after President Alassane Ouattara was sworn in May 2011 and former President Laurent Gbagbo was arrested. The security situation in the commercial capital, Abidjian, is slowly improving and things are starting to go back to normal, but the atmosphere is still tense and tourists are highly advised against going anywhere at night. Regularly monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Another issue to be aware of is carjacking and it is useful to keep this in mind as carjackers tend to attack at stop lights. Never stop completely at a stop sign or traffic lights, always keep a brisk pace so they cannot carjack you. The good thing about Ivory Coast is that the locals will usually notice the dangers threatening naïve travelers, and be very protective of them or come to their aid.
- Visas - Many countries do need a visa in order to enter Ivory Coast. However, it is possible to apply for a visa online. After registering and paying online, the visa can be acquired on arrival at Abidjan airport. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past the date of your arrival at Ivory Coast. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - West African CFA franc is the official currency in Ivory Coast. ATMs are available in the bigger cities, but always have a cash stash. Credit cards are accepted only in top-end establishments.
- Weather - Côte d'Ivoire has tropical climate along its coast, and semiarid climate in far north. There are three seasons in this country - warm and dry season that lasts from November to March, hot and dry season that lasts from March to May, hot and wet season from June to October. Due to the fact that the coast has heavy surf and no natural harbours, torrential flooding is highly probable during the rainy season.
- Airports - Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport, also referred to as Port Bouët Airport, is the largest airport in Ivory Coast for air traffic. It is located 16 km south east of Abidjan.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Côte d'Ivoire, since it covers not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.