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Cote D’Ivoire

Introduction

The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire lies on the western coast of Africa, covering an area of 322 462 km2 or about 1% of the continent. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Ghana to the East, Burkina Faso and Mali to the North and Liberia and Guinea to the West. The country is home to over sixty ethnic groups classified into four subdivisions: The Gur, Mandé, Gwa (Akans) and Krou.

The climate of Cote d’Ivoire is generally hot and humid, a combination of tropical and equatorial climate. The country boasts of a rich and diverse social and cultural landscape with varied customs, culinary and vestimentary traditions.

The Ivorian river system includes four major rivers (the Komoé, Bandama, Sassandra and Cavally), ten smaller coastal watersheds (Tano, Bia, Mé, Boubo, Agnéby, Niouniourou, San Pedro, Néro, Mémé, Tabou) and sub-watersheds of the Niger river (the Bagoé and Baoulé).

  • Official Language : French
  • Currency: West African CFA Francs (XOF)
  • Administrative Capital: Yamoussoukro
  • Economic Capital: Abidjan
  • Time Zone: GMT (GMT +0)

Tourism

Cote d’Ivoire has enormous tourism potential. The country’s natural and cultural riches make it more than able to satisfy the needs of savvy travelers in search of exciting pastures to explore.

The tourist package revolves around a varied wide-range of tourist attractions including:

  • Seaside tourism: Cote D’Ivoire’s coastline is over 500 km long. Some areas (notably Assinie and San Pedro) are already equipped with tourist-ready luxury resorts and hotels.
  • Religious tourism: the main attractions include The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, the secular mosques of the North and the Toukouzou Hosalem Sanctuary.
  • Cultural tourism: Côte d’Ivoire’s ethnic diversity constitutes a rich cultural heritage. It is sustained by the existence of cultural infrastructure facilities (museums, dance schools or arts and cultural centres) cultural events and cultural tourist circuits
  • Business and Conference tourism: this is sustained by the existence of conference and meeting facilities as well as business opportunities.
  • Leisure and entertainment tourism: there are many entertainment hotspots in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly in Abidjan, Bouake, Daloa and Yamoussoukro.
  • Sports tourism: golf has long been popular sports attraction and fishing competitions are held along the country’s coast, mainly in the Southwest.
  • Culinary Tourism: local restaurants commonly known as “Maquis” are popular destinations for sampling local cuisine and are available all over the Ivorian territory.

Cultural Resources

Cote d’ivoire’s cultural resources mainly consist of sites and monuments of cultural significance as well as traditional rites and customs. The tangible cultural heritage represents a touristic gold mine. This includes:

Traditional Homes: these abodes can be found across the country and the construction styles reflect the cultural moors of the geographical regions they are located in. In the North East you’ll find Lobi Soukalas. The Indénié royal palaces, situated in the East, are examples of an eons-old architectural style with statues and symbols. To the West, round huts with decorated walls populate the landscape. You’ll also find round huts in the North as well as Sudano–Sahelian style mosques; the Grand Kong Mosque is most representative of this style. The Bouna, Sorobango, Kouto, Tengrela, M’Bengué, Nambira, Tienangboué, Katogola and Kong mosques are relics of a fading architectural tradition.

Archaeological sites: Many of these sites have undergone restorations. These include prehistoric sites located in Anyama, the megaliths of Gohitafla, the Ahouakro Neolithic site of Tiassalé and the Bété and Ehotilés islands’ sites.

Art monuments: These include contemporary art monuments, large scale effigies of influential figures adorning intersections as well as paintings depicting the realities of everyday ivorians.

Major cultural events are also compelling touristic attractions. These include MASA, the Bonoua Popo carnival, the Bouaké Carnival, the Grand–Bassam Abissa, the Ferkessédougou Tchologo Festival, the Korhogo Katana Festival, the FestiWêh, the Man Guéhéva Festival, the Gomon Dipri, the Sinfra Litêtêfê, Yam Festivals, Generational Festivals, etc.

Diverse complimentary arts and culture circuits

Tourist industry professionals mostly offer assorted and interdependent tours, which include:

Traditional Dances Circuit: Gagnoa, Daloa, Bouaflé, Dida and Bété dances and Sabré in Issia.

The Poro Circuit: Korhogo, Boundiali, Ferké, Kong, Katiola.

Traditional Mask Circuit: Daloa, Man, Odienné, Boundiali, Korhogo, Bouaké, the Guiglo masks festival, Dandané, the old Biankouma and Gouessesso villages, not forgetting the Zaouli masks appearances in Bouaflé.

The Baoulé Region: The shafts from which was extracted the gold that became the source of the Baoulé people’s prosperity can still be found at the base of Mount Rombo-Boka. This prosperity was accompanied by refined artistic sensibilities which lead to the production of batik textiles, Akan weights, fertility statuettes, wooden masks, and gold earrings.

Yamoussoukro, native village of President Houphouet Boigny, boasts avant-guard architecture: the pink marble Hotel President overlooking one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, massive schools with futuristic lines. Our Lady of Peace Basilica, an architectural wonder, constitutes a first in the region in terms of the construction techniques used and its ornate stained glass windows. Our Ladies of Peace Basilica is a holy sanctuary of faith and tourism in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Sénoufo Region: Also called the region of harmony, this region is administered by the Poro. Outside the vicinity of the sacred forest, one can witness the appearance of extraordinary masks followed by melodious balafons. World renowned, Sénoufo craftwork includes Korhogo cloth paintings, polychrome masks and pottery.

Yacouba Region: the Yakouba or Dan land lies west of the country in a mountainous region. Man, the city of 18 hills is nestled in vegetation and waterfalls. The providence of its      fabulous liana bridges has yet to be explained. Among its peculiarities is the Gor cult whose initiated priests have the power to become invisible, transform into leopards, and masked men balancing gracefully on very long stilts. Well-informed collectors cite woven cloths and baskets, woodcarvings and Dan masks as the main handicraft products from the Yacouba

The Agni Kingdom: Agni craftsmen make stylish tapestry (Abengourou), statuettes, and rich woven cloths. Zaranou was the first capital city of the Agni kingdom, and Tanguelan is home to the most renowned school of fetish-priests in the Agni Kingdom.

Parks and Nature Reserves

Cote d’Ivoire’s abundant natural beauty is ideal for touristic endeavors. Its many waterfalls alone are a testament to this. Its wildlife is among the most diverse and impressive in West Africa. There are eight national parks and about three hundred varied natural reserves, fifteen of which are botanical reserves. Six are protected areas are registered under the RAMSAR Convention, three have UNESCO World Heritage status, and two are biosphere  reserves.

The nature reserves include:

Comoé national park established in 1968, covers1 149 450 ha. It is located in the Zanzan and Savanes Districts.

Taï national park established in 1972, it covers 350 000 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located in the Soubré–Taï evergreen forest and is extended by the N’zo wildlife serve (70 000 ha) to the North. This park is primarily a primary forest (virgin forest) preservation effort.

Marahoué national park established in 1968, covers 101 000 ha in the forest–savannah transition zone in Bouaflé.

Mount Péko national park established in 1968, covers 34 000 ha and is particularly known for its mountainous flora and the Biankouma primary forest.

Azagny national park established in 1981, covers 19 400 ha. It is located on the ocean side by the Bandama estuary, not far from Grand–Lahou.

Mount Sangbé national park established in 1976, covers 95 000 ha. It is located within the Monts du Toura, a mountain range West of the Sassandra. It boasts a lot of game and peculiar vegetation.

Banco national park established in 1953, covers 3 200 ha. It is located by Abidjan’s doorstep and is an example of a primary forest containing endangered tree species such as Mahogany, Framire, African Satinwoody and Niangon;

Ehotilé Island national park is a marine park established in 1974 located on the Aby lagoon in the east of Abidjan. It covers an estimated 550 ha and is of particular interest to historical and archaeological researchers.

Abokouamékro wildlife natural reserve established in 1993, covers 20 430 ha and is located in the dry forest in the Yamoussoukro region.

Dalhia Fleurs reserve established in 2007, covers 176 ha and is located in the woodlands in the Abidjan region.

Upper Bandama wildlife reserve established in 1973, covers 123 000 ha and is located in the Guinean savannah in Katiola.

Lamto Scientific Reserve established in 1968, covers 2 585 ha and is located in the forest–savannah transition zone in Toumodi.

Mount Nimba Natural Reserve established in 1944, covers 5 000 ha and is located in the Dandané mountain forest.

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