Once a shining example of what was economically possible, Côte d'Ivoire was split in half by a rebellion, at which point the economy collapsed; the French expat community left and the country has since struggled.
Nonetheless, the country retains some superb scenery and sights worth travelling to on a tailor-made trip. Yamoussoukro is the lively administrative and political capital where the country's wastefulness is most apparent; eight-lane motorways lie empty and the lavish Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix, a replica of St Peter's in Rome that's only slightly smaller than the original dominates the centre.
Abidjan, known as the Paris of ‘West Africa' abounds in French charm; its traditional heart, Treichville, is known for its bars, restaurants and nightlife. Grand Bassam is also awash with colonial charm and has long stretches of beach lined with hotels and seafood restaurants.
In the west, look out for Man, an attractive town set in a region of thickly forested mountains and plateaux. Visitors come, drawn by the annual Fete des Masques, the impressive La Cascade waterfall and nearby Mount Tonkoui, which is particularly popular with climbers.
West Africa's largest game park, Parc National de la Comoe, is popular with wildlife enthusiasts who come to see lions, elephants, green monkeys and other mammals, whilst Parc National de Taï is ideal for spotting chimpanzees in their natural habitat.