Introducing Côte d'Ivoire
Blighted by recent conflict but bejewelled by beaches and rainforests, it would be a shame to sidestep Cote d'Ivoire because of its baggage.
Cote d'Ivoire is a stunner, shingled with starfish-studded sands, and forest roads so orange they resemble strips of bronzing powder.
In the south, the Parc National de Taï hides secrets, species and nut-cracking chimps under the boughs of its trees, while the peaks and valleys of Man offer a highland climate, fresh air and local art.
The beach resorts of low-key Assinie and arty Grand Bassam were made for weekend retreats from Abidjan, the capital in all but name, where lagoons wind their way between skyscrapers and cathedral spires pierce the blue heavens.