- We advise you reconsider your need to travel to Côte d’Ivoire at this time because of the risk of terrorist attack, the unpredictable security environment and the high risk of crime.
- We assess that there is a continuing heightened risk of retaliatory attacks against Western targets in Cote d’Ivoire following the French intervention in the conflict in Mali in January 2013. Terrorist groups in the region have declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners.
- You should avoid protests and demonstrations throughout Côte d’Ivoire as they may become violent without warning, and maintain a supply of essential items.
- Pay close attention to your personal security at all times, especially at night, and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Côte d’Ivoire. The Canadian Embassy, located in Abidjan, provides consular assistance to Australians in Côte d’Ivoire (except the issue of passports). You should register your presence online with the Canadian Embassy. The Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana, can also assist Australians in Côte d’Ivoire.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Côte d’Ivoire for the most up to date information. The closest Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire to Australia is located in China: 9, Bei Xiao Jie, San Li Tun, Beijing 100600, phone: (8610) 6532 1223, facsimile: (8610) 6532 2407.
An exit permit is required for all art objects being removed from Côte d’Ivoire. The National Museum issues these permits.
A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Côte d’Ivoire.
Côte d’Ivoire is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline.
If you have visited Côte d’Ivoire in the last six days prior to your date of return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
We assess that there is a continuing heightened risk of retaliatory attacks against government and Western targets in Cote d’Ivoire following the French intervention in the conflict in Mali in January 2013. Terrorist groups in the region have declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. Such attacks could take place at any time, including at locations frequented by Westerners.
The current instability in West and North Africa has increased the threat of terrorist attack in regional countries such as Cote d’Ivoire. Terrorists are active throughout the region and pose a significant security threat. A large number of foreigners have been kidnapped in the region in recent years. Some have been killed and many others remain in captivity.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
Civil unrest/political tension
We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Côte d’Ivoire at this time because of the unpredictable security environment and risk of crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
You should avoid protests and demonstrations throughout Côte d’Ivoire as they may become violent without warning.
There were serious clashes between supporters of President Ouattara and and Gbagbo in May 2011 in which about 100 people were estimated to have been killed.
The security situation has improved significantly since President Alassane Ouattara was sworn in on 6 May 2011, and the arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo on 11 April 2011. However, violence could flare up again at short notice.
In June 2012 several alleged militia attacks resulted in numerous casualties in the western region, including seven United Nations peacekeepers and nine other people who were killed near the town of Tai close to the Liberian border.
On 19 July 2012, there were violent attacks in the western towns of Duekoue and Nahibly, including at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Nahibly.
In August 2012, there was a series of attacks in Abidjan resulting in a number of deaths. The attacks mainly targeted police and military installations. Further attacks are possible.
The security situation in the regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes and Moyen-Cavally regions in western Côte d’Ivoire, bordering Liberia, remains unstable because of inter-communal tensions and the presence of armed militias in those regions.
There have been cross border attacks in areas bordering Liberia and Ghana since June 2012. Australians in Côte d’Ivoire should avoid travelling to the Liberian border and exercise particular caution in areas near the Ghanaian border. Monitor local media for developments.
There is a high risk of violent crime throughout Côte d’Ivoire. Car and bus-jackings are common and checkpoints and roadblocks may be encountered. When driving you should ensure that doors are locked, windows are up and valuables are kept out of sight. You should avoid confrontations with police and security forces. Armed robbery is common, including of businesses and restaurants. Some robbers have been reportedly wearing military uniforms.
We advise you not to walk across the De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan as pedestrians have been attacked and robbed even during the day. The risk of being a victim of crime increases at night. Snatch-and-run robberies and pickpocketing occur, especially in crowded areas.
Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Commercial and internet fraud: Commercial and internet fraud often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered. Some victims have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity. If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to get legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of physical harm from the perpetrators. Our information on International Financial Scams provides more detail on these types of scams.
Some Australian citizens have also been defrauded or had their lives endangered by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operating from West African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual relationship develops, the victim is asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. Once the money has been received, the relationship is usually terminated and any chance of recovering the funds is highly unlikely. In some instances, foreigners who have travelled to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner have been kidnapped and held to ransom.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Cote d’Ivoire. Australian currency is generally not an acceptable means of foreign exchange in west Africa.
Access to cash through banks and ATMs is not always reliable.
Credit card fraud is common, be sure to keep your card in sight when making purchases.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
The road system is generally good but deteriorating. Roads may become impassable during the rainy season. Unskilled drivers, inadequately maintained and overloaded vehicles, and inadequate lighting make driving conditions hazardous. Driving at night should be avoided. For further advice on road safety, see our road travel page.
Strong coastal currents make swimming dangerous.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Côte d’Ivoire, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for the use of illegal drugs include imprisonment.
Homosexuality is not a crime and is generally tolerated. However, if a formal complaint is made to the police, charges may be laid on the basis of solicitation, being a public nuisance or "behaving contrary to accepted standards of behaviour".
It is prohibited to take photographs near sensitive installations, including military sites, government buildings such as the radio and television stations, the Presidency building, the airport and the De Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Côte d’Ivoire and you should take care not to offend.
Information for dual nationals
Ivorians by birth who have acquired Australian citizenship will be regarded as Ivorian by local authorities. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Ivorian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our Travelling Well brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
Outside the capital Abidjan, medical facilities are very limited. Serious medical conditions would require a medical evacuation to Australia or another suitable location. Medical evacuation costs could exceed $A100,000.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Côte d’Ivoire is high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in west African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire. We encourage you to consider having appropriate vaccinations before travelling, taking prophylaxis against malaria and to take precautions against insect bites including using an insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including measles, cholera, yellow fever, hepatitis, meningitis and tuberculosis) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. It is advisable to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Where to get help
Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Côte d’Ivoire. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the local Canadian Embassy provides consular assistance to Australians in Côte d’Ivoire. You should register your presence with the Canadian Government. This service does not include the issue of Australian passports. The address is:
Immeuble Trade Centre
23 Avenue Nogues
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Telephone: (225 20) 300 700
Facsimile: (225 20) 300 720
You can also obtain consular assistance from the nearest Australian High Commission which is in Accra, Ghana:
Australian High Commission, Ghana
2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Telephone: (+233) 302 216400
Facsimile: (+233) 302 216410
If you are travelling to Côte d’Ivoire, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we strongly recommend you register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the above missions you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Flooding can occur during the rainy seasons. Roads may become impassable during these periods. In southern coastal regions, the rainy season occurs from May to August and October to November. In the central and north-central region, heavy rain can occur during July to October and March to May. The rainy season is from July to November in the north.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.