Security travel advice for Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Threat level: High
The is a high risk of terror in Côte d’Ivoire, with recent attacks in 2016 at Grand Bassam, near Abidjan killing a number of foreign nationals. Further attacks are highly likely and visitors should exercise a high level of vigilance at all times.
The western regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra are all at high risk of armed banditry and conflicts between local militias. There have been a number of cases whereby foreign nationals have been caught up in the conflict in the past.
Recent Security Risk Events
Petty crime and also serious crime such as car hijackings and armed break-ins to private residences are common in the Abidjan area. Public transports such as taxis and buses are particularly at risk from hijackings. Avoid using any kind of public transport and avoid road travel at night in both rural and urban areas. Driving standards and vehicle maintenance of public transport are poor.
There are permanent checkpoints in and around roads in Abidjan. Some of them are official police ones and others are unofficial roadblocks used by bandits and militias. Be wary of checkpoints on the major routes outside of Abidjan. Take great care and co-operate with those operating them. It is advised to travel in a convoy and with a close protection detail. Employers should provide security measures if you are in Côte d’Ivoire for business purposes.
Violent armed conflicts between militias and the security forces have taken place in the west of Duékoué. Rural areas of the region are particularly high risk; it is advised not to visit these areas without an escort from the Côte d’Ivoire security forces.
Petty crime is a major issue in many areas of Côte d’Ivoire, including Yamoussoukro. Security precautions should be taken against the risk of pick pockets and muggings. Keep a photocopy of important travel documents in case they are stolen and avoid displaying expensive items of jewellery.
Côte d’Ivoire has been a member of the United Nations ever since it gained its independence from France in the 1960s, Côte d’Ivoire continues to maintain extremely close relations with France as France maintains a military base at Port Bouët. Côte d’Ivoire is a member of the Organisation of African Unity and has strong relations with many of its West African neighbours.
You can drive in Côte d’Ivoire with most EU, US and UK driving licenses. Driving standards are mostly poor, however they are improving in the more urban areas of the country. Avoid driving outside towns and cities at night.
The rainy season in Côte d’Ivoire is from May to November. Take this into consideration during road travel as floods can often cause landslides which can render roads in rural areas impassable.
Economic Capital: Abidjan
Official languages: French Religion: Islam (Sunni) Currency: West African CFA franc (XOF)
Most nationalities will have to purchase a visa in advance to travel to Côte d’Ivoire. They are also required to present a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months and a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
It is advised that visitors to Côte d’Ivoire are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation. This should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Malaria is a very high risk all year round in Côte d’Ivoire and it is imperative that you take anti malarial medication during travel. Malaria is endemic in Côte d’Ivoire.
Cholera is present in some areas of the country. It is advised that you only drink bottled or boiled water.
Medical treatment of a reasonable standard is available in Abidjan and most urban areas. Emergency medical facilities are limited to a few major hospitals, but are of a good standard compared to most west African hospitals.
Medical facilities in rural areas can be quite sparse and you should take this into consideration during travel. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance in case you have to be medically evacuated.
U.S. Embassy Abidjan
Côte d’Ivoire Telephone: +225 222 941 03 Telephone: +225 224 944 50 (Out of hours) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
British Embassy Abidjan
Ambassade de Grande-Bretagne, Cocody Quartier Ambassades
Impasse du Belier,
Rue A 58,
01 BP 2581,
Côte d’Ivoire Telephone: +225 224 426 69 Telephone: +441 908 516 666 (Out of hours) Email: British.Embassy.Abidjan@fco.gov.uk