Côte d’Ivoire

The French country of Côte d’Ivoire is situated on the West African coastline and is surrounded by Liberia, Guinea, Mali and Ghana. It also enjoys a gorgeous coastline, lapped by the chilly Atlantic Ocean. Tourists from around the world (with the exception of North Americans and those who are citizens of ECOWAS countries, which comprise 15 West African countries) need to present a passport and Visa before entering the Côte d’Ivoire.

Its positioning and relatively untouched nature means that Côte d’Ivoire offers much in the way of natural beauty. Assouinde is beach resort just east of Abidjan. Grand Bassam has also been a favourite amongst visitors seeking a quiet spot in which to relax and enjoy these African beaches.

Image of a Côte d'Ivoire Beach.
Côte d’Ivoire Beach.

Most of the beaches are safe for swimming, but, as is always the case, tourists should heed the advice and warnings of the local lifeguards. Avid fishermen will delight in the abundance of good catches in the local rivers and seas. Some tour operators organise fishing trips out at sea, and you may wish to explore this option well ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

In terms of cultural and historical appeal, there are many great sights in Côte d’Ivoire. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix in Yamoussoukro is of particular interest for its architectural value. This cathedral boasts more stained glass than what exists in the whole of France! Yamoussoukro is also home to the Palace and Plantations of the President, as well as the Mosque. Popular museums, such as the Ifon and National museums, are located in Treichville. These display stunning art (much of which is made from ivory), statues and the remnants of the first Côte d’Ivoire civilisations.

Image of the Côte d'Ivoire Forest.
Côte d’Ivoire Forest.

Côte d’Ivoire ForestCôte d’Ivoire is a land of beauty, with rain forests, beaches and national parks making up the land within its borders. Man has dense forests on mountains and plateaus, which make up the residence of many exciting animals and plant-life. Waterfalls in this region are impressive, and attract many tourists each year, as do the variety of hikes (guide required for longer trips). The national parks are ideal for independent exploration. Comoë National Park is the oldest and largest national park, boasting lions, hippopotamuses, and a variety of buck and other animals. Conveniently situated just outside Yamoussoukro is the Abokouamekro Game Reserve, which also guarantees a variety of fauna and flora.

The jungles of Côte d’Ivoire are currently under threat, but still offer some of the most beautiful and impressive of experiences. Many environmental organisations are working hard to protect and nurture these natural resources. The Tai National Park is large, and contains a wide array of animals and the vegetation in which they thrive. In fact, this jungle has 12 endemic mammal species and over 1300 species of flora. This is a fascinating glimpse into West Africa and its abundance and proliferation of life. This national park is near the border of Liberia, and has been a World Heritage Site since 1982. The Touraco Ecotel is the favourite accommodation in the area and is run in a truly eco-friendly manner, taking its environment impact very seriously.

While staying in the Tai park, visitors will enjoy filling their days with canoeing, guided walks and hikes. Camping facilities are also available, providing an authentically African experience. While in the heart of this continent, visitors will encounter apes, forest elephants, buffalo, leopards and the famous Pygmy hippos. These animals live side-by-side with an array of insects, reptiles and birds.

Côte d’Ivoire remains one of the less travelled countries in the world, and continues to surprise visitors with its variety and rich cultural and historical heritage

For more information, please view: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/cote-divoire

Effects Of Climatic And Environmental Changes On Ancient African Civilisations

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the entire planet earth looked very different to what modern man experiences today. Continents were not yet divided, and the vegetation and animals were different. Significantly, the climate was also vastly different to what it is today. Climate plays an integral role in determining the plants and animal that live in a certain areas, as well as how habitable a place is for human beings.

In fact, even the theory of the evolution of man was dependent largely on the climatic influences on our ancient ancestors. It is hypothesised that the ancient versions of man were forced to walk upright, lose body hair and develop their coordination for survival in a changing environment. New skills also needed to be learned as farming techniques and living habits had to be adapted.

Ancient Africa experienced major vacillations between mega-droughts and Ice Ages, although these fluctuations occurred over thousands and thousands of years. As humans continued to develop and evolve through these phases, they needed to make major adaptations, not only to their ways of life, but also to their personal body structure. Prior to 135 000 years ago, the whole of Africa was lush and fertile, with a tropical climate. Then, the most intense mega-drought ever to occur hit the continent in the period referred to as the early part of the Late Pleistocene epoch. This is believed to have led to the migration of most of our human ancestors into other areas that were more habitable and fertile. Lake Malawi has been used by scientists as a rain gauge to ascertain water levels in ancient times. Research has shown that, during this mega-drought, the lake’s level dropped at least 1968 feet, or 600 metres! Evolutionists claim that this severe lack of water not only pushed ancient man from the area, it also forced aquatic animals (such as fish) to develop the facilities to be able to survive on dry land, thus evolving into land animals.

As people flocked out of the continent, only a very small proportion of this specific generation remained. Humankind as we know it is widely believed to have come from these few remaining on the continent, who evolved significantly and in response to the climatic changes.

These conditions continued until about 70 000 years ago, when the climate was again characterised by wetter conditions. These led to the growth and renewal of fresh vegetation, as well as an increased water supply to the region. More people were in the area during this time of abundance, and the population grew. This increase in numbers eventually led to migrations due to space limitations and the ownership of land.

Then, about 20 000 years ago, an Ice Age overcame the entire earth. This meant that the planet underwent a long-term period of cold temperatures over most of its surface. In places like North America and Eurasia, giant ice sheets covered enormous proportions of the land, making it impossible to farm and, sometimes, even live in these areas. This final Ice Age lasted for about 9 500 years. It forced most of the populations to migrate to the highlands, where they would be relatively protected from the ice sheets. Again, these civilisations had to adapt their farming methods, and change their diet, social habits, clothing and migratory patterns. This forced an evolution to a certain extent. Body hair was necessary to keep people warm, their skin lightened due to a lack of the harsh rays of the sun that they experienced during the mega-droughts, etc…

When this Ice Age came to an end 10 500 years ago, areas like the Sahara were left fertile and healthy. This made it and the other areas like it the ideal spots in which to settle as ancient man began to descend from the highlands. Animals and plants thrived in this environment, which made it very desirable in the eyes of mankind. The abundance of food, water and sunshine again changed the habits and physical structures of our earliest forefathers.

These conditions lasted for some time, but the Sahara in particular continued to experience fluctuations between humid and dry conditions. These eventually left the entire area unable to yield crops or sustain life for any extended period of time. Today, it remains a large stretch of desert. Then, approximately 2500 years ago, the group of people who had made their home in the Sahara began to follow the direction of the Nile River, which held promise of a rich water supply. The arid conditions of the Sahara and its surrounds continue to the present day.

Africa has, since prehistoric times, proven to be a place of fascination, life and evolution. Changes in the climate were often dramatic, and these were, to a great extent, responsible for determining the ancient civilisations that inhabited this vast continent. It is no wonder that many researchers and scientists maintain that Africa is the Cradle of Mankind, and research continues to yield fascinating evidence of this theory.