Ivory Coast might not be the first place that pops into your head when you think of Africa, but trust me, Abidjan, its bustling capital, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered! Pack your bags, grab your shoes, and let's dive into 10 must-do things in Abidjan that'll have you saying "Yeh Africa hai boss!"
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Grand Bassam, Africa Img: UNESCO
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a charming seaside town with a fascinating colonial past. Stroll down the palm-lined streets, admire the French-style architecture, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere. Don't miss the Musée Costumes et Traditions, a treasure trove of Ivorian culture!
Escape the city and embrace nature's embrace at this urban oasis. Hike through lush rainforests, spot monkeys swinging through the trees, and even go for a refreshing dip in the waterfalls. Keep an eye out for exotic birds and butterflies – you might even catch a glimpse of a pygmy hippo!
Img: Fondation Donwahi, Ivory Coast
Abidjan is a haven for contemporary African art. Check out the Fondation Donwahi, housed in a stunning colonial mansion, or browse the galleries in Cocody for unique souvenirs. If you're here during March, don't miss the AKAA, Africa's biggest contemporary art fair!
img: world atlas
Embark on a serene kayaking adventure through the lush mangroves of Abidjan's lagoon. Spot playful birds, witness the intricate ecosystem up close, and soak in the tranquility of nature. It's the perfect way to reconnect with yourself and escape the city's chaos.
Abidjan's culinary scene is a delicious blend of Ivorian, French, and West African influences. Dig into hearty stews like attiéké with poisson fumé (smoked fish), savor fresh seafood at a beachfront restaurant, or grab some street food like alloco (fried plantain) for a quick bite. Don't forget to wash it all down with a refreshing bissap juice!
Img: DeDe Smoot Maddox
Unleash your inner bargain hunter at the bustling Marcory Market. From vibrant fabrics and handcrafted souvenirs to fresh tropical fruits and local spices, this market has everything your heart (and suitcase) desires. Just remember to brush up on your haggling skills – those aunties are tough negotiators!
Île Boulay Ivory coast Img: Roger Marc
Abidjan is blessed with stunning lagoons, perfect for a day of sunbathing and swimming. Head to Île Boulay for a picnic under the palm trees, or rent a kayak and explore the mangroves. If you're feeling adventurous, try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or jet skiing.
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This beach town is a popular weekend getaway for Abidjanais, and for good reason. Watch the sun dip below the horizon, painting the sky in fiery hues, and enjoy the cool ocean breeze. If you're feeling peckish, grab some fresh seafood at one of the beachfront restaurants.
Img: Stefan Meisel
Get creative at Vridi, a seaside village known for its vibrant art scene. Browse through colorful murals painted on houses, pick up unique souvenirs from local artisans, or even try your hand at a drumming workshop. Remember, in Abidjan, art is everywhere!
Learn about Ivory Coast's fascinating history at the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix, a stunning basilica dedicated to the country's first president. The intricate mosaics and stained-glass windows are a sight to behold, and the views from the top are simply breathtaking.
Bonus tip: If you're planning your trip during the dry season (November to April), you might be lucky enough to catch one of Abidjan's many festivals. From the Carnival of Mimosas to the Marché des Arts du Feu, do not miss them!
And there you have it, dost! Just a taste of the many things that make Abidjan a truly special place. So, ditch the guidebooks, embrace the unexpected, and get ready to fall in love with the vibrant soul of Ivory Coast.
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