From the soaring grass-clad mountains of Mount Nimba in the north to the lagoons and roaring Atlantic waves of the south, the mist-topped rainforests where chimps live in the west to the sweeping plantations of cocoa and plantains in the east, the Ivory Coast represents one seriously huge slab of West Africa.
Yes, the nation’s certainly had its fair share of troubles, with coups and military juntas and Ebola to name just three, but travelers do still come.
The come to hike the empty paths of Taï and Comoe, to sample spicy cassava and cashew curries between the mud-caked streets of Korhogo, to witness curious primates swinging in the trees, and experience the energy of Abidjan – the country’s great metropolis of more than four million.
And then there are the beaches, fringed with age-stained French towns and colonial relics, sloping down to the sea in colours of yellow, white and, well, ivory!
Proudly touting its UNESCO World Heritage tag, Grand-Bassam bursts forth from the Ivorian coast with the medley of elegant Parisian mansions and crafted colonial municipal buildings that is the Ancien Bassam district.
Now crumbling and creaking with age, this area once reigned as the capital of French Ivory Coast.
Some of the buildings have been returned to their former glory, and visitors can still spy out the great Cathédrale Sacré Cœur and the enthralling Museum of Costume.
New Grand-Bassam is where most of the action takes place today, while the beaches to the west and east are where the resort hotels reside.