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Togo

Relatively unknown, Togo is a perfect destination for the adventurous traveler, who loves to leave the beaten tourist tracks. Enjoy Togo’s mouthwatering dishes, the traditional festivals, the diversity of the ethnic groups or let yourself be transported by zemidjan. We are looking forward to take you on a voyage of discovery in Togo!
 
General information

Capital Lomé
Population circa 7 million
Surface 56,785 km2
Form of government republic
National slogan Travail - Liberté - Patrie (Work - Liberty - Fatherland)
National anthem Salut à toi, pays de nos aïeux (Greetings, land of our ancestors)
Neighbouring countries Burkina Faso, Ghana and Benin
Cities Lomé, Atakpamé, Sokodé, Kara, Dapaong
Time zone GMT
Religions Animism, Christianity and Islam
Languages French and several local languages, including Mina-Ewé and Kabyé
Currency Franc CFA, 1,000 FCFA is about € 1.50
Voltage 220V, two-pins plugs (as in Europe)
Travel documents passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival, visum obliged
Health yellow fever vaccination obliged
Mobile coverage almost in the entire country
Internet available in the cities

 

Good things come in small packages
With a width, varying from 50 till 150 kilometers and a length of about 700 kilometers – from the border with Burkina Faso in the North, till the ocean in the South – Togo is one of the smallest countries of the African continent. It being relatively unknown, the rich culture, the welcoming and friendly people, who love to have you participate their colourful daily life and the unrivaled cooking turn Togo into a fascinating travel destination.

Population
The inhabitants of Togo come from about 40 different ethnic groups. Each one with its own habits, rituals, celebrations, way of living and organization.
The Ewé and Guin inhabit the South of the country, and were the first to be colonized. After the country got its independance they were the first to reign it. A lot of salesmen, teachers and ministers are of Ewé and Guin heritage. The Kabyé is the largest ethnic group in central and North Togo. They have passionately resisted the colonization. As a result they have long been put
behind and deprived of any form of investments.
Besides of these ethnic groups there are a lot of smaller ones, such as the Kotokolis (or Tem) in the Sokodé region and the Mobas, Konkombas and Tamberman in the North. They have not only preserved their own language, but their specific way of living also.

Geography
Togo is also named mini Africa for its huge variety in sceneries. The South is composed of untouched sand beaches with palm trees, fishermen villages, mangroves and rivers. Further to the North the landscapes is more green and woody with cacao and coffee plantations, mountains and waterfalls, where swimming sometimes is possible.
Agou mountain (986m), Togo’s highest peak is located near Kpalimé. Several mountain ranges cross the country, such as the Fazao range and further North the Atakora range.
Traveling further North vulcanic rocks take over with particular bulges as in the Falaise d’Aladjo, alternating with vast plains. The Tamberman and their beautiful two storey huts can be found here. The further North the drier it gets, the vast savannah landscape being dominated by baobabs, karité trees and rocks.

Climate
Togo has a tropical climate with different climate zones for the North and South of the country.
The South has a long (December-March) and a short (July-August) dry season and a long (April-June) and a short (mid September-late October) rainy season.
The Northern dry season runs from November till March and the rainy season from April till October, with the heaviest rainfall in August.
During the rainy season it rarely rains all day long. Usually it’ll be short, heavy and refreshing showers.
Average temperatures range from 22 to 31 degrees Celsius in the South and from 15 till 35 degrees Celsius in the North. At the coast most evenings come with a nice see-breaze.
November till March are often mentioned as the best travel season for Togo. Also August till October (during the Togolese school holidays) are a very good period for travel.

Togolese Cuisine
Togo’s kitchen is well-known for its variety in dishes, with sauces rich in vegetables, meat, fish and beans. Gboma dessi, prepared with sheep meat, chicken, dried fish, pieces of crab and shrimps, mixed with a spinach like vegetable and adémé dessi with several sorts of fish and vegetables, to name just two. Sauces are being eaten with fufu, akoumé, rice, gari, spaghetti or bread.
In most cities you’ll not only find the local dishes, but pasta and pizza as well.
The North is the place to taste wagasi, a special red cheese, made by Fulani women. In the entire country you can enjoy a multitude of tasty snacks and fresh fruits. And in case you’d crave an ice cream, just lookout for a cyclist with a blue smock, or just listen for the sounds of their often used horns.

Tamberman
In the North of the country, in the border area with Benin, you’ll find Koutammakou, which was listed as a UNESCO’s world heritage sites in 2004. Koutammakou is also known as Tamberman valley or the land of the Batammariba, referring to the local ethnic group. Unique for this part of Togo are the Tata mud houses, originally built in the 17th century by people who had
fled the Beninese slave traders. One of the most scenic areas of the country with impressive mountain views.  

Festivals and traditional ceremonies
Togo’s rich cultural heritage stands for a choice of local festivals and ceremonies. The Tchébé’s stilt festival, the Tamberman’s initiation ceremony, the Tsévié’s bean ceremony, Agbogbozan – the ceremony that makes Ewé from all over the world travel back to Togo – and the Bassar’s fire dancing. If we have a chance to join a local festival or ceremony during our journeys, we’ll of course grab the chance!

Flights to Togo
KLM-Air France - via Paris, Royal Air Maroc – via Casablanca, Lufthansa – via Frankfurt en Lagos, Ethiopian Airlines via Parijs and Brussels Airlines – direct from Brussels, have flights to Lomé. Ticket prices vary per airline and season.

Last but not least…
Traveling in Togo demands an adventurous, open and flexible attitude. Comfort and sanitary facilities do not always meet western standards. Running water and electricity may not always be available. Unforeseen circumstances may lead to necessary alterations of the itinerary.

Take a look at the travel calendar for an overview of our small-scale theme-based group journeys. Or ask us for a tailor-made journey to Togo.

 

 

For those fond of travelling off the beaten track, Togo will prove a rewarding destination.

 

Lonely Planet, 2009