Abidjan guide

Trip Start Apr 15, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Nearly 10 months overdue, i'm starting my travel blog. It includes info on Cote d'Ivoire and other countries in Africa that I was and hopefully will be lucky enough to visit while i'm here.
Cote d'Ivoire is particularly interesting as it is chronically overlooked as a tourist destination by non-francophones. 

Despite housing a peacekeeping mission, Cote is bouncing back from the crisis that englufed the country in 2002. It also has fantastic beaches, has great roads and is remarkably inexpensive place to visit- as long as you remember to bargain at every turn-.

If you do make it to Abidjan (Direct flights from Paris and Brussels, non-direct and cheaper through Casablanca), you can easily pay no more than 30$ a night for a room in a residence. Some of the best known (particularly by UN staff) are Residence Mansan (15,000 CFA p/a) and Residence Francois (12,500 CFA p/a). Both are in an area called Zone 4. For more upscale you can stay at Wafou, also in Z4 and a cute West African inspired getaway with spotless rooms, a lovely pool overlooking the lagoon and a nice restaurant/bar fitted with WiFi. Rooms start from 45,000 CFA p/a.

Z4 also houses a number of clubs like Lebanese hangout Privee, restaurants, bars even a jazz and regaee bar (Parkers Place). In terms of restaurants and bars there are a lot of ex-pat places such as Che Cafe and Havana bar, with an ex-pat price to match. If you fancy something a bit more authentic and cheaper take yourself to a nice maquis (typical open air restaurant) or a lebanese restaurant like Bakawat, or Automatique (with views over the lagoon). There are a couple of nice ethnic restaurants also worth checking out- Little Buddah for Thai food, La Salsa for Mexican, or Colleseum for Italian, although expect to pay about 30$ for a good meal. A maquis or Lebanese dinner should set you back no more than 10$.

Last tip, taxis. A taxi ride should cost you no more than 3000 CFA to go across the entire city, at a maximum. If you plan on doing a long journey try and make a price in advance. Abidjan's legendarytraffic could have you sitting in a traffic jam watching the counter skip up. From and to the airport to Z4 you should also pay no more than 3000CFA. Thats a good price and taxi drivers know it. FOr other parts of Abidjan you are a bit more at their mercy, but haggle for 5000.

Be aware the price doubles between midnight and 6am. This is when staying at one of the pricier hotels such as Sofitel or Novotel can work out well- they have shuttles to and from the airport, although it is best to steer clear of any name brand hotels in Z4. Only the ones in Plateau, the business district are worth spending the money on. And if you really want to go local you can check into the rewly refurbished Hotel Ivoire, which is a sight to see in itself with its ice cream parlour, cinema and bowling alley. Sadly the ice rink, the first to be built in Sub-saharan africa, has long since closed...shame
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