For years, Ivory Coast was an unsafe vacation spot. After the declaration of independence in 1960, the nation went by means of two civil wars. Issues remained unsettled till 2011, when the dropping president Ggagbo was arrested and extradited to the Worldwide Legal Courtroom in The Hague. Tourism is now slowly beginning to take off. Mid-November, I made a journey by means of this – to me nonetheless unknown – West African nation.
Abidjan & Grand-Bassam
After arriving on the airport of Abidjan, I instantly journey to Grand-Bassam, 45 minutes away, which was chosen because the capital through the colonization by the French. And identical to that you immediately end up consuming outdoors within the night on a terrace with the glowing Atlantic Ocean at your ft! What a transition from the grey and wet Netherlands and Belgium I left within the morning.
The colonial quarter in Grand-Bassam is now a Unesco World heritage web site: the grandeur of the colonial structure continues to be spectacular though many buildings are in want of restoration. The Museum of Nationwide Costume, which shows conventional clothes of the nation’s many ethnic teams, can also be very fascinating.
The following day, I head to Yamoussoukro, the birthplace of the primary president of the Ivory Coast, Félix Houphouët-Boigny. He made his birthplace the capital of the nation and had an enormous status venture constructed there: the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Paix, which equals the scale of the St. Peter in Rome. It’s a unusual notion, such an immense constructing in an empty panorama with out believers, fully soulless. You marvel what number of hospitals the president may have constructed as an alternative…
As I drive additional north, I enter extra conventional territory, the place animistic customs, conventional dances and crafts reign supreme. I usually see teams of weavers who make lovely cloths on their lengthy narrow-band looms; bead makers, who provide their loam, hand-painted beads on the market, and woodcarver’s workshops.
After being launched to the native notables, I expertise an interesting masks dance on the Baoulé, the place the dancers are simply as fiercely and enthusiastically inspired by the native individuals as by me! In Korhogo on the Senoufou inhabitants I see a ‘leopard dance’. The ‘leopards’, uplifted by hallucinatory music, display their acrobatics abilities.
Because the street will get worse I attain the western facet of the nation, which is extra mountainous and inhabited by the Malinké and Dan individuals. Right here too I’m handled to a spectacular dance efficiency with masked stilt dancers, through which many villagers take part enthusiastically.
Lastly I arrive in Man, an space surrounded by 18 mountains that’s supreme for lovely walks. I go to the waterfall and the sacred forest with Campbell monkeys.
The South Coast
Driving south from right here I head again to the coast the place I keep in an attractive and comfy resort. Because of the presence of a bay, it is usually attainable to swim safely within the Atlantic Ocean.
The south is dominated by endlessly stretching plantations of cocoa and palm oil forests. Two main rivers lower by means of Ivory Coast and circulate into the ocean at Sassandra and Grand Lahou. Boat journeys are the popular excursions to discover this panorama.
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Lastly, I return to Abidjan, a pulsating metropolis with a inhabitants of tens of millions. It’s a nice metropolis with elegant eating places and high-quality artwork galleries. An ideal place to finish a journey by means of this contrasting nation. The place the world can’t discover you…
Jozef Verbruggen is Director and Proprietor of Untamed Travelling. Untamed Travelling is a journey designer that focuses on high-end bespoke journey experiences across the globe.
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