Abidjan is a city of contrasts and contradictions, a city with a complicated past and an optimistic future – a city that is truly fascinating when experienced first-hand. The streets resonate with the shouts of merchants hawking their wares and the unmistakeable beat of Coupé-Décalé (a popular percussive Ivorian dance music).
In the fashionable districts of Cocody and Deux Plateaux you’ll find international business travellers mingling with well-heeled local ladies wearing pagnes (brightly coloured dresses) in the high-end boutiques.
There’s a healthy choice of things to do in Abidjan. You can get back to nature and visit one of its many protected national parks, like Forêt du Banco in the north, and meet the colourful creatures who live there. Or even grab your surfboard and catch some waves beyond the many inlets that divide the city.
When the sun sets, Abidjan comes to life, with locals dancing to a jazz soundtrack at numerous venues in the centre.
To keep your energy level up, street vendors serve steaming portions of local favourite fufu (cassava or yams pounded into a dough and served with meat and a vegetable sauce called kedjenou). Innovative restaurateurs also deliver imaginative culinary combinations in a new wave of gourmet restaurants, many of which, like the rest of the city, are heavily influenced by the French.