Destination in brief
Ivory Coast in brief
Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. Neighbors: Liberia and Guinea (west), Mali and Burkina Faso (north), Ghana (east)
Ivory Coast was a French colony until 1960.
The name Ivory Coast goes back to pre-colonial times, when European traders gave names to coasts according to the dominant traded product (e.g. Gold Coast). Ivory Coast got its name from the big number of elephants and hence ivory. The French name is Côte d'Ivoire.
Size: 322,463 km² (124,504 mi²) - The country is dominated by flat to undulating plains, with mountains in the northwest.
Capital city: there are two – Yamoussoukro, an artificial city built in the 1970s, is the political capital and seat of the government and Abidjan is the commercial capital. – Yamoussoukro (pop. 200,000) is located deep inside the county and is surrounded by rainforest, while the far bigger Abidjan (pop. 3.6 million) lies on the southeastern coast of the country, on the Gulf of Guinea.
Population: 26.3 million (2020) - The country is ethnically very diverse, with more than 60 ethnic groups. The Akan group, which primarily lives in the eastern and central regions, makes up about 42% of the population.
Life expectancy in Ivory Coast is 57 years - lower than the African average (62).
Language: French is the official language - around 60 native languages are also spoken (but not written)
Religion: 44% Christian (mostly Catholic and Evangelical), 37.2% Muslim (mostly Sunni), 10.5% Animist (local traditional beliefs) – Many Christians and Muslims also practice some elements of indigenous religious beliefs in private. These religions all coexist rather peacefully.
Apropos, the people of Ivory Coast also worship an actual, living God: the international soccer star, Didier Drogba, born in Abidjan. Seeing beyond his responsibilities on the pitch, Drogba was an outspoken champion for peace in civil war-worn Ivory Coast around 2006.
Political system: republic – The political situation of the country is fragile. The arms trade and carrying of arms is totally uncontrolled.
Ivory Coast is the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans, supplying one-third of the world total.
Currency: CFA franc
Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 180 USD - but 52% of the population lives on less than 4 USD a day.
Most common surname: Kone
Safety: The security situation is not great, but not so bad either. The terror threat should be taken seriously, but the most common safety concern are: the pickpockets and the crooks specialized on cheating foreigners. Mugging on streets, roads is not rare. Ivory Coast is not recommended for solo female travellers.
Ivory Coast is a malaria risk area.
Optimal timing for a tourist visit? November-April
Top tourist attractions:
Ivory Coast is a good tourist destination for combining urban, cultural and nature experiences with some beach vacation.
Tai National Park, Comoé National Park, Grand-Bassam (a historic town), Notre-Dame de la Paix in Yamoussoukro, the vibrant Abidjan, La Cascade waterfall, the beaches around San Pedro
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro surpasses even St Peter’s Basilica in size. With an exterior area of 30,000 square meters, it is the largest church building in the word! Finished in 1990, its design was apparently copied from its Vatican City sibling, with a massive dose of Baroque and Renaissance style influences. It has a capacity of 18,000 worshipers, but is almost never full. Many people think that its very existence is a lofty nonsense.