When I think of Yamoussoukro I think of a model city that the world is still moving into. The built capital of Cote d’Ivoire is basically the opposite of every other African city. Whereas most African urban spaces are racing to catch up with growth, Yamoussoukro built the 6-lane highways, hotels, and even golf course before anyone ever really lived there. While it is meant to be the administrative capital of the country, it is also home to perhaps one of the country’s biggest potential tourism attractions: The Yamoussoukro Basilica.
Time Needed: 1-2 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 30-45usd a Day
Things to Do and See in Yamoussoukro
- Yamoussoukro Basilica: Whether or not you agree with the relevance of this building, what is hardly debatable is its beauty. It may be the tallest basilica in the world, and is an absolute stunner. Tours are required and cost 2,000 CFA (4usd) for foreigners.
- Sacred Crocodiles: Near the palace there are some lakes where a bunch of Nile Crocodiles live. If you go around 4:30pm someone comes out to feed the crocs meat. There might also be some kids selling chickens for you to feed the crocs yourself.
- Golfing: I didn’t golf, so I can’t exactly recommend it, but there is a course at the Hotel President.
Where to Eat in Yamoussoukro
As is the case in much of Cote d’Ivoire, head out and find a maquis for some local grub like fufu or maybe some Senegalese mafe. On the main street near the BIAO bank there is also a place that sells decent pizza called A la Belle Pizza.
Where to Stay in Yamoussoukro
Though it’s a little bit out of the way, the best place to stay in town if you’re on a budget is a place called Hotel Akraya. The rooms at Akraya are very cozy, there is free wifi, hot water and a restaurant attached. I paid 14,000 CFA (28usd) for a single room. The only other real option in town is the Hotel President which will run you at least $125 a night.
Getting out of Town
Bus companies each have their own offices so you’ll need to ask who goes where. There are constant buses to both Man and Abidjan. If you’re making the journey from Yamoussoukro to Bamako, Mali, you’ll need to book a day in advanced. Also, be prepared for the bus to already be packed by the time you get on since it’s coming in from Abidjan. That trip can take as little as 16 hours but is more likely to take about 24-32 hours as it did for me.
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