What a breath of fresh air. Arriving in Man after a 2 day marathon from Monrovia felt like arriving in paradise. Rolling green hills, bright red roads, and a smiling local welcome was exactly what I need. Man has the potential to be Cote d’Ivoire’s premier travel destination although. However, it seems there is still a certain level of caution in regards to Man as it was once seen as the front line of the conflict that heated up in the country a few years ago, and many people claim to still be festering. Still, between the beautiful waterfalls and hiking opportunities, as well as the cultural excursions, I can’t imagine it be all too long before Man gets back on its feet again as this country’s tourism hub.
Time Needed: 3-4 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: $40-50USD a day
Things to do in Man
- Hiking: The most typical hike for people to do in Man is the trip up Dent du Man which is an easy have day trek with cool views of the city. I got roped into doing Mount Tonkoui which is the second highest peak in the county and an absolute beast to climb. At the top, there is a cool weather station with a tower awarding incredible views over the region. The second hike will take you all day as it’s about a 40km round trip from Man.
- Waterfalls: Just outside of Man, on the road to Tonkoui there is a fairly impressive waterfall with a great place to go for a swim!
- Monkey Forest: Near the Almoitrin Hotel there is a forest full of macaques. The local kids will try to sell you bananas to feed them so they jump around on your shoulders. Please, avoid feeding the monkeys as it breeds dependence. They should come around even if you don’t.
- Stilt Dancers: One of the best things you can do in all of west Africa, the stilt dance is absolutely brilliant. You’ll need a guide to take you and the dance takes place about an hour’s drive, and an hour’s hike farther, from Man. It’s worth every bit of effort to get there. The day trip will likely cost you 30,000CFA.
Where to Eat in Man
As is the case all over west Africa, most of the hotels in town also have restaurants. Just be sure you tell them early that you’re planning on eating there or they may send the cook home or not have what you want. Outside the hotels, these are some places I went.
- Le Moroccaine: A Morrocan restaurant downtown Man has the best Swarmas since Conakry. There is also more typical Morrocan dishes. It’s quite good.
- Le Boss: It’s more of a maquis than a restaurant, but the food is good especially if you’re looking for something at lunch.
Where to Stay in Man
While I was in town most of the hotels were hurting. According to my guide, before the conflict in Cote d’Ivoire happened the accommodation was packed with tourists, as the conflict persisted – and just after it ended – the hotels in Man were also filled, but with UN staff and NGO workers, but now that the UN has left and the tourists have not returned, they are all empty. My hotel was the perfect example. I stayed at Le Almointrine and was the only guest. The hotel had a massive restaurant and bar, but I found myself sat alone in the middle each night as I ate. As far as recommendations, the Almointrine was great.
Getting out of Town
There are a number of buses that run southbound from any one of the bus terminals. The best time to catch a ride is between 7 and 8am, but if you’re going to Abidjan (8-12 hours) or Yamoussoukro (5-7 hours) you can catch a ride nearly any time of day. Heading north the transport is a little more sparse. Also, if you’re heading to Liberia or Guinea you’ll want to get to the taxi brusse stand really early to ensure you have a seat as there may only be one car each day.
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