It is a sprawling and overpopulated megacity surrounded by water. The city features many contrasts with Abidjanese (as its inhabitants are known) boasting inventiveness and creativity: shoe-shine boys, official documents lamination experts, parking aides, security guards of all kinds or roving telephone booths operators. All these clichés are quite typical of the African continent.
Abidjan is currently home to an estimated 4 to 6 million people, depending on whether its main suburbs are factored in or not. The city’s geography is unsettling and ever-changing, with a population that has been growing over the years, especially during the years of war that rocked the country. In Abidjan you find some of West Africa’s tallest skyscrapers located in Plateau business hub, rightly dubbed “Mini-Manhattan of the Tropics”. Residential areas lie around populated neighbourhoods such as Koumassi or Yopougon with luxurious villas, especially Cocody or Marcory. You also find industrial areas such as Vridi stretching along the ocean. There are also small lagoon villages that still resist the uncontrollable spread of this sprawling city. In Abidjan you switch between French and Nouchi, a local slang invented by numberless street children who use it as an identity bond. You eat out at maquis, these little eateries off the streets where anyone can come and unwind. You can move around in taxis fitted with “peppered” (tampered with) meters or in collective inter-municipal taxis also known as “woro-woro” and painted in different colours depending on the municipality they operate in. You can ride on the buses which you catch randomly if you get lucky, or sail your way in small boats or Ivorian-style riverboats. You might as well try the gbakas, those minibuses driving like wourou-fatô (rabid dogs) with their worn-out bodies all covered with paintings and flowery quotes such as: “The end of a movie saddens” or “Only God is strong”.
Abidjan is further renowned not only for its vibrant artistic and plastic life but also for its festive and musics vibe. The Zouglou Mecca, made famous globally by Magic Systems band and their “Premier Gaou” album, hosts African and international great stars on a regular basis. As for partying, its starts around dusk and is permeated with the sweet smells of grilled fish and meat steaming from makeshift grills. Music resonates across the city, from the shore of the lagoon all the way to opposite side Marcory, before drowning in packed dancing clubs in Yopougon or Zone 4.
The village that Abidjan used to be has morphed into a city. While living in this city comes with its share of inconveniences (much as in most African urban centres), Abidjan still manages to spoil you with its joie de vivre and unyielding energy. As the song goes, “Abidjan is sweet” ! Without forgetting the world-renowned Ivorian cassava semolina : attieké of course !
The Royal Work club : un club d’affaire exclusif au cœur d’Abidjan
+225 75753136 - www.royalworkclub.com
+225 21 25 36 56
+225 21 24 68 93
L’ASNA Club house +225 21 35 70 70
Aboussouan +225 21 24 53 12
Richard’s +225 21 24 81 85
WHERE TO STAY
Le Quai 40 (zone 3) +225 02 84 32 20
Hôtel Novotel (Plateau) +225 20 31 80 00
Hôtel Particulier +225 22 44 67 37
Radisson Blue (aéroport) +225 21 22 20 00
Sofitel hôtel Ivoire (Cocody) +225 22 48 26 26
Hôtel Tiama (Plateau) +225 20 31 33 33
Cocoué Lodge (Assinie) +225 07 07 77 69
Les jardins d’Assinie (Assinie) +225 07994181
+225 07 05 71 83
Parker place +225 06 64 3381
Che Café +225 07 98 49 60
Le Havana +225 21 25 71 11
SITES AND SOUNDS
Ile Boulay – la basilique de Yamoussoukro – Grand-Bassam capitale historique
Jardin botanique +225 03 44 33 43
Ferme aux orchidées +225 07 696340