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Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) due to the unpredictable security environment and the high risk of crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for possible new safety or security risks. See Safety and security
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra. The security situation in these regions is unstable because of inter-communal tensions and the presence of armed militias in the proximity of the Liberian border. See Safety and security.
  • There is a risk of demonstrations and protests in Côte d'Ivoire. Avoid protests and large public gatherings as they may turn violent. Monitor local media, be alert and follow instructions issued by local authorities. See Safety and security.
  • In 2016, there was a terrorist attack at Grand Bassam, near Abidjan, resulting in 18 deaths, including a number of foreigners. There is an increased risk of further attacks. See Safety and security.
  • There is a risk of violent crime throughout Côte d'Ivoire, including in the major city of Abidjan, especially at night. Plan road journeys carefully. See Safety and security.
  • Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Côte d'Ivoire. The Canadian Embassy provides consular assistance to Australians in Côte d'Ivoire. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, can also assist Australians in Côte d'Ivoire.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Côte d'Ivoire for up-to-date information.

You’ll need an exit permit from the National Museum to take any art objects from Côte d'Ivoire.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says yellow fever is endemic in Côte d'Ivoire. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Côte d'Ivoire. For more information see the Department of Health website.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Safety and security

Terrorism

On 13 March 2016, there was a terrorist attack at Grand Bassam, near Abidjan, resulting in 18 deaths, including a number of foreigners. There is an increased risk of terrorist attack following attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso in 2016.  Attacks can be indiscriminate, and can occur in places visited by foreigners.

In the event of an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so, and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest/political tension

Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible civil unrest.

There is an increased risk of demonstrations and protests in Côte d'Ivoire. Violent protests and strikes over domestic political tensions occur from time to time. Protest action by current and former members of the Ivorian armed forces has been taking place across the country since the beginning of 2017. Avoid protests and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent. In the event of further protests, monitor local media, be alert and follow all instructions issued by local authorities.

Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassandra: Reconsider your need to travel to these regions, as the security situation is unstable due to inter-communal tensions and the presence of armed militias near the Liberian border.

Reconsider your need to travel to the Liberian border and exercise a high degree of caution in areas near the Ghanaian border. There have been cross border attacks by militia in areas bordering Liberia and Ghana since June 2012. Some militia attacks in border areas have killed UN peacekeepers and Ivorian military forces. Monitor local media for developments.

Crime

Armed robbery and violent crime are common, including of businesses and restaurants. Some robbers reportedly wear military uniforms.

Attacks by armed highway robbers (known as 'coupeurs de route') have occurred on the main road from Yamoussoukro to Korogho and the Abidjan to Yamoussoukro highway. There have been reports of attacks during daylight hours and at night. Plan road journeys carefully and take security precautions. When driving, ensure that doors are locked, windows are up and valuables kept out of sight.

Pedestrians have been attacked and robbed while walking across the De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges to and from the Le Plateau areas. Maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in the districts of Treichville, Adjame, Abobo and Yopougon.

Due to the high rates of HIV/AIDS, if you are a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical assistance.

Commercial and internet fraud: Commercial and internet fraud often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded. If you travel to the originating country you may in danger or be killed. In some instances, criminals sought details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity. If you’re a victim of a financial scam, seek legal advice and do not to travel to Africa for your refund.

More information: Scams

Bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operate from some African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual friendship develops, the Australian citizen may be asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. In some cases the relationship is terminated with very little chance that any funds can be recovered. In other cases, foreigners may be lured to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner and can become victims of crime including kidnapping, assault and robbery.

Money and valuables

There are many ATMs in Abidjan, although they aren't always reliable. ATMs aren't common outside of Abidjan.

Credit card fraud is common. Be sure to keep your card in sight when making purchases.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Local travel

The road system is generally good but road conditions deteriorate outside of Abidjan. Roads may become impassable during the rainy season. Unskilled drivers, poorly maintained and overloaded vehicles, and inadequate lighting make driving conditions hazardous. Avoid driving at night. According to the WHO, you're four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Côte d'Ivoire than in Australia.

More information: Road safety and driving

Armed robbers ('coupeurs de route') have conducted attacks on highways. Plan road journeys carefully and take security precautions. See Safety and security.

Piracy occurs in coastal waters off West Africa. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website. More information: Piracy

Strong coastal currents​ make swimming dangerous.

Air travel 

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Côte d'Ivoire.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to the local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Penalties for the use of illegal drugs include imprisonment.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Homosexuality isn't illegal, but public displays of affection between members of the same sex can be considered an 'offence against public decency'. Penalties include fines and imprisonment for up to two years.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Photography near sensitive installations, including military sites, government buildings such as radio and television stations, the Presidency building, the airport and the De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan is prohibited.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Côte d'Ivoire. Take care not to offend.

Information for dual nationals

Côte d'Ivoire doesn’t recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Ivorian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities aren't included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Outside Abidjan, medical facilities are very limited. Serious medical conditions would require a medical evacuation to Australia or another suitable location. Medical evacuation costs can be very expensive.

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Côte d'Ivoire is high. Exercise appropriate precaution if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Côte d'Ivoire is listed by the WHO as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. Vaccinate against yellow fever before travelling. You’ll need a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to enter Côte d'Ivoire. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Malaria and other tropical diseases are common.
Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof, including with treated mosquito nets
  • avoid insect bites, use insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including measles, Zika, cholera, hepatitis, meningitis and tuberculosis) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Natural disasters

Flooding can occur during the rainy seasons. Roads may become impassable during these periods. In southern coastal regions, the rainy season occurs from May to August and October to November. In the central and north-central region, heavy rain can occur during July to October and March to May. In the north, the rainy season is from July to November. 

Severe weather can impact your travel. Monitor local media for up-to-date information.

If you're visiting an area recently affected by severe weather:

  • confirm your plans and activities with your tour operator or travel provider
  • check the condition of infrastructure and facilities with local tour operators and hotels.

More information: Severe weather

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

  • Police Prefecture/Emergency in Abidjan: +225 20 2587 88
  • National Police: +225 20 22 16 33 or +225 20 22 16 87

To complain about tourism services contact your service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Côte d'Ivoire. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy in Abidjan provides consular assistance to Australians in Côte d'Ivoire. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The address is:

Canadian Embassy, Abidjan

Immeuble Trade Centre
23 Avenue Nogues
Le Plateau
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Phone: +225 20 300 700
Fax: +225 20 300 720
Email: abdjn@international.gc.ca
Website: canadainternational.gc.ca/cotedivoire

You can contact the Australian Government at the Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana for consular assistance. See contact details below:

Australian High Commission, Ghana

2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Cantonments
Accra, Ghana
Phone: +233 302 216400
Fax: +233 302 216410
Email: AccraHC.Enquiries@dfat.gov.au
Website: ghana.highcommission.gov.au
Facebook: Australian High Commission, Ghana
Twitter: @AusAmbGHA

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above missions, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources