Finding the right stuff to take home (at the right price) is never easy and, the more you travel, the harder it gets to find something original. So, one of the things I like about Abidjan is the wide variety of souvenirs available to fit any budget (large or small).
The best souvenir shopping in Abidjan is to be found at CAVA in the suburb of Bietry –conveniently located between the city center in Plateau and the airport in Port Bouet– where local artisans are gathered at the Centre Artisanale de la ville d’Abidjan. This leafy market, which is designed to resemble an African village, is clean and tidy. Its lanes overflow with a panoply of souvenirs and gift items of all sorts –textiles, wood, leather goods and more. Even long-term residents of Abidjan visit CAVA semi-regularly because of the relative comfort and convenience of the market. If you are shopping with kids –who are bound to get grumpy and hot– an added bonus is the small café where one can purchase a soda or a beer and a snack.
As with all markets in Africa, you will need your bargaining skills to get the best deals. Haggling over prices is expected. My personal strategy is to fix a price in my head and stick with it. If I can’t get the item for the price I have set in my mind, I decide it is not for me and move on.
The best advice is I can offer you is to go with the flow. Don’t allow bargaining to become stressful. It is all part of the experience.
Recommendations: Some of the best local items are wood carvings, batiks and locally woven tablecloths (many of which come from the Korhogo area in northern Côte d’Ivoire).
Address: Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a good street address for CAVA, as Abidjan does not have the fixed address system we are accustomed to overseas. However, the drivers all know where it is located and it is near Patisserie Abidjanaise and Nestlé– which are two local landmarks.