13 Fun Facts About Côte d’Ivoire You Never Heard Before

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Besides being rich in culture and diversity, Côte d’Ivoire is one of the most economically sound countries in Western Africa. 

From building the largest church in the world to treasuring the only primary tropical forest in the world, the country is filled with one-of-a-kind tourist attractions! 

If you plan to take a trip to Africa, here are some fun facts about Côte d’Ivoire that will compel you to pay it a visit!

1. The Country Got Its Name From Elephants

In the pre-colonial era, Côte d’Ivoire had the largest population of elephants amongst the West African countries. 

Elephant trunks are also known as Ivory. This is why the French settlers decided to use it as a landmark and name the region Côte d’Ivoire. 

2. Côte d’Ivoire Is One Of The Very Few Countries With More Than One Capital City

Côte d’Ivoire has two capitals. The political capital is Yamoussoukro, whereas the economic capital is Abidjan.

There are a total of 13 countries in the world with multiple capitals. Côte d’Ivoire is one of them, alongside South Africa, Sri Lanka, Benin, Bolivia, Chile, Georgia, Malaysia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Swaziland, Yemen, and Tanzania.

3. Ivorians Take Their Mealtimes Super Seriously!

Ivorians love inviting people over for dinner, and they believe that those who are fortunate enough to have a meal should share it with others. 


In many small villages, they often host a group meal, where all the residents eat in a common area. 

Kids and elders all eat together, and once the meal is over, the children thank the elders for the treat. 

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4. The Country Is The Largest Producer Of Cocoa In The World

The cocoa industry of Cote d’Ivoire is huge, and chances are you have already tasted chocolates made of cocoa beans grown there.


Even though the Ivorian people grow the most amount of cocoa beans, instead of building their own chocolate industry, they export raw cocoa beans. It makes up around 45 percent of the cocoa produced around the world.

So, chances are, you might have tasted it at least once!

5. Original Name Of Côte d’Ivoire Was The Ivory Coast: But DON’T Use That Name!

The name Côte d’Ivoire is a French word that translates to elephant trunk or Ivory. To make it easier to pronounce, people started calling it the Ivory Coast. But that wasn’t something the people were very happy about.

Since the country’s official language is French, the government made it clear that they want everyone to ONLY use the official name and not the translated versions like Ivory Coast, Costa d’Avorio, Elfenbeinküste, etc.

6. Enjoy The Only Remnants Of The Primary Tropical Forest Of West Africa At Tai National Park

The Tai National Park has the highest concentration of endemic flora and fauna. This points towards the fact that it might be the only primary tropical forest left in the world.

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This is also the reason why UNESCO added it to its Biosphere Reserve Network in 1978 and also to the UNESCO world heritage site list in 1982!

7. The Country Is Home To One Of The World’s Largest Protected Parks: The Comoé National Park

The Comoé National Park is unique. As the river Comoe passes through it, the region grows shrubs and savannah patches that can only be found on the furthest south of the continent.

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Comoe savannah

This is why the entire region is protected by UNESCO and declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Not only that, but it is also one of the largest protected areas in West Africa.

8. The Country Boasts The Largest Church In The World: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace

Not only does Côte d’Ivoire have the largest protected park, but it also has the largest church in the world, The Basilica of Our Lady Of Peace.

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It is a Catholic church that broke the record of Saint Peter’s Basilica of Vatican city. The church is so huge that it can fit around 18,000 worshippers at the same time

9. In Côte d’Ivoire, You Can Spot The Rare Pygmy Hippopotamus In Its Natural Habitat

Pygmy hippos are these smaller and way cuter versions of full-size hippopotami. These hippos are quite rare and considered endangered species.

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They are native to the forest of Liberia, but a good number of them can be spotted in the forest of Côte d’Ivoire.

10. Côte d’Ivoire Is Home To The Endangered West African Chimpanzees

Hippos are not the only rare animal that can be seen in Côte d’Ivoire; there are Chimpanzees too.

The country’s lush rainforest is home to West African Chimpanzees. This group of chimpanzees is super rare due to loss of habitat and other survival issues.

11. Revisit The French Colony With The Historic Towns Of Grand-Bassam

Grand Bassam is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, especially because of its rich cultural heritage, lavish resorts along the coasts, and finger-licking food.

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Grand Bassam Ivory Coast

But that’s not it! In the past, the city was an important port for the French, so the city has loads of French colonial architecture. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site, which adds to its popularity.

12. The Country Has A Rich And Diverse Cultural Blend

The country is home to more than 60 indigenous ethnic groups, and each of them follows its own unique traditions. Not just that, but they have very distinct music, art, festivals, and languages, making Côte d’Ivoire remarkably diverse.

One of the largest cultural groups is the Akans, making up around 15-20 percent of the total population.

13. Côte d’Ivoire Treasures The Special Mount Nimba, Which Is One Of Its Kind

Mount Nimba is shared by Liberia, Guinea, and Cote D and has great geophysical as well as biological value.

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The mountain is home to some of the most diverse species, both plants and animals, not only in West Africa but also in the entire African continent.


Since discovering how much fun and learning are to be had traveling, Alex has made it a point to tour his home country and continent while still in his heydays. His ultimate desire is to travel farther afield to see the wonders of Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. When he isn’t traveling, he takes his time to write about various places to share his experiences with other global citizens.

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