Assinie’s beach of fine vanilla sand rolls dreamily for 18km along the Gulf of Guinea, punctuated by palm trees and tufts of jade reeds rustling in the warm breeze.
Located 80km east of Abidjan, Assinie is a long, thin sub-region of the Comoé administrative district, bounded by the village of Assouindé to the west and, in the east, La Passe, the name given to the point just beyond the township of Assinie- Mafia where the Lagoon Aby opens into the Gulf of Guinea on the right and the waters of the Ehotilé Islands National Park to the left.
Assinie’s beach of fine vanilla sand rolls dreamily for 18km along the Gulf of Guinea, punctuated by palm trees and tufts of jade reeds rustling in the warm breeze. ‘Uniform sombreness’ was how Joseph Conrad described it in Heart of Darkness (1899). But if the land is pretty and hospitable, the sea before it is hostile and dangerous. Don’t attempt to swim – you’ll struggle against the lofty waves crashing down on you and the magnet-like undertow that can suck you right out into the Atlantic if you’re not careful.
During the 1970s and ’80s, Assinie earned kudos for being a kind of proto-Ibiza in West Africa, with young French and Italian party animals flocking to its Club 18–30 and other such hedonistic hangouts. These days, it is considerably more laidback, and is oriented towards families and couples. Visitors stay at the stylish boutique resorts up and down the coast, sunbathing by the pool with a piña colada in hand, tucking into phenomenal fresh local lobster and imported French cheese, foie gras and charcuterie, and setting off on fun excursions to off-road it in the bush or spy out manatees in the wild.