Togo is a narrow country in West Africa, sandwiched between Ghana on the west and Benin on the east, with a small border with Burkina Faso to the north, and a 56km coastline on the Atlantic Ocean to the south.
In an 1884 treaty signed at Togoville, Germany declared a protectorate over a stretch of territory along the coast and gradually extended its control inland. This became the German colony Togoland in 1905. After the German defeat during World War I in August 1914 at the hands of British troops (coming from the Gold Coast) and the French troops (coming from Dahomey), Togoland became two League of Nations mandates, administered by the United Kingdom and France. After World War II, these mandates became UN Trust Territories. The residents of British Togoland voted to join the Gold Coast as part of the new independent nation of Ghana, and French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French Union.
Togo's size is just less than 57,000 km² (22,000 sq mi). It has a population of more than 6,600,000 people, which is dependent mainly on agriculture. The mild weather makes for good growing seasons. Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation.
Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the former leader of the country, led a successful military coup, after which he became President. Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in African history (after being president for 38 years) at the time of his death in 2005. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
In Togo, there are about 40 different ethnic groups, the most numerous of which are the Ewe in the south (46%, although along the south coastline they account for 21% of the population), Kotokoli and Tchamba in the center, and Kabyé in the north (22%). Another classification lists the Uaci or Ouatchis (14%) as a separate ethnic group from the Ewe, which brings the proportion of Ewe down to 32%. However, there are no historic or ethnic facts that justify the separation between Ewes and Ouatchis. The term Ouatchi may refer to a subgroup of Ewes which migrated south during the 16th century from Notse the ancient Ewe Kingdom capital, although this classification has been contested for being politically biased (it would designate the Ouatchis as a subgroup of the Ewe just as the Anlo in the Republic of Ghana are a subgroup of the Ewe ethnic group). Mina, Mossi, and Aja make up roughly 8% of the population, with under 1% being European expatriates who live in Togo as diplomats and for economic reasons.
The climate is generally tropical with average temperatures ranging from 27°C on the coast to about 30°C in the northernmost regions, with a dry climate and characteristics of a tropical savanna. To the south there are two seasons of rain (the first between April and July and the second between October and November).
Highly variable stretching from north to south. Gently rolling savanna in north; central hills; southern plateau; low coastal plain with extensive lagoons and marshes.
Indigenous beliefs 51%, Christianity 29%, Islam 20%
A week long visa will cost you CFA 15,000 at the border. An extension costs CFA 30,000 for a month.
Several airlines offer regular flights to Lomé. But flying directly to Togo is often more expensive than flying to Accra in neighboring Ghana. Comfortable, air-conditioned, and reasonably priced buses leave Accra for the border at Aflao. At Aflao, travellers must walk across the border into Lomé and find their own transport inside Togo.
There are bush taxis everywhere. These are basically four door cars, with four people in the back, and two sharing the front. From either Accra or Benin, you can take bush taxis for $5 to Lomé. From there, you can take them out to more rural areas. You can also offer to pay for the entire car, so that you're not cramped. For this, calculate the price of six people, and then bargain down from there.
The Trans-West African Coastal Highway crosses Togo, connecting it to Benin and Nigeria to the east, and Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire to the west. When construction in Liberia and Sierra Leone is finished, the highway will continue west to 7 other ECOWAS nations. A paved highway also connects Togo northwards to Burkina Faso and from there north-west to Mali and north-east to Niger.
A taxi-moto (motorcycle taxi) will cost CFA 150-500 to get you around. You can tell who the taxi-moto drivers are--they will honk or hiss at you as they drive by and usually wear baseball caps and sunglasses. A cab will usually cost about CFA 500 for a one-way short trip inside the city, for trips to the northern parts of the city expect to pay up to CFA 2,500. Taxis will have yellow license plates and their registration number painted on the car. Always negotiate before you get on/in, the quoted price will include tip!
Sometimes, when you are on a side street, it might be helpful if you ask a security guard to wave down a cab for you. Tipping CFA 300-600 is expected.
Train service in Togo is not currently available.
French is the national language and the lingua franca between ethnic groups. Virtually no English is spoken in the whole of the country, aside from business offices and major banks in the capital.
Ewe is far and away the most widely spoken native language, with the Ewe people populating the southern half of the country. You may also come across the related Mina language in the area around Aneho. Kabiyè is the predominant language of the north.
Togo is a charming country, but most of the charm comes from the charming people; this is a small country with a small number of small attractions. Lomé's markets, both general and voodoo, are the most popular stop in the country along the road between Ghana and Benin. The smaller towns of Togoville on Lake Togo and Aneho on the ocean are also popular stops for the former's voodoo shrines and historic sights and the latter's beaches.
Lately, the coffee growing region around Kpalimé has become popular with the errant tourist in Togo, with a good number of nice hikes, cooler weather, and pleasant views.
Perhaps the most alluring part of the country is the hardest to get to—the hilly and sparsely populated north. The best known destination is Tamberma Valley—the Koutammakou UNESCO World Heritage site, to the north of Kara. The local Batammariba people (known by colonists as the Tamberma) constructed and live in unique Takienta (a.k.a. Tata) "tower-houses" of mud and straw, which arguably have become the Togolese national symbol. It's a surreal dreamland of a place, and easily a highlight of a trip to Togo, although it is a journey to get there.
Togo's few parks/reserves are relatively rarely visited, but if you manage to make it out there on a safari, Fazao Mafakassa National Park in the center-west of the country is quite beautiful. In the far north of the country is Kéran National Park, with one of the larger elephant populations in West Africa. Aside from Kéran, the north also offers a ton of potential outdoor excursions, with nice hikes up mountains, out to waterfalls, etc. Akloa falls
Sports, especially football, are the main entertaining activity in Togo. You can watch the football (soccer) league games played in the weekends (check listings). Apart from football, there are several night clubs that can keep you awake at night, and the capital is full of them; the Chess BSBG is among the most popular. TV programs are not the best in the world, with movies and sitcoms that have been played for years. Plus, the beach offers another type of fun. Many activities and parties are organized there, with people coming from all over Lomé to enjoy the beautiful weather in the weekends. Despite those great things at the beach, you really have to choose a good spot, to avoid stepping or sitting on the unwanted.
The currency of the country is the West African CFA franc, denoted CFA (ISO currency code: XOF). It's also used by seven other West African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the Central African CFA franc (XAF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.
All Ecobank ATMs in Togo take Master card and Visa card for cash withdrawal.
A liter of gasoline will cost you around CFA 600, a liter of water around CFA 300. A baguette is around CFA 175 and half a pound of local coffee will cost CFA 1,200. A beer in the supermarket will cost your around CFA 350, at an expat restaurant this will be around CFA 1,000. A Coca-Cola will cost you CAF 200-400 in the supermarket. "Western food", mostly imported from France, can be found in supermarkets, but is more pricey than in Europe.
The most popular souvenirs from Togo tend to be something voodoo related, like a charm or mask. The obvious place to shop for these curios is Lomé's voodoo market, although you will be paying tourist trap-premium prices.
Akume is made from corn flour. The "national" dish of West-Africa is Fufu. In Togo, it consists of white yams pounded into a doughy consistency. You will find plenty of Fufu Restaurants in the cities as well as roadside stands. Akume and Fufu are usually eaten with your hands and come with different sauces (from smoked fish to spicy tomato to peanut). Plantains can also be found in various forms; grilled, cooked, mashed or fried. In the season, Mangos, Papayas, and Pineapples are for sale everywhere.
Lemonade and Bissap juice are the most popular drinks. There are many bars almost around all corners in Lomé where you will be able to have a beer.
The most popular drinks you will find in common bars are beers and sodas. Here is a list of the beers you may find based on their popularity :
Don't be surprise if most of the bars do not have what you ask. Togolese are not renown for their organisation and tight management, except one small motel called "Auberge London" in the northern suburbs of Lomé called "Agoe" where you will have all the possible drink listed above.
As a rule, stay away from public beaches, where tourists find themselves mugged any time of day or night. Most of the country has little crime, but Lomé is a clear exception, and is a good deal more dangerous than any city in Ghana or Benin. If going somewhere at night, take a car taxi, and get the numbers of a few trusted taxi drivers if you plan to stay for a while.
Driving is atrocious in Togo, with fatalistic overloaded speed demons chancing it on curves and hills, capital streets swarming with motorcycles throughout the black of night, and worrisome accident scenes along the main roads. The hilly north-south road north of Kara is particularly dangerous. If you are skeptical, take a day trip, and marvel at all the husks of buses and trucks that weren't there on the way out! Traffic is the single biggest danger to travelers in Togo.
Drink bottled water such as Volta or sachets of "Pure Water". Bissop juice is also fairly safe as it is boiled, and avoid the lemonade "citron" despite its delicious aspect. Stay away from road-side meals if possible. People relieve themselves in the streets in Lomé, so be aware of that.
Greetings are a little more elaborate in Togo. Say hello to everyone when coming and going. Handshakes are key. Also, maybe if you try to get to know them, you will fit in. Make sure you make yourself feel like you are at home. Don't make it too homey, though, because you don't want to get on their bad side.
From some time after 2011, telephone numbers throughout Togo have changed from 7 to 8 digits. The original 7 digit numbers are no longer working in May 2013. Fixed line numbers have an additional 2, so for example, a Lomé number 2## ## ## becomes 22 ## ## ##. Togo Cellulaire, old numbers of the format 9## ## ## become 90 ## ## ##, 0## ## ## and 8## ## ## both are now 91 ## ## ## (the 0 and 8 are both replaced with 91), 7## ## ## becomes 92 ## ## ##. For Moov, numbers starting with 0, 6 or 8 this first digit is replaced by 98 (example: 6## ## ## becomes 98 ## ## ##), numbers starting with 5, 6 or 9 this first digit is replaced by 99 (example: 5## ## ## becomes 99 ## ## ##).
Lomé has Internet cafes, and they are cheap. You buy time by the hour (something like a couple dollars an hour), but most of the cafes feature very slow computers and internet connection speeds. You can buy calling cards along the street. It is, however, much cheaper for people in the United States to call with their calling cards to a Togo cell phone.
A brief yet detailed report on the country of Togo with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.
City Maps Lome Togo is an easy to use small pocket book filled with all you need for your stay in the big city. Attractions, pubs, bars, restaurants, museums, convenience stores, clothing stores, shopping centers, marketplaces, police, emergency facilities and the list goes on and on. This collection of maps is up to date with the latest developments of the city. This city map is a must if you wish to enjoy the city without internet connection.
Lightweight and perfect for traveling, this soft cover notebook Togo travel journal is ideal for tucking into a full bag or suitcase. The cover is a glossy finish so that you can easily wipe it off (if it ends up covered in something delicious-tasting, or lands in a mud puddle ;) Keep your memories for longer by journalling them in your Togo travel journal. A nice affordable travel notebook designed with the traveler in mind. This would make a great gift for the traveler in your life. Bon voyage!
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Eines Tages wirft der Unternehmensberater Markus Weber seine heile Welt über den Haufen und stürzt sich Hals über Kopf in ein Abenteuer. Er setzt sich auf sein Fahrrad und fährt los – durch 26 Länder, bis nach Togo. Seine Reise führt ihn durch verlassene osteuropäische Dörfer und über zermürbende Sandpisten in Westafrika. Er fährt per Anhalter durch die Sahara, radelt durch den unerschlossenen guineischen Regenwald und schmuggelt sich in Liberia über geschlossene Grenzübergänge. Alles, um zwei Fragen zu beantworten: Wer bin ich? Und: Gibt es eigentlich Coffee to go in Togo?Ein wahnwitziges Reiseabenteuer zwischen Aufbruchlaune, Selbstfindung und ungewöhnlichen Begegnungen auf 14.037 Radkilometern.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
The rise in crime is a serious concern in urban areas, including in Lomé. Several attacks, armed assaults, including machete attacks and violent robberies have been reported in the past months. Exercise extreme vigilance and caution as a new scheme of armed carjackings and residential burglaries targeting foreigners is on the increase.
Crimes of opportunity such as petty thefts and muggings are prevalent. Thieves are active in Lomé, particularly along beaches and in market areas. You should not show signs of affluence and avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
There have been incidents of illegal roadblocks set up by armed bandits who stop and rob vehicles. Attacks have been reported near the Burkina Faso border and have occurred mostly after dark.
Political demonstrations occur frequently, especially in Lomé, and can turn violent with little warning. Exercise a high degree of caution, avoid demonstrations and large gatherings and monitor local media.
Urban roads are usually paved, but small motorcycles, poorly maintained and erratically driven vehicles, pedestrians and roaming animals pose risks. Road signs are often poorly visible or completely missing. Heavy seasonal rains and flooding could affect local road conditions.
Overland travel after dark should be avoided. In Lomé, beware of individuals who appear to need assistance, as bandits frequently use this tactic to lure drivers out of their vehicles. You should keep vehicle doors locked and windows shut at all times. In case of a road accident, you should call the police and do not try to leave the scene as it will draw a crowd that can turn hostile. In remote areas, travel in a convoy of at least two vehicles. Since emergency vehicle services are non-existent, in the event of an accident, you should proceed to the nearest police station or hospital. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for travel off the main roads.
Identification papers and vehicle documentation should be readily available for frequent police checkpoints.
Exercise caution when using public transportation. Taxis are available, but some are poorly maintained. You should not share taxis with strangers. Motorcycles and mopeds also operate as taxis and are common, especially in Lomé.
Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Tourist facilities are limited and may be affected by chronic power shortages.
You should carry certified copies of identification and travel documents at all times and keep originals in a safe place, for example, in a hotel safe. It is also advisable to carry a cellular phone.
Ocean currents are very strong along the coast. Many drownings occur each year.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
There have been cases of cholera reported in this country in the last year. Cholera is a bacterial disease that typically causes diarrhea. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are generally at low risk. Humanitarian workers and those visiting areas with limited access to safe food and water are at higher risk. Practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at high risk should get vaccinated.
Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.
Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.
The penalties imposed for the possession, use, manufacture or sale of illegal drugs or pornography can be severe. Convicted offenders could face sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
Photography of, or near, government or military buildings and of government or military personnel is strictly prohibited. Government buildings may not always be clearly identifiable. If in doubt, you should refrain from taking a picture.
An International Driving Permit is required.
The currency is the African Financial Community franc (or XOF bank code). Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are not widely accepted outside major hotels. Canadian debit cards may not work at major banks and cash machines.
The rainy season extends from April to November. Heavy rains and flooding may cause significant damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Some transportation routes may become impassable. You are advised to follow regional weather forecasts, avoid any unnecessary travel through affected regions and follow the advice of local authorities.
During the dry season, and especially in the winter months from December to February, dry harmattan winds can reduce visibility in the north.