No, until now, no airlines operating in the United Kingdom or Ivory Coast have initiated direct flights between the two countries. Most passengers opt to get an Air France ticket to the Ivory Coast from London Heathrow Airport. Consistently, the airline provides the cheapest means to get to this West African country, even in the busy season.
With Air France, Ivory Coast is just a few pounds and a couple of hours away. Ivory Coast, being a former colony of France, still retains a cordial relationship with the former colonial power, and there is a significant Ivorian Diaspora living in France as well. To connect both countries, Air France manages cheap flights to Ivory Coast that are also beneficial for the British tourists and Ivorian Expats living in the UK.
The first leg of your travels is from a city in the UK to Paris’ Charles de Gaul Airport. Fortunately, there are many options to take and many Air France flights to choose from. From London alone, 28 flights are leaving for Paris each week. The most popular one is AF 1681 that is scheduled to fly from London at 9:40 AM and arrive at Paris in about one hour and fifteen minutes every single day. Twenty-two flights take off from Manchester, and thirty-seven Air France flights operate from Birmingham towards Paris each week.
From Paris onwards to Abidjan, Air France operates fourteen flights a week to the Ivorian city. Flight number AF 520 leaves Paris to Abidjan at 10 AM and lands on the tarmac at 4:30 PM Ivorian Time, after travelling for eight and a half hours. AF 524, AF 702 and AF 914 also flies nonstop to Abidjan from Paris, but only on select days of the week. As always, please contact our agents well in advance to get the cheapest rates on Air France flights to Côte d’Ivoire.
Ivory Coast has more than 25 airports all over the country; however, there is only one international airport that serves as the main gateway. The Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport (ABJ) in Abidjan is the only international airport serving the economic capital of the Ivory Coast. Port Bouët Airport, as it is also known, handles 2 million people a year. Apart from being connected by the Abidjan Metro, which is a project destined to be complete in December of 2023, the airport is linked with highways that lead into the very heart of the city. The city centre is about a 40-minute car drive from Port Bouët Airport.
The best time to visit the Ivory Coast is from December to February. The country is in the tropics, right on the Gulf of Guinea. Both of these factors contribute to define the weather of the Ivory Coast. Humidity is the lowest in the winter seasons, and it becomes more comfortable for people to breathe with a fresher atmosphere. There is only a 5 to 10 per cent chance of rain during these times as well. The mean temperature during these three months is at 26°C, which makes this part of the year ideal for a visit to the Ivory Coast. Clearly, with most travellers coming to the country during the winter months, the prices for the tickets and the hotel rooms increase. At times tickets are scarce, so call our agents three to four months in advance to book cheap tickets to Ivory Coast.
The cheapest month of the year to visit the Ivory Coast is in March. Though the humidity has yet to reach its peak values, the mean temperature exceeds 30°C, which can be unpleasant for some. Usually, during March, there are five to ten rainy days, which might prevent you from exploring the country entirely, but the easiest way to tackle that by taking an umbrella with you. The change in weather keeps most tourists at bay, but for those who are on a budget, March can bring surprisingly good deals on accommodations and tickets to the Ivory Coast.
Ivory Coast was one of four Coasts of Africa the Europeans traded along. As the name suggests, Ivory Coast dealt in tusks from the elephants. After the country gained independence from the French in 1960, the country transformed itself into a significant African economy. The new wealth helped in creating many landmarks in the cities of the Ivory Coast and maintaining many nature reserves in the country.
- Tai National Park contains the last bit of African rainforest. The rainforest is the only home for the pygmy hippo, olive monkey and the African leopard. The Park was given the status of UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1972 and later became a Natural World Heritage site. Even though the flow of tourism to that section of Ivory Coast has dwindled due to the recent outbreaks of Ebola, there are still many scientists working in the Biosphere, researching about the many species living in the area. Tours to the biosphere and the adjacent rainforest reveal a new world to the human travellers, one that is ruled by nature.
- Yamoussoukro is one of the two capitals of the Ivory Coast. Right at the centre of the city is the Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, and it was completed in 1990. The basilica is registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest church in the world. Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome formerly held this title. The Basilica has become a pilgrimage site for the Catholic Christians of Africa. The massive Romanesque dome of the building reminds the tourist of the Duomo in Florence. Pope John Paul II consecrated the basilica and a hospital nearby when he visited the capital of Ivory Coast in September 1990.
- The Comoé National Park is the largest nature reserve in Ivory Coast, and it is the last remaining sanctuary for a multitude of endangered animals. The reserve is protecting tropical rainforests and savannah jungles and is home to a diverse list of birds and mammals. Often the tourist would see a bushbuck or a roan antelope galloping through the shallow pools of the Comoé River. Due to illegal poaching, the conservation status of the Park is in question, which is why the local government is encouraging tourists to visit the site. The income from tourists is spent on the protection of wild animals and rare plants threatened by human agriculture.
The Ivory Coast has many ethnic cultures living in its borders. To understand their faiths and beliefs, a tourist can take part in their festivals and gain insight into the African traditions of the Ivory Coast. The Goli Mask Dance festival has no definite date of celebration, as the Goli Mask Dance gatherings can be called whenever the Boule tribe requires divine intervention. Performers wear Kpan and Kple Kple masks with the native dancing women leading the processions. At the Grand Bassam Abissa festival in October, there are wedding and funerals held by the N’zima culture. During the celebration, local art, culture and handicrafts are also showcased. The Panther’s dance is a coming of age ritual festival for the young boys in the Senoufo tribes after they spend days out of the village isolated from the rest of the people.
As compared to neighbouring African countries, Ivory Coast has better road and transportation services, especially between cities. There are, however, Ivorian soldiers at the checkpoints along the way which takes up much time. Keep your British Passport with you at all times when you are travelling. There have been some reports that a few soldiers demand bribes from foreign passengers in the bus, especially if they are of French nationality. In Abidjan, the best way to get around is by hiring a car. A hired car not only gives you personal freedom but in the long run, it is cheaper than travelling by taxis. The traffic moves at a glacial pace in rush hours, so be patient when you are driving through the streets of Abidjan. Please negotiate the travel fare with the driver before taking the taxi out for a ride.
Abidjan and many other cities in the Ivory Coast have a collection of four to five-star hotels. They usually are located in the posh sections of the city and are fully decked with all sorts of amenities.
- Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire
- Hotel TIAMA
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Abidjan Airport
- Pullman Abidjan
- Azalai Hotel Abidjan