Ivory Coast climate
The coastal region averages temperatures between 23 and 27 degrees. Rainfall varies greatly in the country, fluctuating between the seasons and geographic locations. The rainforests are wet and humid, reaching temperatures as high as 32 degrees. The desert is the hottest and driest part of the country.
When to fly to Ivory Coast
Because of the cooler temperatures, November to March is the best time to visit. Two popular festivals take place during this period – the Fetes des Masques near Man and the Fete du Dipri in Gomon.
The least popular time to visit is the wet season, between May and November. Temperatures still remain extremely hot.
Getting around Ivory Coast
Taxis are available from the airport at Abidjan to the city centre and are much safer than the buses. Travel on the public buses or shared taxis is not advised for tourists.
Trains run daily on the line to Ougadougou in Burkina Faso from various points and the journey takes about 30 hours. Service is often slow or disrupted, though it is among the best available in West Africa. Most travel outside Abidjan is considered unsafe, and if needed should be carried out in convoy. There are many military check-points around the country, which can slow down your journey.
Ivory Coast insider information
- Visiting Cote d’Ivoire after spending any time in the surrounding West African countries can be something of a shock. Compared to Ghana or Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast seems far more built-up and technologically advanced – even the construction of the roads seems better here. The apparent sophistication of the country can be something of an illusion though, as the violent riots of recent years showed. Travellers should take extreme caution when visiting the country and be sure to check advice from relevant foreign offices before their trip.
- Abidjan is the country’s main city and administrative centre, though not its official capital. Far more developed than the cities of surrounding countries, its resemblance was closer to a French town, with cafés and boulevards, before the unrest and riots of the late 1990s and 2000s struck.
- Grand Bassam is a small city on the coast to the east of Abidjan, with a tropical and lush feel. Old and often crumbling colonial buildings and jungle vegetation are housed in the middle of a stunning lagoon. Finding a café – often on stilts in the water – and sitting back to watch the sun go down will offer one of the most peaceful and stunning views you’re likely to find in the entire country.
- Yamoussoukro is the country’s capital and a lively city worth visiting (safety allowing). The city contains a giant Catholic basilica (consecrated by the Pope as a “minor basilica” though it is actually taller than St Peter’s in Rome) surrounded by lush jungle, which V. S. Naipaul described as one of the “wonders of Black Africa”.