Ivory Coast

by Tom Sykes

Ivory Coast

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  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781784770044
  • Size: 135mm x 216mm
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  • ISBN: 9781784773274
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About this book

This is the only English-language guidebook to focus solely on Ivory Coast, a country of crimson savannas, sublime mountains and cream-hued beaches that is becoming popular for ecotourism and wildlife, surfing and off-the-beaten track travel. Having only recently re-opened for tourism, Ivory Coast is West Africa's hidden treasure. In-depth and comprehensive coverage of everything from chimp-watching and hiking to food and the Ivorian music and dance scene is featured. Packed with vivid descriptions, detailed maps and essential practical advice, this book is invaluable to any visitor, whatever your purpose. Wide-ranging information on food and accommodation is given for each region.

Ivory Coast's nature is as alluring as its culture, whether you want to surf off beaches of Assinie, trek through the savannas of the north or scale Mount Tonkoui for panoramic views of Liberia and Guinea. In the Comoé, Taï and Marahoué national parks, it's possible to glimpse leopards, lions, chimpanzees, aardvarks, antelopes and 500 bird species. The guide includes sections offering advice on hiking and trekking the northern alpine regions and on birdwatching and wildlife-spotting in the various national parks.

About the author

Tom Sykes has been a travel writer and editor since the 2005 publication of No Such Th ing As A Free Ride?, an anthology of hitchhiking tales that he co-compiled for Cassell llustrated. Since his first visit to Ivory Coast in 2013, he has published articles on everything from the persecution of Ivorian Rastafarians to the 2015 presidential election for The Scotsman, The London Magazine, African Courier, British Guild of Travel Writers website, New Statesman, New Internationalist and New African (it seems that magazines with the word 'new' in their titles like his stuff ). Now Lecturer in Creative and Media Writing at the University of Portsmouth, UK, these days Tom has to do most of his travelling during the summer holidays. He is currently a coeditor of the Nesta-funded hyperlocal news project www.starandcrescent.org.uk and is working on a novel about memory, writing, relationships, living as an expat in Manila, and Western perceptions of the Philippines (and vice versa). My interest in Ivory Coast began by accident. Knowing nothing about the
country, I was invited to teach at a university there, arrived to discover that I didn't have a lot to do and so got myself commissioned to travel around writing about my experiences for some of the publications mentioned above. Since about 2000, the Western media has only bothered to mention Ivory Coast when it descends into war, so it was no surprise that my friends and family members were worried about my going there. However, I'm pleased to report that ordinary Ivorians were immensely kind, tolerant and helpful. This was equally true of the most recent trip I made with the photographer Alexander Sebley in summer 2015. Indeed to this day, I've witnessed far more violence, petty crime, prejudice, bullying and intimidation in the Global North than in Ivory Coast or indeed any other part of the Global South. All my writing - this book included - aims to present a balanced and nuanced picture of a given place, celebrating the good things as well as explaining - never excusing - how the bad things came to be. In doing so I've tried to
avoid the lazy stereotypes and generalisations that can sometimes be found in writing about Africa.

Reviews Contents


Press reviews

"The author puts the largely unexplored Cote d'Ivoire back on the map (...) fascinating texture and observations." Travel Africa Magazine

Customer reviews

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Decent first edition, but not up to par
Review by Andrew
I used this guide on an independent backpacking trip through some of Ivory Coast in Nov/Dec 2016. While there is some good writing and information I don't think the guide is on par with quality of the other Bradt books, and needs improvement.

On the positive side, the writing is excellent, and there's some interesting information on history and stories in the side bars, and it's great to have an English language guide available at all.

I realize this is a first edition, and the book hasn't had the advantage of multiple updates as with other books covering the region (ex: Ghana), but there's a lot missing.

There needs to be more maps of towns; the accommodation and eating listings are very poor, limited and lacking in variety; I had the feeling the author never used public transport between towns as the info there is very weak and unhelpful; there is a definite mid-range/high-range slant to the accommodation listings. Many interesting and important towns are very lightly covered (eg: Bondoukou, Abengourou); maps of towns don't relate to each other (eg: there are two maps of Grand Bassam showing different areas, but there's no single map showing the overall area so the reader has no idea how the two maps connect); info on food - how to find it, how to order - is very weak (eg: maquis don't usually serve food, only drinks; the thing to do is find a maquis and then order food from a different seller who will deliver the food to your table at the maquis).

But the biggest weakness is the lack of description and discussion of how things in the country actually work, how people eat and move about, the rhythm of living and existing in towns and cities. The Bradt Ghana and Senegal guides give rich description on how to approach finding and eating food, how to navigate oddities in using public transportation, how to interact with merchants and sellers. I had the impression the author provided some details and data about the country without really having a good feel for it. The book doesn't capture the way to approach the country, or the "vibe" as the other guides do.

Hopefully updates in the future will fill-out the book as it goes along.

Reply from Bradt Guides:

Thank you for taking the time to provide such detailed and constructive feedback, Andrew, and apologies for the long delay before responding. We love to receive detailed comments from readers on the ground, as this can only help strengthen our books. The extent to which a guide can capture the feel or vibe of a place is difficult to measure, and you’ll know from using a few of our guides that we grant our authors much more freedom to write ‘personal’ guides than other guidebook series. We have also had some very positive feedback on this book, but ultimately these things are largely a matter of personal taste. You do, however, raise some specific points which we wanted to follow up with Tom Sykes, the author.

There are bound to be more eating and accommodation options – particularly budget accommodation options – than when Tom was researching the book (mid-late 2015) and future editions will reflect this. As you note, this is a first edition of a rapidly developing country. We’ll also look at adding more maps, including an overview map of Bassam which is definitely lacking, although the overall number of maps is in line with our other guides.

Tom would like to point out that he and Alex, the photographer most definitely did take buses for all long- and medium-distance journeys – and suffered accordingly! He has attempted to provide the most accurate information possible, while including several necessary disclaimers about how scheduled services seldom stick to the advertised timetables, and offering some tips on what to do if things do go wrong. On the specific point of maquis, Tom and Alex did find plenty of small, rural maquis that served both food and drink.

Thanks again for taking the time to write, and happy travels!

(Posted on 21/12/2016)

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Chapter 1 Background information
Geography , Climate, Natural history and conservation, History, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Culture, Sport
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information and tour operators, Red tape, High commissions, embassies and representatives, Getting there and away, Health, Safety and hassles, Women travellers, Gay travellers, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays, Media and communications, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively

Chapter 3 Abidjan and Around
History, Getting there and away, Getting around, Orientation, Tourist information and tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Nightlife, Entertainment, Sports and activities, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Around Abidjan, Further afield
Chapter 4 The Southeast
Grand-Bassam , Around Bassam, Assinie and around
Chapter 5 The Southwest
Sassandra and around, San-Pedro and around, Parc National de Tai (Tai National Park)
Chapter 6 Central Ivory Coast
Yamoussoukro, Bouake, Around Bouake, Daloa and around , Abengourou
Chapter 7 The Dix-Huit Montagnes and the West
Man, Touba, Around Touba
Chapter 8 The North
Odienne and around, Korhogo, Around Korhogo, Kong, Parc National de la Comoe (Comoe National Park), Bondoukou

Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Further Information