My travels have taken me to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire) of West Africa! I am on a tour with Exul Voyage travel company! I ran into a few stumbling blocks along the way. I hope your experience will be seamless so here are some tips to help you along the way!
For US citizens make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months pass your date of entry. A visa us required! Try to do your Visa application at least three to four weeks in advance. Click here for passport requirements! I did it one week in advance and ran into some minor issues. That cost me a day of my vacation. Making changes to your flight reservation and hotel can be very costly! On a side note you may get visa upon arrival but you will need to do the application process online before arriving. Click here to learn more about visas upon arrival!
Get Yellow fever vaccination one month in advance. Your primary care provider, travel medicine clinic or local urgent care may be able to administer it. Also check with your medical insurance to find out if they will cover yellow fever vaccine. Mine did and that saved me from $125 -$350 dollars.
You must bring your yellow vaccine card to prove you have received it or you will be forced to take one in the airport upon arrival.
Learn a few French words, it will help tremendously because most Ivorians don't speak English. No matter where in the world you go a Hello, goodbye or thank you shows respect and goes a long way!
The currency is CFA; $100 USD = about 60,000 CFA ( yes, when you exchange money you'll feel rich!) It's best to exchange money in Cote D'Ivoire. Your host would be able to help with getting the best exchange rate!
When shopping Negotiate!!! You can get a better price if you try. Never settle for the first price you are given.
What to Pack
washcloths (Many places in the world don't use them)
Lightweight clothes (it's always hot in Africa)
Luggage lock (pilferage is common in France and Africa)
Have suitable shoes, sneakers for walking, flip flops for the beach, dress shoes for dancing, etc. Africans are some of the most fashionable people I know!
Don't bring your brand new sneakers many places you walk will be in the dirt.
A pouch or purse that goes around your waist or over your head so you can keep your valuables close when shopping in the market place.
Bathing suit & beach towel.
Be prepared to wash your clothes out by hand if you want to wear them again. There are very few options for public laundry. Most clothes are washed by hand and laid on ground or hung on clothing lines to dry.
I hope these tips will put your mind at ease as you prepare for your trip!