The journey to Jacqueville

Not heard of Jacqueville? That wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. It’s a town about 60km west of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. While this is relatively close to the main city of the country, it happens that Jacqueville has no direct land routes. This aspect, in addition to missing signs when coming from the east makes it a tough spot to reach.

The ferry is really the biggest hurdle. It feels like you could throw a rock across the 450m of water that separates the island that Jacqueville sits on. To add insult to the injury, the ferry travels at 1/2km an hour, thus making the trip across this scant stretch of water take 20-30 minutes.

It would seem readily apparent that given there are two ferries and that this isn’t a massive destination, your wait time would be minimal. Au contraire mon ami, as the ferries take a lunch break that starts at 12:00 and goes until 14:00. If you hit it at the wrong point (as we did), you are stuck waiting there, staring at the other side of this miserable stretch of water for hours on end with a fat ticket guy shrugging and giving you a lame “c’est comme ça ici” (TIA) excuse as to why the lunch breaks can’t be staggered.

Once you load up and do get across, you then realize that it’s 25km to get to actual Jacqueville. As you make your way along this quite good and straight road, you see that yes indeed, coconuts are the main source of revenue on this island. They are freakin’ everywhere, growing in any corner of land you might catch a glimpse of.

Jacqueville proper is a small town right on the beach. It’s pleasant, but overall quite basic. The stretch of coast that is lies upon is one of the nicer stretches I’ve seen in West Africa. It arcs gently around, with mild waves crashing away. I love how in the hot part of the afternoon, it seems that most of the town takes a mattress to go lie amongst the coconut trees next to the beach. I’m assuming they resume normal operations once the sun starts to hint at going down.

Can’t say that I blame them, given that 43C or so in the peak of the day is pretty nasty to doing anything.

And that’s about it. A bit of coconuts, a bit of beach, some old French Colonial ruins, a pile of local kids thrilled to have their photo taken, maybe a beer, some sitting at the beach and you’ve seen Jacqueville. It’s an interesting trip that I recommend for anyone staying in Abidjan for some time who has access to a car. For those who only want beach, Grand Bassam, to the east of Abidjan would be a tad more practical, albeit more expensive destination.