Capital | Yamoussoukro
Population | 21,058,798 (July 2010 est.)
Area | 322,460 SQ KM
Official Language | French
Holidays | Independence Day, 7 August (1960 – from France)
Currency | Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF)
Time Zone | UTC +0
Best Time to Visit | November to February
Connecting with the Culture | Exploring Grand-Bassam faded colonial charm. (Grand-Bassam was the French colonial capital city from 1893 – 1896, when, after a bout of yellow fever, the capital transferred to Bingerville. The city remained a key seaport until the growth of Abidjan from the 1930’s). Taking in a live performance of exhilarating music and masked dance in the Man area. Soaking up the sun at rainforest-clad beaches. Communing with the chimpanzees in the Parc National de Tai or with the hippos at Parc National de la Come.
Read | Bernard Dadie’s Climbie, an autobiographical account of his childhood.
Listen | to Apartheid is Nazism by Cote D’Ivoire’s best known reggae star, Alpha Blondy.
Watch | Visages des Femmes (Faces of Women), directed by Cote D’Ivoire’s Desire Ecare.
Eat | kedjenou (chicken, or sometimes guineafouwl, simmered with vegetables in a mild sauce)
Drink | Bangui (a local palm wine)
In a Word | I-ni-cheh, I-kah-kene (Hello, how are you? In Dioula, the market language)
Characteristics | violence plagued elections; coups; Korhongo cloth; Dan masks
Surprises | Cote d’Ivoire lost 42% of its forest woodland from 1977 to 1987- the highest rate of loss in the world. Cote d’Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa in the world.