Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plug types in
use are round pin attachment plugs or round pin plugs and
receptacles with male grounding pin.
The official language of Ivory Coast is French but more
than 60 native dialects are spoken.
A service charge is usually added to hotel and restaurant bills
in Ivory Coast. Where it is not, a tip of 10-15% is acceptable.
Taxi drivers usually expect 10%.
Since the highly-contested elections earlier in 2011, the
political situation in Ivory Coast is volatile and demonstrations
can occur unexpectedly between supporters of the rival presidential
candidates. Take care in public places and avoid crowds. Most
governments advise against unnecessary travel to the Ivory Coast at
present due to the potential for unpredictable unrest. If, despite
this advice visitors decide to travel to the Ivory Coast, careful
personal security arrangements should be made due to high levels of
anti-western sentiment. Violent crime is on the increase, including
armed break-ins, car jackings, muggings and hold-ups in
restaurants. Evening rush hour on Abidjan's Charles de Gaulle
Bridge is particularly dangerous. Visitors should be meticulous in
respecting the numerous army and police roadblocks. Police and
security forces can be excitable and undisciplined. Particular care
should be taken in the north and west of the country, where there
have been frequent clashes. All travel to the 18 Montagnes and
Moyen Cavally regions should be avoided. In the area between
Duékoué and Odienne, armed elements are often under the influence
of drink or drugs, which makes them particularly unpredictable. Be
aware of con-men and touts when arriving at Abidjan airport. The
bridges crossing the lagoon in Abidjan should be avoided by those
on foot. Taxis, except for metered orange taxis in Abidjan, are
risky and often unroadworthy. Buses are overcrowded and best
avoided. Sea bathing is dangerous as strong sea currents are
present, and drownings are common.
Photographing military or government installations is forbidden
in Ivory Coast. Homosexuality is illegal. Dress is conservative for
men and women. Shorts, tight clothing and strapless tops are
frowned upon anywhere except on the beach.
Business in the Ivory Coast is fairly formal with punctuality a
must, though more casual cotton suits are acceptable attire.
Business is often conducted in French, but translators are readily
available. Greeting and acknowledging each person present with a
handshake is important. Business hours are usually from 7.30am to
12pm, and 2.30pm to 6pm on weekdays, and from 8am to 12pm on
The country code for Ivory Coast is +225. The outgoing code is
00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South
Africa). City/area codes are not required and all numbers have
eight digits. GSM 900 networks provide mobile cellular coverage
around the main towns and cities, and there are roaming agreements
with most international networks. International Direct Dialling is
available. There are Internet cafes in Abidjan.
Travellers to the Ivory Coast do not need to pay customs duty on
200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 250g of tobacco;
one bottle of wine and one of spirits; 500ml eau de toilette and
250ml of perfume. A video camera may be imported (for personal use
only) and must be declared on arrival; a deposit must be paid which
will be refunded on departure. Currency should be declared.