Author(s): Tom Sykes
This is the only English-language guidebook to focus solely on Ivory Coast, a country of crimson savannahs, sublime mountains and cream-hued beaches that is becoming popular for ecotourism and wildlife, surfing and off-the-beaten track travel. Having only recently re-opened for tourism, Ivory Coast is West Africa's hidden treasure. In-depth and comprehensive coverage of everything from chimp-watching and hiking to food and the Ivorian music and dance scene is featured (including how Twerking originated from the Ivorian mapouka, which was deemed so raunchy in the 1970s that the government temporarily banned it from television.) Packed with vivid descriptions, detailed maps and essential practical advice, this book is invaluable to any visitor, whatever your purpose. The guide organises the country into ten regions and includes western Dix-Huit Montagnes and northern Savanes and Deguel, previously omitted from other, wider-ranging guides. It also includes meticulous maps and suggested itineraries for different timescales. Wide-ranging information on food and accommodation is given for each region. Ivory Coast's nature is as alluring as its culture, whether you want to surf off beaches of Assinie, trek through the savannahs of the north or scale Mount Tonkoui for panoramic views of Liberia and Guinea. In the Comoe, Tai and Marahoue national parks, it's possible to glimpse leopards, lions, chimpanzees, aardvarks, antelopes and 500 bird species. The guide includes sections offering advice on hiking and trekking the northern alpine regions and on birdwatching and wildlife-spotting in the various national parks. There is a section devoted to Ivory Coast's artistic and cultural assets which includes accurate prices for tribal arts and crafts. Distributed throughout the book are fact boxes containing anecdotes about notable Ivorians (such as the dramatic rags-to-riches-back-to-rags story of the singer Francois Lougah) as well as vox pops of average citizens (taxi drivers, shopkeepers, bar staff) expressing their thoughts about Ivorian life, society and culture.
Tom Sykes has been a travel writer and editor since the 2005 publication of No Such Th ing As A Free Ride?, an anthology of hitchhiking tales that he co-compiled for Cassell llustrated. Since his first visit to Ivory Coast in 2013, he has published articles on everything from the persecution of Ivorian Rastafarians to the 2015 presidential election for The Scotsman, The London Magazine, African Courier, British Guild of Travel Writers website, New Statesman, New Internationalist and New African (it seems that magazines with the word 'new' in their titles like his stuff ). Now Lecturer in Creative and Media Writing at the University of Portsmouth, UK, these days Tom has to do most of his travelling during the summer holidays. He is currently a coeditor of the Nesta-funded hyperlocal news project www.starandcrescent.org.uk and is working on a novel about memory, writing, relationships, living as an expat in Manila, and Western perceptions of the Philippines (and vice versa). My interest in Ivory Coast began by accident. Knowing nothing about the country, I was invited to teach at a university there, arrived to discover that I didn't have a lot to do and so got myself commissioned to travel around writing about my experiences for some of the publications mentioned above. Since about 2000, the Western media has only bothered to mention Ivory Coast when it descends into war, so it was no surprise that my friends and family members were worried about my going there. However, I'm pleased to report that ordinary Ivorians were immensely kind, tolerant and helpful. This was equally true of the most recent trip I made with the photographer Alexander Sebley in summer 2015. Indeed to this day, I've witnessed far more violence, petty crime, prejudice, bullying and intimidation in the Global North than in Ivory Coast or indeed any other part of the Global South. All my writing - this book included - aims to present a balanced and nuanced picture of a given place, celebrating the good things as well as explaining - never excusing - how the bad things came to be. In doing so I've tried to avoid the lazy stereotypes and generalisations that can sometimes be found in writing about Africa.
Introduction PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION Chapter 1 Background information Geography , Climate, Natural history and conservation, History, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Culture, Sport Chapter 2 Practical Information When to visit, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information and tour operators, Red tape, High commissions, embassies and representatives, Getting there and away, Health, Safety and hassles, Women travellers, Gay travellers, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays, Media and communications, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively PART TWO THE GUIDE Chapter 3 Abidjan and Around History, Getting there and away, Getting around, Orientation, Tourist information and tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Nightlife, Entertainment, Sports and activities, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Around Abidjan, Further afield Chapter 4 The Southeast Grand-Bassam , Around Bassam, Assinie and around Chapter 5 The Southwest Sassandra and around, San-Pedro and around, Parc National de Tai (Tai National Park) Chapter 6 Central Ivory Coast Yamoussoukro, Bouake, Around Bouake, Daloa and around , Abengourou Chapter 7 The Dix-Huit Montagnes and the West Man, Touba, Around Touba Chapter 8 The North Odienne and around, Korhogo, Around Korhogo, Kong, Parc National de la Comoe (Comoe National Park), Bondoukou Appendix 1 Language Appendix 2 Further Information Index