by: John Parks
Anyone looking for a unique vacation destination should definitely check out Western Africa. Abidjan is the largest city in Cote d’Ivorie or “Ivory Coast,” making up 45% of the countries population. It is no longer the official capitol, but it is still the business and travel hub of Western Africa. The West African American Embassy is located in Abidjan. The Airport is located inside the city. The city’s language is French. Travelers often refer to Abidjan as the “Paris of Africa,” and compare the overall atmosphere European.
There are ten different communes in Abidjan: Abobo, Port-Bouët, Adjamé, Attécoubé, Cocody, Biétry, Marcory, Koumassi, The Plateau, Treichville, Île Boulay, and Yopougon. So, be aware of where your hotel is located, compared to where your desired destinations are. I recommend Treichville for vacationers and The Plateau for business travelers. Some of these are upper echelon districts, while others are very poor neighborhoods.
The most common transportation is by cab. Just be sure to ask the driver what the rate or cost will be, as some will prey on foreigners . “Gbakas”(a tiny van) are also an option, but limited in number. Other forms of public transportation is available, but often limited to destination.
Things to do:
The city is to host many annual music, dance, pageant, cinema, and festival events: Concerto Festival, les Top d’or , Festival of Urban Dances , International Festival of Black Music, International Jazz Festival of Abidjan , Hip-hop is back festival, Faya Flow, Dj Mix Atalakou, Festival de Maracana d’Abidjan, International Festival of lingerie and beauty, FESNACI, Festival MASA, Le Tiercé Gagnant, Climbie beach Festival, RTI Music Awards, International Comics Festival, etc…
Monuments and museums include: National Library, National Museum, La Celebre Rue Princesse, Saint-Paul of Abidjan Cathedral, Village Kiyi – M’Bock, Chocolate City, Museum of Contemporary Art, American Cultural Center, Goethe Institute, Le Point d’Orgue, Municipal Museum, The Plateau Mosque, Place la Sorbone, French Cultural Centre, Ivory Coast Museum of Civilisations, Palais de la Culture, Palais des sports, Handicrafts Centre of the City of Abidjan, 1000 maquis.
Some popular events also include going to see sporting events, especially the ASEC Mimosas and Africa Sports National.
The Banco National Park is a 7, 500 acres tropical rain forest. This is a must see! There is also a public Zoo.
There is not any shortage of Abidjan hotels. The most popular being: Hotel Ivoire International, Ibis Abidjan Plateau, Hotel du Nord, Novotel Abidjan, Hotel Banfoura, Sofitel Abidjan, Hotel Tiama, African Queen Lodge, and Golf Hotel Inter-Continental Abidjan.
You may see a lot of negative data about the Hotel Ivorire. While the pool, skating rink, casino etc.. were often closed and in shambles, the hotel did an extensive 60 million dollar renovation in 1999. It truly is a sight to see.
There is a variety of food options. Native restaurants will serve dishes mostly of yams, breads, rice, fish, and cassava. European style cuisine is also a popular choice. Many of the food venders prepare the food on the streets. On Princess Road, venders sell spicy chicken sticks. But, western foods can be found, such as – “Big Burger.”
The civil unrest has dissipated. However, there is an occasional incident. Just be careful, as you would in any foreign city. Keep your passport with you at all times- it’s the law.
The city is quite a unique and culturally enriching experience.
Hopefully, this helps with general overview of the city. It has a beautiful Abidjan Ivory Coast, booming business, shopping districts, sports, festive activities, thriving ports, and much more.
About the Author: For more information about Abidjan, visit http://www. http://abidjanmicroblog.com