The Republic of Ivory Coast is one of the still little known or seldom discovered countries in the world for tourism. This southwestern piece of Africa has a lot to offer that are worth discovering… both in terms of landscape and culture. You will find idyllic, palm-fringed beaches with fine sand along with 25-35 ° C all year round on the 600 km long coastline on the Gulf of Guinea, as well as mangrove forests in the lagoon zone, rainforests, savannah or, for example, the La Cascade waterfalls. Towards the western border with Guinea the country becomes mountainous and reaches its highest point with Mount Nimba at 1,752 m. Eight national parks are also part of nature. The most famous of these are Parc du Banco with 3,000 hectares of equatorial rainforest and Abokouamékro. As a former French colony, the Ivory Coast also has cultural and historical attractions. One of the oldest places is Bondoukouo in the northeast, while the city of Man is famous for the Guere and Yacouba and their mask and stilt dances. Impressive colonial buildings and the Musée National du Costume museum can be found in the former capital, Grand Bassam. Impressions of the everyday life of the population can be gained at the traditional market in the village of Biankouma. And you will encounter urban life on the Ivory Coast in the capital Yamoussoukro with its modern architecture or in the economic metropolis of Abidjan, the “Paris of West Africa”, in whose Treichville district you will also find numerous restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
an almost forgotten city in Africa
The traces of history have taken on a patina here and there, but a visit to the port city of Grand Bassam on the Ivory Coast is still an impressive experience. The former colonial metropolis is located in a lagoon in the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic coast and was the most important city during the French colonial period for several years. Since June 2012 the historical part of the old town of Grand Bassam has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The epitome of exotic Africa
With a little imagination, while strolling through the old city, the visitor can still feel something of the former charm of the French colonial era. Forty kilometers east of today’s capital Abidjan, this region bore all the attributes of exotic Africa in the late 19th century. This is one of the reasons why it was so popular with Europeans as a place to live, and the remains of the luxurious villas in Grand Bassam still bear witness to this today. However, the city only enjoyed a certain importance for a manageable period of time, because after the outbreak of a yellow fever epidemic, numerous citizens fled Grand Bassam.
The grandeur of the villas has faded
The old and the new city are connected by a bridge. In the historic area of Grand Bassam, a number of houses have been saved from deterioration thanks to support from UNESCO – but many others are still in disrepair. On the other hand, several interesting museums have emerged that provide information about the development of the state on the Ivory Coast and insights into the lifestyle of the people in the port city. The splendor of the early mansions, the historic cathedral and the governor’s palace have faded here and there, but at least the parks with their stately palm trees have survived for more than a century. Today around 85,000 people live in Grand Bassam – most of them in the new town. In the past this was exclusively the residence of the servants of the French colonial masters.
As the capital of the Ivory Coast, Yamoussoukro is larger than Berlin with an area of over 1,050 km². In contrast to the German capital with its 3.5 million inhabitants, around 300,000 people live in Yamoussoukro and the surrounding villages. The Ivory Coast itself is much smaller than Germany at 320,000 km². The population of Ivory Coast is also lower at around 25 million. Yamoussoukro is 250 km north of Abidjan, the seat of government. For tourists, Yamoussoukro, with its scenic location and sights, is a popular destination for both study trips and adventure vacations.
Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix basilica and Grande Mosquee
One of the highlights of a sightseeing through Yamoussoukro is the Roman Catholic basilica in the diocese of Yamoussoukro. It was built in the 1980s based on the model of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. With an area of 8,000 m², there is room for up to 11,000 believers. With the dome height of 158 meters, the basilica is one of the world’s largest sacred buildings. It was consecrated in 1990 by Pope Paul II. The Grand Mosquee is within view across the street. It was built in the 1960s and is still in active use today. About 80 percent of the country’s population are Christian and half are Muslims.
Excursion to the Abokouamekro Game Reserve
The approximately 130 km² nature reserve and game reserve was opened in the early 1990s. Less because of the animals such as elephants and rhinos than because of the beautiful landscape, a guided day trip through the wilderness of the protected area is worthwhile. From Yamoussoukro you can be there by car in 60 to 90 minutes. A large, artificially created lake and the panoramic view from some of the hills over the entire reserve are worth seeing and experiencing.
In Yamoussoukro you can choose from a number of 3 * and 4 * hotels according to the national category. The journey leads via Abidjan International Airport and then, depending on the tour operator, with a domestic flight or with a rental car to Yamoussoukro.
Tai National Park
a little paradise
One of the most impressive national parks in the world is located in the south-west of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). On more than 300,000 hectares, the Tai National Park presents the last large rainforest in West Africa. A tour through this national park is one of the highlights of a round trip in Africa.
From a protected area to a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Today’s UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ideal destination for study trips, but also for nature lovers who want to gather unforgettable experiences on their travels. As early as 1926, the area of the Tai National Park was designated as a forest and game reserve. In 1972 the area was declared a national park and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. The early protection status of the area ensured that the flora and fauna in the Tai National Park could develop undisturbed to this day, which led to a rich biodiversity of the flora.
Experience the Ivory Coast from its most beautiful side
A visit to the Ivory Coast only becomes an incomparable experience when you visit the Tai National Park. The evergreen forest never ceases to amaze travelers. Countless plant species that only occur in the rainforest can be admired in the Ivory Coast National Park. This great and unique diversity naturally also benefits the fauna and so around 50 species of mammals can be admired in the area, including endangered species. But a good 230 species of birds can also be discovered on a tour through the Tai.
The Tai National Park is an extraordinary protected area and so it is worth exploring the national park with open eyes. More than 100 forest elephants, pygmy hippos and the rarest type of duiker, the Jentink duiker, still live in this unique piece of rainforest. In addition, twelve species of primate can be observed in the area, eight of which only occur in the Tai. It is also worth taking a second look at the plant species because of the approximately 1,200 species of Tai plants that have been discovered so far, more than half are unique. The walk through the unaffected, growing jungle fills the visitor with an almost awe-inspiring calm.