Explore one of the last swathes of primary evergreen forest in West Africa and look out for chimpanzees and 250 species of exotic bird.

In the time before illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture, gorgeous virgin forest occupied much of West Africa. The only significant expanse left of it in Ivory Coast is Taï National Park, a 4,540 km² UNESCO World Heritage Site of towering ebony trees, glittering epiphytes clinging to cliffsides, evergreen-carpeted peaks and valleys, and oxbows swerving round velvety plots of savannah.

Monkey Tai National Park Ivory Coast by Alex SebleyIt’s well worth taking a guided tour to see the monkeys in Taï © Alex Sebley 

The geography is no less diverse than the animals populating it. Protected species on the IUCN’s Red List include vervet, colobus and mangabey monkeys scrambling about the canopies 60m above leopards stalking zebra duikers and African elephants and pygmy hippopotami cooling off in the mud. As if that wasn’t enough, 1,000 other types of vertebrate also call Taï home.

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