Beaches, Basilica, Botanics, Oh My! Le Beau Pays de la Côte d’Ivoire.

Bonjour a tous! Greetings from Côte d’Ivoire. I am still falling behind on the blogging due to this thing called life but I have been on a relaxing staycation and I feel inspired to share what I and my family have been up to and why I am falling more and more in love with West Africa. In my last blog, I wrote about my visit to Northern Ghana which exceeded my expectations with regards to the serenity of the environment and the beguiling nature. In this blog, I want to boast about the beauty of Côte d’Ivoire, my adopted country. I relocated to Côte d’Ivoire in August 2018. Adjusting to the new life had its normal initial stresses e.g. finding a place to live, a car, a school for my kid, and generally navigating life with inadequate French language skills. Then of course COVID-19 came along and I opted to spend my lockdown in Aburi, Ghana, which was also a life-changing 10-month experience. I will write about it in my next blog. I returned to Abidjan with fresh eyes and a deeper love for this vibrant city. 

On my return, Abidjan seemed “different” to me. But actually, it hadn’t changed. I had changed. The pandemic had changed me and I had a new perspective and love for everything especially the little things. The baguettes tasted better, the weather was more pleasant, as for the local food, forget about it! It was sooo good. I decided to take some time off this month and really enjoy the city. Honestly, there is a lot to see and do in and around Abidjan BUT… sometimes you really have to look for it. In the expat social media platforms for Abidjan residents, I crack up every time someone posts “Hey, I am new in Abidjan. What is there do here besides going out to eat?”. I can relate to that. Unlike other cities where you are spoiled for choice on things to do, in Abidjan (in my humble view) you have to make a bit of an effort. But, once you do, you fall in love with the city and country. I want to highlight three big experiences in and around Abidjan that will give you a special Ivorian experience – the beaches in Bassam and Assinie, a tour of the majestic Basilica in Yamoussoukro (the official capital) and a leisure walk in the Botanical gardens in Bingerville, Abidjan. 

Côte d’Ivoire is blessed with nice beaches such as the one I found at “La Maison d’Akoula”. There, you do not only get a fantastic beach, but you get a DJ and all you can eat gourmet buffet from 11am to 4pm. It was an unforgettable experience though quite pricey. If you love architecture, be prepared to be wowed by the magnificent and dare I say, controversial, Basilica. On one hand, it’s a life-changing experience seeing such a majestic architectural feat modelled after the Vatican’s St Peter’s Cathedral. On the other hand, the opulence of the building situated in a remote town, with all its marbles and glass imported from Italy, France and Portugal, gives a slight discomfort. But, all of this adds to the intrigue of the Basilica. A nice forest-walk in the botanical gardens right in the city, with acres of bamboo and palm trees is an additional treat. It was particularly nice to see how clean it is, to see joggers using the space as well as several picnic groups enjoying the natural resource. Just do not forget your insect repellent. 

I hope you enjoy the photos of our family visit and are impressed by the beauty of La Côte d’Ivoire. If you have visited or live in Abidjan, please do share your favourite places to visit or what you love about the city. 

Peace and Love.

Photo credits: all photos are my own.