The CÃ´te d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast is located on the southern coast of the rounded northwestern area of Africa, with beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean. The Guinea Highlands to the east are the only actual geological rise, other than that, most of the Ivory Coast is a great plateau of land, that slightly dips down to the Atlantic Ocean. The three main regions of the Ivory Coast, are the savanna, the forest, and the coast. Climates in all three areas can differ either greatly or slightly, depending on the time of year. It’s always best to check with your travel agent on what the weather will be like where you plan to spend the duration of your visit. The coastal region does in fact get the most rain, but in the dry period, from December to April, the skies are clear, and further towards spring the climate is at a level of comfort most can enjoy without being too hot or cold.
Despite the popular opinion, Western Africa is not purely culture-oriented, while South Africa is of course, not purely wildlife-oriented either. The most popular attraction to the Ivory Coast, aside from her beautiful shoreline, terrain, and natural surroundings, is the wildlife preserve within, called the Tai National Park, which was originally criticised because it boasted a jungle atmosphere for wildlife, whereas most believe that real jungles can only be found in South America. The Tai area does contain jungle ecosystems, and actually covers almost half of the land in Western Africa. Going for a tour, or a taking a safari through the Tai National Park, is a jungle fantasy come true for many visitors.
The traditional and native tongue in the Ivory Coast region is French, so the cuisine in that area does have some French influence, but the flavours of course are mainly African. Grains and tube vegetables, –potatoes, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, etc., make up a large portion of the Ivorians’ diet. A popular dish served by street vendors and corner stores, is called “aloco” which is made from spiced banana, cooked with palm oil, with chili or served with fish. Other favourite dishes are chilled avocado soup, Sauce Claire and Fufu, Cucumber zucchini salad, halibut fresh from the Ivory Coast. The restaurants most commonly found on the Ivory Coast are called ‘maquis’ which are basically open air establishments, that combine indoor and outdoor for a pleasing dining experience.
As far as accommodations go in the Ivory Coast, the safest places to spend the duration of your stay is in hotels. Guest houses and other lodging is available, but more often than not are prone to crime, and theft. Getting around by car is the best possible way to travel throughout the Ivory Coast, and also the safest. It’s best to arrange a car rental before hand, rather than be in an urban area on foot. If necessary, be sure to get a cab to wherever you’re going, if in a heavily populated area. When traveling on highways, military checkpoints can slow things down quite a bit, however.