Côte d’Ivoire

We entered Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)  from Liberia and immediately made our way to the western city of Man. Known as the “City of 18 Mountains”, Man is famous for its waterfalls hidden in a mountainous setting. Our full-day exploration of Man included visits to two waterfalls, Les Cascades de Man (Man’s Waterfalls) and Cascades Naturelles de Glongouin (Glongouin Waterfall), as well as some playtime with several Campbell’s Mona monkeys. From Man, we made our way to Yamoussoukro, the capital of Ivory Coast. The highlight here was the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro. This architectural marvel was designed after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, complete with massive stained glass windows and constructed with over 7 acres of Italian marble. It is the largest Christian church in the world capable of accommodating 18,000 visitors and definitely one of Cote d’Ivoire‘s must-sees. In addition to the basilica, we enjoyed wandering around the main market of Yamoussoukro and checking out the massive crocodiles in the Presidential Palace’s artificial lake. After leaving Yamoussoukro, we drove towards Abidjan and Grand-Bassam, stopping midway between the two cities. One full day was devoted to Abidjan and we were impressed with the big city vibe, friendly locals, St. Paul’s Cathedral (don’t miss the African themed stained glass windows), Cocody Market (great for cheap souvenirs), and Hôtel Ivoire (fantastic 5 star hotel with unique retro African decor). Our second full day was spent in UNESCO world heritage Grand-Bassam where we wandered around this old French colonial town with crumbling buildings, cool street art, and a couple of interesting museums. Our week in Cote d’Ivoire flew by and it was too bad we missed the African Cup of Nations tournament by a week. Regardless, we really enjoyed our time exploring the crossroads of West Africa and wouldn’t hesitate for a return trip.

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