Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
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Latest updates: The Health tab was updated - travel health notices (Public Health Agency of Canada).
Côte d’Ivoire - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Côte d’Ivoire. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to crime and the prevalent insecurity in certain regions such as the area bordering Liberia.
Western region bodering Liberia - Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the area within 50 km of the border with Liberia, in the regions of San Pedro, Cavally, Tonkpi and Guémon, where there is a risk of armed attacks.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
After a decade of political instability, which culminated in the post‑electoral crisis of 2010‑2011, calm is now being restored in Côte d’Ivoire. The security situation has improved nationwide, although armed attacks still occur sporadically in some areas, especially near the border with Liberia. Crime remains the main threat to travellers’ security.
Border with Liberia (see Advisory)
Although the number of incidents has decreased significantly in the last two years, armed attacks, aimed mainly at positions of the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire, still occur along the border with Liberia.
You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in the neighbourhoods of Treichville, Adjamé, Abobo and Yopougon, due to the risk of theft and mugging.
Refrain from crossing the Charles de Gaulle and Houphouët-Boigny bridges on foot, as pedestrians have been assaulted there, even in broad daylight. Do not walk in Le Plateau business district at night once offices and shops have closed.
Be vigilant at night in neighbourhoods where nightclubs, restaurants and maquis (small, local clandestine restaurants) are found (such as in Zone 4). Armed robberies, carjackings and assaults have been reported there.
Electoral process and demonstrations
Legislative elections will take place on December 18, 2016. Be vigilant, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Criminal activity is the main threat to your safety and security in Côte d’Ivoire. In Abidjan and other cities in the country, you could be the target of petty crime such as pickpocketing or purse snatching. Petty criminals do not hesitate to use force when faced with resistance. Burglaries, break-ins and violent assaults are also frequent, as is car theft. Luxury and four-wheel drive vehicles are particularly targeted. Keep your vehicle’s doors locked and windows closed at all times.
Crime increases significantly after dark; be especially careful after sundown and avoid travel late at night.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist targets could include government buildings, public areas such as bars, restaurants, hotels and tourist sites frequented by Westerners. Be aware of your surroundings in public places. Areas close to the porous border with Mali, where jihadist groups are active, are particularly at risk. On March 13, 2016, at least twenty people were killed, including some foreigners, when gunmen attacked a beach resort in Grand-Bassam, located approximately 40 km east of Abidjan.
Armed bandits (coupeurs de route or highwaymen) sometimes strike along the country’s highways. They erect barricades to stop vehicles and rob passengers. Although this phenomenon has become much less common, incidents are regularly reported along primary and secondary roads. These bandits are active mainly at night, but attacks also occur in broad daylight.
Côte d’Ivoire has a fairly good road system. A new two-lane highway links Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. Main roads are generally paved, but the remainder are not. Although the road system is generally in good condition, several stretches of road are still full of potholes and are buckled in places.
Road accidents are common, due to poor road conditions, excessive speeds and careless driving. Drive defensively at all times and respect speed limits.
When a vehicle is stopped in heavy traffic, doors should be locked and windows closed at all times. You should always carry your identification and vehicle documents. It is recommended that you avoid travelling after nightfall, owing to poorly lit roads and the risk of accident or holdup.
Public transportation is inadequate in Abidjan and is not recommended. Buses are overcrowded and although taxis are available, they are generally in poor condition and their drivers are reckless. If you must absolutely take a taxi, you should either insist that the meter be turned on and pay only the indicated price, or negotiate the fare in advance. There have been incidents of taxi passengers being robbed or assaulted by drivers, so be very cautious. Do not allow the driver to pick up any other passengers on the way to your destination, as this may be a prearranged scheme to attack or rob you. Avoid using informal taxis (woro-woros) and buses (gbaka) on the road in Abidjan.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Major hotels provide a shuttle service to and from the airport; it is best to book this service in advance. There is a risk of baggage theft at the airport, so valuables and electronic equipment should be securely locked in hand luggage. All incoming passenger luggage is X-rayed before it leaves the terminal, and customs and police officials regularly inspect luggage after it has been X-rayed.
Swimming at the seaside, especially in Grand Bassam, is dangerous and strongly advised against, even for excellent swimmers. Coastal ocean currents are powerful and dangerous. Many people drown each year.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General safety information
Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying jewelry and large sums of cash. Valuables and bags should be kept out of sight. It is also recommended that you vary your schedules and travel patterns. Carry certified photocopies of your identification and travel documents.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. Victims of fraud or cybercrime originating from Côte d’Ivoire can report it to Plateforme de lutte contre la cybercriminalité. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from Ivorian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Côte d'Ivoire, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Canadians must also be in possession of a visa before arrival. A visa can be obtained at the Abidjan Airport. However, a “receipt of pre-enrolment” must be obtained online, as well as a “certificate of approval of the authority” (which is proof of authorization), before you board your flight to Abidjan. See http://www.snedai.com for more details on the E-VISA.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Appropriate health facilities and medical supplies are found in Abidjan, but they may be expensive. Before commencing treatment, public and private medical facilities generally require an up-front deposit, a guarantee of payment or confirmation that the traveller has medical insurance.
There are few medical facilities outside of Abidjan. Air evacuation is sometimes the only option in the event of a medical emergency in remote areas.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Photographing certain installations, such as military sites, government buildings (including radio and television stations), the presidential palace, the airport and the Charles De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan, is prohibited.
Art objects purchased in Côte d’Ivoire must be accompanied by an export permit provided by the Musée National (national museum).
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Côte d'Ivoire. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you an Ivorian citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Ivorian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the African Financial Community franc (XOF). Credit cards are accepted at major hotels, some restaurants and some shops. Most commercial establishments and banks do not accept travellers’ cheques, either in U.S. dollars or in euros. Automated teller machines are available in Abidjan and most major cities. Money transfer services (such as Western Union and MoneyGram) are also available.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
In the southern coastal region, the rainy seasons occur from May to July and from October to November. In the central and north-central region, the rainy seasons extend from mid-July to mid-October and from mid-March to mid-May. In the north, the rainy season is from July to November, and the harmattan wind blows down from the Sahara between December and February.
Severe rainstorms can cause sudden flooding and landslides, interrupt essential services and impede overland travel. You should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 170 / 110 / 111
- medical assistance: 185
- firefighters: 180
Abidjan - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Abidjan and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885 by dialing 00 11 00 from a stationary phone and selecting the Collect Call option.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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