Abidjan, the most populous city in French-speaking West Africa, is the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, and Yamoussoukro is the administrative and political capital. According to the country’s authorities, Abidjan had a population of 4,707,000 inhabitants in 2014, representing 20% of the total population of the country. Only Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, has a higher population in the region. Regarded as the West African cultural hub, Abidjan is constantly growing and is characterized by high industrialization and urbanization. The city is divided into two parts, which are further subdivided into municipalities, each with its own characteristics: the modern districts, which are more of the European type, are Plateau and Cocody, with posh villas and large gardens, while others like Marcory and Treichville, tend to reproduce the African-village settings. Around Ebrié lagoon, one can also find houses on stilts.
Abidjan also has the largest port in West Africa.
For the traveler, Abidjan offers many amenities: hotels, sports complexes, nightlife, beaches, etc.
One can also visit the Banco Park at the entrance to the city, which is a remnant of the forest that once surrounded the lagoon, with its central lake, coffee and cocoa plantations, and the small river that is used for washing clothes. There are also a few notable landmarks: the mosques of Cocody and Treichville, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the City Museum, the Ki Yi M’Bock Village, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum, and the Abidjan centre for handicrafts, or Centre artisanal de la ville d’Abidjan (CAVA), located in the Treichville municipality. Many music festivals are also organized regularly in the city.
Tourist Sites and Historical Monuments
Côte d'Ivoire has 520 km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean: fine sandy beaches, coconut trees, creeks, cliffs, lagoons for swimming, surfing, angling, water sports, and sailing. Grand-Bassam, Assinie and Sassandra are the main seaside tourist destinations. In addition, there are cities such as San Pedro, which boasts the sumptuous Monogaga Beach, and Grand Béréby, which owes its popularity to its gorgeous Baie des sirènes (Mermaid Bay) beach.
The country has many national parks and nearly 300 nature reserves that offer a wide variety of wildlife and landscapes from the North to the South. Since 1996, the Ivorian Government has been supervising a project to protect wildlife areas in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition to these, Ivorian villages also offer beautiful sites and attractions. However, their sacred nature makes their development and access to the general public very delicate.
Traditional and Religious Tourism
Traditional tourism that can easily be supplemented with cultural tourism: The Ivorian population is a mosaic of over sixty ethnic groups representing as many beliefs, languages, traditions and crafts. In Yamoussoukro, there is the Our Lady of Peace Basilica, whose dome is larger than that of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The north of the country, with a Muslim majority, also has many ancient mosques.
Weather Conditions during the Annual Meetings (May 2015)
In May, the average temperature is generally 25°C minimum and 32°C maximum, with six (6) hours of sunlight per day. Approximately 16 days of rainfall are expected during the month.