Things to do in Abidjan, Ivory Coast + Photography
Abidjan is the biggest city in the Ivory Coast as well as the de facto capital. Here are a few Abidjan landmarks and Instagram spots you must visit when in town. I stayed in the Plateau region of Abidjan and from here you can walk to all these points of interest.
Plateau Mosque – Top Instagram Spot in Abidjan
Remember, first and foremost this is a place of worship. However, visit during non prayer hours and it’s the top Instagram spot in Abidjan. As a matter of fact, if this mosque was located in a busier tourist spot like Morocco, there would be thousands of people queuing for their photo at the doors. The reason I mention Morocco is because this is a Moroccan style mosque.
As well as viewing the mosque exterior be sure to visit the interior. There are some intricate designs to admire. In fact, this could be the most beautiful mosque in West Africa. However, those in Dakar Senegal may argue with me on that one!
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is another stand out Abidjan monument. Additionally, like the Plateau Mosque, it’s free to enter and explore. Do remember it’s a place of worship though! You’re looking at one of the biggest churches in not only Africa but the whole world.
St Paul’s Cathedral Interior
The interior of St Paul’s Cathedral reminded me of the Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki. However, it’s highly likely you’ll be alone in this church and can explore without other tourists bothering you.
Stained Glass Windows in St Paul’s Cathedral
What makes St Paul’s Cathedral different from others around the world? Take a close look at the stained glass windows. These not only feature biblical scenes but also scenes showing the ethnic Ivorian people and their faith. You won’t find stained glass windows like this anywhere else in the world.
Civilization Museum of Ivory Coast
Would you like to see African masks on display in their rightful place? I recommend you visit the Musee des Civilisations de Cote d’Ivoire. In addition to the masks are several other historic artifacts as well as huge elephant skull. Outside the museum are several other pieces of art and excellent examples of African street art.
Tour Postel 2001
Abidjan is a a rare city full of skyscrapers in West Africa. At 120 meters tall is the La Cité Administrative Tour D which is the tallest skyscraper in Abidjan. You’ll see this next to St Paul’s Cathedral. However, this in my opinion is a rather ugly building. The building which caught my eye was the beautiful Tour Postel 2001. At 106 meters tall, it’s the second tallest building Abidjan.
La Pyramide was once a symbol of Ivorian prosperity, that was back in 1973 when it was completed. However, today it lies an abandoned building in the center of Abidjan. It reminds me of the pyramid in Tirana Albania.
If you’ve been traveling in West Africa for a while you will certainly be welcome to the idea of a Burger King. Thankfully, there’s one around the corner from the pyramid.
Abandoned Buildings in Abidjan
Ivory Coast has its fair share of abandoned buildings and Abidjan is no exception. One specific building which caught my eye was this huge abandoned apartment block. I’m sure it will catch your eye too but if you can’t find it, here is the location.
Attention to Detail
As you walk the streets of Abidjan be sure to pay attention to detail. There are several unknown Abidjan monuments which will catch your eye. Be it old mosaics on a building, or a perfectly preserved piece of French colonial architecture. Most importantly, pay attention to the people, Ivorians wear some of the brightest clothes anywhere in West Africa. I found them to be genuinely friendly too.
Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny
Ivory Coast have a famous footballing history. For example, everyone has heard of Didier Drogba who played for Chelsea FC. For this reason, you must visit the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, home of the Ivory Coast national football team. If you’re lucky there’ll be a match on when you’re in town. If not, they also host club football, rugby union as well as athletics events. Be careful though, this 50,000 seater stadium is infamous for stampedes. You could describe it as a modern day Hillsborough.
Wildlife in Abidjan
When it comes to wildlife you have two options in the city. You can see wildlife in it’s natural environment in the huge National Park. Alternatively, for guaranteed wildlife sighting you should visit Abidjan Zoo.
Bats in Abidjan
Abidjan has its fair share of bats which appear at sunrise and sunset. You’ll experience this phenomenon throughout West Africa, in Monrovia, Freetown and also Conakry. However, there seemed to be a greater number of bats circling above Abidjan.
How to Travel from Abidjan to Grand Bassam
Travel from Abidjan to Grand Bassam is very easy. As a matter of fact, it’s so close you negotiate with a taxi to take you the whole way. However, I decided to take a shared minivan from Gare de Bassam. Shared minivans leave when full and the journey time is less than an hour. Your final destination in Grand Bassam will be at this traffic circle. From this point, make your way to your hotel. I personally stayed in a good value hotel within walking distance of the traffic circle. However, many tourists prefer a hotel beach side and you can easily find a taxi around the traffic circle.