Cheap flights to Ivory Coast

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A sophisticated culture; an abundance of French cafés, skyscrapers and elegant buildings in the towns; and vast plains and plateaus in the countryside all characterise Cote d’Ivoire. Sadly, in recent years, the country has been characterised by civil unrest.

With a distinctive French atmosphere prevalent in the buildings, food and culture, Cote d’Ivoire, also known as the Ivory Coast, seems more “Western” than its neighbours. A view of Abidjan from the plane window on a flight to Cote d’Ivoire may be surprising: a mass of skyscrapers point upwards, and dark, well-made roads wind off across the country. Compared with much of West Africa, Cote d’Ivoire is well-advanced technologically. Venture outside the towns and the countryside is equally striking. The coast has beautiful fishing villages, the interior has numerous national parks and some stunning forested mountains, dotted with waterfalls. Beachcombing, hiking or spotting game are all possible for an intrepid traveller.

Bear in mind, however, that in current circumstances the UK government advises against all travel to the country. Until the situation improves, it may be wise to hold off booking a flight to Cote d’Ivoire and indulge in some armchair travel instead…

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Ivory Coast climate

The coastal region averages temperatures between 23 and 27 degrees. Rainfall varies greatly in the country, varying with the seasons and geographic locations. The rainforests are wet and humid, reaching temperatures as high as 32 degrees. The desert is the hottest and driest part of the country.

When is the best time to fly to Ivory Coast?

Peak Season:

Because of the cooler temperatures, November to March is the best time to visit. Two popular festivals take place during this period – the Fetes des Masques near Man and the Fete du Dipri in Gomon.

Off Season:

The least popular time to visit is the wet season, between May and November. Temperatures still remain extremely hot.

Getting around Ivory Coast

There is only one internal Cote d’Ivoire flight available in the country – from Abidjan to San Pedro.

Taxis are available from the airport at Abidjan to the city centre and are much safer than the buses. Travel on the public buses or shared taxis is not advised for tourists.

Trains run daily on the line to Ougadougou in Burkina Faso from various points. Service is often slow or disrupted, though it is among the best available in West Africa. Most travel outside Abidjan is considered unsafe in the current climate, and if needed should be carried out in convoy. There are many roadblocks, especially in the north of the country.

What is good to know if travelling to Ivory Coast?

  • Visiting Cote d’Ivoire after spending any time in the surrounding West African countries can be something of a shock. Compared to Ghana or Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast seems far more built-up and technologically advanced – even the construction of the roads seems better here. The apparent sophistication of the country can be something of an illusion though, as the violent riots of recent years showed. Travellers should take extreme caution when visiting the country and be sure to check advice from relevant foreign offices before their trip.
  • Abidjan is the country’s main city and administrative centre, though not its official capital. Far more developed than the cities of surrounding countries, its resemblance was closer to a French town, with cafés and boulevards, before the unrest and riots of the late 1990s struck.
  • Grand Bassam is a small city on the coast to the east of Abidjan, with a tropical and lush feel. Old and often crumbling colonial buildings and jungle vegetation are housed in the middle of a stunning lagoon. Finding a café – often on stilts in the water – and sitting back to watch the sun go down will offer one of the most peaceful and stunning views you’re likely to find in the entire country.
  • Yamoussoukro is the country’s capital and a lively city worth visiting (safety allowing). The city contains a giant Catholic basilica (consecrated by the Pope as a “minor basilica” though it is actually taller than St Peter’s in Rome) surrounded by lush jungle, which V. S. Naipaul described as one of the “wonders of Black Africa”.

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