Sights in Yamoussoukro
Yamoussoukro was home to the late president and is now a monument to his excesses. From a humble town of 30,000 the population has increased ten-fold. New architecture, modern street lamps and deserted eight-lane boulevards reflect a failed vision. Yet the city is not without its charm. It boasts two of the finest universities in West Africa and superior convention facilities that make it attractive for international conferences. The Hotel President is one of Côte D’Ivoire’s finest and features a top floor restaurant with quality European cuisine. A nearby golf course rivals the one in Abidjan. The former Presidential Palace is used by relatives and is off limits to visitors. But you can approach the estate on a small bridge across an artificial lake that is teeming with dozens of crocodiles. These are fed in late afternoon, providing a guaranteed close-up view of this feared reptile. If animals are your passion, only an hour’s drive from town is the d’Abokouamekro Game Reserve. The park is home to hippos, birds, including waterfowl and other indigenous wildlife. The featured attraction, however, is the herbivore population. An ingenious programme was undertaken to breed animals that have long disappeared. Who would guess that you can see White rhinos and giraffes in West Africa? Early results suggest the project is a resounding success. A small but dedicated platoon of wildlife officers ensure poaching does not become a problem.
February 25, 2005