Ivory Coast, one of the jewels of Africa…
One gem of the jewel which is Cote d’Ivoire is one of the last remaining virgin rainforests in West Africa at the Tai National Park, an unspoilt wonderland of huge trees, gurgling streams and abundant wildlife. Then there is the impressive Cascade waterfall in a bamboo forest, in the lush region around the town of Man, which hosts the intriguing annual Festival of Masks with performing stilt dancers.
The cities, too, are worthy experiences, particularly the capital, Yamoussoukro, unique in Africa and boasting a full sized replica of St Peter's in Rome, containing more stained glass than you will find in the whole of France. The stunning cathedral, and other lavish edifices in this surprising city (including an internationally-rated golf course and multi-lane highways that disappear into the jungle), was built courtesy of long-term president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who bestowed all these gifts on his hometown.
The largest city, Abidjan, has a cosmopolitan flavour lent to it by its large French and Lebanese communities. Abidjan presents an attractive aspect, set on a lagoon and boasting high-rise buildings like the spectacular Hotel Ivoire. Abidjan has its landmark cathedral too: St Paul's was built in 1985 and consecrated by the Pope. The city has a vibrant nightlife and bustling atmosphere, offering a few good museums for sightseeing and a rainforest reserve called Parc du Banco for shady relaxation.
Back packing Guide’s Cote d’Ivoire page