The East Coast

The beaches east of Abidjan are still the playground of wealthy Ivorians and expats there are just far fewer of them soaking up the sun than there once was. A dramatic increase in petty criminals and muggers means that most visitors now weekend at Assinie, which is much safer. Grand Bassam, some 45km east of Abidjan, retains a fascinating colonial heritage though most come for the beach. The narrow strip of land between ocean and lagoon, known as Ancien Bassam, is where the French first...

Cte dIvoire

Cote d'lvoire was once the economic miracle of Africa and a role model for stability on the continent. Never completely breaking with their colonial masters, the post-independence leaders wooed French capital to build a modern infrastructure and considerable prosperity. The long-serving and charismatic first president, Houphouet-Boigny, managed to promote the notion of a happy amalgam of pragmatic Western capitalism with benign African values. The society he presided over, however, was far from...

Douala Q

Bicec Bank British Consulate Central Post Office Commercial Bank of Cameroor < < l < ) ( redit I yc> 11 ii.lis ( ledlt I V'llll.ils ( vt 'i> < l n 8 Express Exchange 12 French Consulate 13 Nigerian Consulate 14 Pharmacie du Centre 16 Police Saga SGBC Standard Chartered Bank 20 Tran s Africa To u rs 21 Grilled Fish & Beer M diterran e Restaurant Saga African Restaurant Street Food To Gart Bout< & ona in Lim e (7 i m) Buea i' OI- m'i l.'umba i.is km) Bafoussam (I'b' i.m) ' '...

Reserve De Biosphere Du

The R serve de Biosph re du Dja, as recognised by Unesco, protects about 526,000 hectares of primary rainforest. As with Lob k and the other southeastern forest reserves, visiting here is a serious undertaking, and you'll need to be completely self- sufficient. Although there are few people in the reserve area, there are Baka communities around its borders, particularly along the old road rimming Dja's northern edge. The reserve is managed by Ecofac (Map p180 220 9472 www.ecofac.org Bastos) in...

The West Coast

The rainforest-clad beaches in the western half of the country are some of Africa's most beautiful. There aren't many people roaming the sands these days due to the crisis, but many of the rivers and forests still teem with wildlife. So does Pare National de Ta , which is well known for its chim panzees. And when you're not communing with nature, there are many fascinating fishing villages to explore. About 100km west of Abidjan is Tiagba, a fascinating village on the bri Lagoon where many of...

Parc Regional Du W

Pare Regional duW (admission CFA10,000 1 Dec-15 Jun) covers 10,242 sq km in Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin, where the largest section of the park is. It was one of the first Unesco-recognised biospheres worldwide. You may see several species of cat and antelope, buf-falos, hippos, crocodiles and elephants. Although W is twice as large as Pendjari, it has traditionally been the less popular park, partly because the latter had better access and infrastructure. However, W now has a bridge over the...

Craftwork

In a country so rich in forests, it comes as no surprise that wood carving makes up a significant proportion of traditional arts and crafts. The northwestern highlands area is known for its carved masks. These are usually representations of animals, and it's often believed that the wearer of the mask can transform himself and take on the animal's characteristics and powers. Stylised representations of spiders, which symbolise wisdom, are common on carvings from the Grassfields area, especially...

Getting There Away

All agencies running transport to Bafous-sam CFA800, one hour have their offices on Route de Bafoussam at the entrance to town, west of the town gate and about 3km from the market CFA100 in a shared taxi . Moungo Voyages and Butsis Voyage have a few daily direct departures to Yaounde CFA3000, five hours and Douala CFA4500, six hours otherwise you'll need to change vehicles in Bafoussam. Non-agency minibuses departs from the gare routi re near the market. Transport between Foumban and Kumbo...

TOP END

Hotel Praia Mar 2-613777 praiamar cvtelecom.cv Rua do Mar s d CVE10,800 13,500 PI g B B Set right on the water, this is the city's top address, with large, luxurious rooms, almost all with large balconies and ocean views. Hotel Pesta a Tr pico 2-614200 www.pestana .com RuadoMar s dfromCVE9800 12.100 PI g B B Another luxury option just above Prainha Beach with all amenities, including a courtyard with a large pool and ocean views.

Transport In Cte Divoire

GETTING THERE amp AWAY Entering C te d'Ivoire A yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory and will be requested when applying for a visa and on arrival. Port Bou t is C te d'Ivoire's only international airport. Ignore the touts who offer to speed you through passport control and customs, and if someone is picking you up, make sure the person holding the sign with your name is really who they say they are. Airlines servicing C te d'Ivoire and with offices in Abidjan include the following...

Lake Aheme Around

Possotome, Bopa and the other fishing villages on the western shores of Lake Aheme, 40km southeast of Lokossa, are voodoo strongholds and you'll spot fetishes in their shops and houses. There are also regular voodoo ceremonies, which tourists are generally welcome to attend. In Possotom , ask around on the beach near the gare routi re to meet a fetish priest, who can prepare you a talisman. Possotom is famous for its thermal springs, the country's primary source of mineral water. The springs...

Abidjan

Avenue Chardy Abidjan Gaulle

Abidjan, the capital in all but name, was an unimportant town until it became a major port in 1951 when the French finished the Vridi Canal connecting the Ebrie Lagoon with the ocean. Since then, its population has skyrocketed from 60,000 to 3.5 million. If you've just flown in from the USA or Europe, you won't fully savour the uniqueness of Le Plateau, the business district. But if you arrive after a few weeks of bus- and bush-taxi travel around West Africa, you'll gasp. Your first glimpse of...

Grand Popo

Some 82km from Cotonou and 20km from the Togo border at Hila-Condji, Grand Popo is Benin's best getaway spot for travellers to spend a few idle days on the sand - although swimming is limited due to strong currents. It's Benin's most tourist-focused location, but this hasn't lessened its sleepy charm. If you do tire of lounging by the pool, nearby are some fascinating landscapes and voodoo culture. In the small villages lining the coastal highway, the white flags flying from poles identify...

European Intrusions Colonisation

In 1472 Portuguese explorers sailed up the Wouri River, naming it Rio dos Camaroes River of Prawns and christening the country in a single stroke. Over the next two centuries, coastal Cameroon became an important port of call for Dutch, Portuguese and British slave-traders. However, the first permanent European settlements were not established until the mid-19th century, when British missionaries arrived in protest against the slave trade. In 1845 British missionary Alfred Saker founded a...

Cte Divoire Directory

Many of the country's hotels have shut down and most that remain are going to pot. Most cheapies double as brothels. Before the war, accommodation was generally expensive and poor value for money, but now places are so desperate for guests that you can bargain over the already low rates in some four-star hotels. Note that there is no running water in the north. In this chapter budget accommodation is CFA15.000 and below, while top end is over CFA40.000 and midrange is in between the two. The...

Manengouba Lakes

The beautiful Manengouba Crater Lakes are set in a grassy caldera southeast of Bangem town. The lakes, known locally as Man Lake and Woman Lake, are the subject of various local superstitions. Camping and swimming is permitted at Woman Lake, but not at Man Lake. A visit costs CFA1000, which you're supposed to pay at the police station in Bangem get a receipt , though it's often easier to just pay the guy near the lakes who will approach you to collect it. The lakes are about three hours uphill...

Progemis.douala Camnet.cm

Centre d'Accueil Missionaire 342 2797, progemis .douala camnet.cm Rue Franceville r with without shower CFA7000 8000 P g S Sat back from Douala's frantic main drag, this is a real oasis. There are clean twin rooms, a pleasant veranda and a pool to cool off in. Part of the Catholic Mission, it's poorly signed - it's next to the pink Axa building. glise vangelique de Cameroun 342 3611 eec wagne.net Rue Alfred Saker s d tr CFA6500 8000 11,000 This is an adequate option as church missions go, but...

Transport In Cape Verde

GETTING THERE amp AWAY Entering Cape Verde Proof of yellow fever vaccination is only required if you are coming from an infected area see p852 for more details . Most international flights land on Sal, though Praia is seeing an increasing amount of international activity. TACV has flights three to four times weekly from Lisbon, and once or twice per week from Boston, Amsterdam, Basel, Fortaleza, Madrid, Munich and Paris. TAP Air Portugal has daily flights from Lisbon. South African Airways...

Midrange

El Panaden Hotel Map p182 222 2765 elpana den yahoo.fr Place de l'Ind pendance r CFA15,500-28,000 g This centrally located hotel is Ministry of Immigration 9 C2 Standard Chartered Bank 12 C1 Notre Dame Cathedral 15 C3 La Marseillaise Plus 21 B2 Centre Artlsanal 22 C2 TRANSPORT Cameroon Airlines 24 D3 Shared Taxis to Mvan, Nsam Swiss International Airlines 25 C2 an old traveller's favourite. Helpful staff complement clean and generously sized rooms, most with balconies. La Terrasse bar next door...

Sagba Bamessing Ndop

From Bamenda, the eastern section of the Ring Road climbs quickly into some gorgeous mountain scenery. Stretching from the villages of Sabga to Ndop, this is one of the most beautiful stretches in the whole region, lush and green, particularly at the end of the rains. This section of the Ring Road makes an ideal day trip from Bamenda if you're short on time. At Sabga, it's worth breaking your trip to climb Sabga Hill on the eastern side of the village. Ask to be dropped off about 500m after the...

Budget

Relais Ferngo SI 229 2153 off Blvd de Diarenga r CFA6000 I PI g This is a delightful budget choice. Simply furnished but quite spotless boukarous sit between shady trees, ideal for whiling away the hours. It's well-located for buses and is near some great suya stalls. Bicec Bank 1 C2 A3 C2 CCA Bureau de Change see 9 Extr me Nord Safaris 4 A3 C2 Meskine Hospital 6 A2 Police Station 7 A2 Porte Mayo Voyages see 17 Post Office 8 A2 SGBC Bank 9 C2 Centre Artisanal 10 C2 Mus e d'Art Local de Diamar...