Must see attractions in Côte d'Ivoire

  • Sights in Abidjan

    Hôtel Ivoire

    Every middle-class Abidjani holds a dear memory of Hôtel Ivoire. Built in 1963 by Israeli architect Moshe Mayer, it was the place in town to go ice skating and see a movie (the cinema still stands, though the ice rink, unfortunately, does not). Even if you don't stay here, it's worth visiting this hotel for its unique retro African decor.

  • Sights in Côte d'Ivoire

    Parc National de Taï

    Parc National de Taï, a primary rainforest and a Unesco World Heritage site since 1982, is one of West Africa's largest reserves for wildlife. Visitors can enjoy hiking treks through the rainforest and witness the massive biodiversity that the park has to offer, including its nut-cracking chimpanzees, who are known for their use of primitive tools.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Abidjan

    Galerie Cécile Fakhoury

    An absolute trove of African contemporary art, this cubical, 600-sq-metre gallery features the best of the continent's artists, from sculpture and painting to photography. Check the website for individual exhibitions or just explore what's on at the time. A real gem of a place.

  • Sights in Abidjan

    La Pyramide

    Some of the buildings of Le Plateau are as breathtaking up close as from a distance. La Pyramide, designed by the Italian architect Rinaldo Olivieri and built between 1970 and 1973, was the first daring structure and is considered a highlight of African modernism in architecture. A concrete pyramid striped horizontally with balconies, it rests upon a gigantic cubic pillar, lifting itself over the city's skyline.

  • Sights in Yamoussoukro

    Basilica

    Yamoussoukro's spectacular basilica will leave you wide-eyed. Based on the Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican and designed by Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury, it was constructed between 1985 and 1989, with Italian marble and 7000 sq metres of French stained glass specially imported to build it. The nave is a luminous harmony of columns, with a flamboyant altar taking centre stage. There are well-informed English-speaking guides on duty who will take you around the dome and the grounds.

  • Sights in Yamoussoukro

    Presidential Palace

    The presidential palace, where Houphouët-Boigny is now buried, can only be seen from afar, but visitors come to see the sacred crocodiles that live in the lake on its southern side. The keeper tosses them some meat around 5pm, touching off an impressive feeding frenzy. Otherwise, the dozens of sleepy reptiles laze away while curious onlookers take photos. But keep your distance: in 2012, a veteran keeper was killed by one of the creatures.

  • Sights in Abidjan

    Parc du Banco

    On the northwest edge of town is the cool and shaded Parc du Banco rainforest reserve. It has pleasant walking trails, majestic trees and a lake, but you'll be lucky to see any wildlife. Rangers are also on hand to give you a guided tour (CFA3000).

  • Sights in Man

    Silacoro

    This celebrated village is famous for its stilt dancing. It's found 110km north of Man.

  • Sights in Abidjan

    Cathedrale St Paul

    Designed by Italian architect Aldo Spiritom, the Cathedrale St Paul is a bold and innovative modern cathedral. The stained glass is as warm and rich as that inside the Yamoussoukro basilica.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Monument aux Morts

    Erected in 1914 by the French, commemorating the victims of yellow fever. It is the work of Alfred Lenoir, a sculptor who dedicated much of his oeuvre to France's war memorials. In this, the poised figure of a woman carries an armful of flowers and is ready to throw a fragile single flower onto the dead body stretched on the ground before her feet.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Palais de Justice

    The Palais de Justice should be your first stop on a walk through town. Built in 1910, it was in this building that members of Côte d'Ivoire's PDCI-RDA political group – that of the country's first president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny – were arrested by the French authorities in 1949, in the struggle that preceded the country's independence.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Musée National du Costume

    This museum, located in the former governor's palace, has a nice little exhibit showing the clothing styles of various ethnic groups and a photographic account of the city's (and the country's) time under colonial France. The knowledgeable local guides make the exhibit come alive.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Nick Amon's Art Gallery

    One of Côte d'Ivoire's most respected contemporary artists, Amon will greet you with paint-splattered clothing and a warm smile. His canvases start at around CFA50,000; profits go to an organisation that offers art classes to street kids.

  • Sights in Abidjan

    Marché de Cocody

    The super lively Marché de Cocody is a labyrinth of stalls that offer every type of souvenir you can possibly imagine, including wooden sculptures and dishes, antiques, jewellery and traditional decorations. Bargain hard.

  • Sights in Man

    La Cascade

    The area around Man is known for La Cascade, a crashing waterfall 5km from town that hydrates a bamboo forest. You walk a pretty paved path to reach it. Locals come here to swim and visitors are welcome to join in.

  • Sights in Abidjan

    Musée National

    The national museum houses a dusty but interesting collection of traditional art and craftwork, including wooden statues and masks, pottery, ivory and bronze.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Market

    The town market has food and souvenirs to pick from. You can find fruit and vegetables, meat, smoked fish, nuts and tons of clothing, fabrics and jewellery.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Cathédrale du Sacré Coeur

    Built in 1982, this cathedral boasts no special features but is useful as a landmark when finding your way around town.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Mairie

    Grand Bassam's Town Hall is a useful landmark when finding your way around.

  • Sights in Grand Bassam

    Pont de la Victoire

    Crosses the Ébrie Lagoon, connecting the beach area with the mainland.