Abidjan is plagued with a variety of concerns that are representative of the general troubles that Cote d’Ivoire is facing. The military checks are first and foremost. While they are typically harmless to foreigners, they may make it difficult to navigate about the city in a timely manner, particularly if one is in private care. Bribes are prevalent, but not universal. Keeping modest money on hand is usually a smart idea. Otherwise, just agreeing with the officer who is harassing you is the best option. If you’re courteous, they’ll typically let you go, unless you’re French, in which case you’ll be hassled a lot more since the Ivorians despise French participation in their nation.
In addition, if you’re in a private vehicle, you’ll find that most individuals go past red lights late at night. While unlawful, carjackings have occurred when individuals are stopped, so follow this caution as you see fit.
Another thing to bear in mind is that Cote d’Ivoire physically closes down at midnight and does not reopen until 05:00. As a result of a curfew enforced during the last civil war, they have barricaded all of the towns’ principal means of admission and escape. If you are on the wrong side of the barrier when it is closed (for example, staying in Bassam but partying in Abidjan), you will not be let through until 05:00.
Pickpockets are a concern in crowded settings, just as they are everywhere else. When going through crowded bus stops or marketplaces, keep watch of your personal belongings and make sure your bags are securely fastened.
While the most vibrant areas, Koumassi, Treichville, and Yopougon are definitely best avoided unless accompanied by a native. Yopougon is certainly the safest, with the best selection of street food, however there may be young, inebriated males searching for trouble in these neighborhoods. However, if you don’t create the disturbance and attempt to diffuse the situation, you should have no problems since the residents of Abidjan are accustomed to an international throng in their city.
Women should not go out at night alone. You won’t have any issues throughout the day. Ivorian culture is undoubtedly patriarchal, but the men are courteous of foreign women, maybe a little too respectful at times, paying you a lot more attention than you’d want. If you experience unwelcome approaches, just tell them you’re not interested, like the local females do. They’ll either realize what they’re doing or move on to new ladies to “charm.”