Ivory Coast Overview
Once considered to be the most stable economy in Africa with a French-and-German-backed infrastructure going back to the colonial days, Cote d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, has been in political chaos since 2002, when a series of coups and uprisings led to most of the French expat communities leaving. Still, despite the political unrest, the country boasts some of the most amazing cities in Africa, as well as plenty of beaches, parks, and otherwise. It is a country of great natural beauty, and a testament to days when things were more stable.
The Ivory Coast can definitely be worth traveling to, despite the security risks, although some caution should be taken. Always travel in groups, and for the most part the northern sections of the country should be avoided. If in doubt, simply check with your local embassy regarding the current level of security risk. Visas must be obtained in advance.
The Ivory Coast boasts three distinct UNESCO World Heritage parks: the Tai National Park, the Comoe National Park, and the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve. Between the three of these national parks, there is some of the most majestic beauty to be found within Africa, but it is difficult to access. Visitors can also experience ancient French colonial relics such as the basilica at Yamoussoukro, which is nearly an exact replica of St. Peter’s in Rome. And contrary to the rest of Africa, Cote d’Ivoire boasts some of the most modern cities on the continent, due to its long ties with France and Germany and the previously strong economy.
Vast stretches of rainforest, plenty of beaches and national parks, modern cities that are struggling to deal with an instable economy and government, and a wide variety of different African tribes and cultures, the Ivory Coast is one of those places that has to be seen to be experienced.