Health & safety
Côte d’Ivoire can be visited safely, but overall it’s still not a safe country. Violence is only sporadic, but the situation remains volatile and the possibility of further unrest can’t be discounted. Generally, however, the biggest concern is crime. Poverty and unemployment are rampant, and there is no shortage of guns.
Security checkpoints are frequent in the north and south, particularly near the Zone of Confidence, the ceasefire line between the north and the south, and on the outskirts of cities. Soldiers inspect documents and frequently demand money or cigarettes. These encounters can be friendly or tense. Either way, just remain calm, talk with them, and hand over what they ask for – usually CFA500.
Travelling to the north without proper paperwork from rebel leaders (the Abidjan rebel headquarters is at the Hôtel du Golf) is foolish. Even when documents are in order, Westerners are greeted with suspicion, especially in Bouaké.
Finally, take care at the beach. The Atlantic has fierce currents and a ripping undertow, and people drown every year; often strong, overly confident swimmers. Heed local advice.
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