Togo travel guide

TOGO TRAVEL GUIDE


2 MINUTE SUMMARY

Often described as being sandwiched between Ghana and Benin, it is worth remembering that it is the sandwich filling that is usually the most flavoursome bit. And Togo, a country the same size as Croatia, with its vibrant culture, ethnic mix and biodiverse landscapes certainly makes the most delicious filling. One that could easily be consumed alone without the bits on the side but which, for now, still only tends to be served up as part of a West Africa package. Albeit a very pretty and plucky package. First add the warm Togolese welcome, then the 56kms of Atlantic coast, followed by extraordinary remote indigenous villages, voodoo traditions and national parks which are habitat for elephants and more, and will be definitely be ready to tuck into Togo.
Togo is...

a cultural adventure. Less destination, more revelation.

Togo isn't...

just about the south coast. Head north for mountains, ancient culture, national parks and wildlife.
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If you'd like to chat about Togo or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
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TOGO MAP & HIGHLIGHTS


MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME

Togo is divided into five regions which, from south to north are known as Maritime, Plateaux, Centrale, Kara and Savanes. Most tourism is still focused around the Maritime region, due to the fact that its capital, Lomé, has long been the major port. As well as the fact that the Gulf of Guinea is somewhat gorgeous. When you travel north, however, you get the feeling that you are climbing a series of ladders that lead from one fascinating attic after another, each stuffed with beautiful artifacts, secret corners and ancient stories. So, just keep climbing.
Kara and the Kaby Mountains Koutammakou Lake Togo Lome Notse Sokode

Kara and the Kaby Mountains

Kara is the capital of Northern Togo, built by German colonists and also in the heart of the indigenous Kabiye people’s lands. It is also gateway to the Kaby Mountains, or Massif Kabye, where traditional villages made up of ‘soukala’ or rings of beautifully crafted round huts, are still home to skilled artisans from ironworkers to weavers, potters to basket makers. Check out the market at Ketao.

Koutammakou

You won’t find it on Google Maps, because this UNESCO World Heritage Site refers to a traditional settlement that spreads through the Tamberma Valley. They were built by Batammariba or Tamberma people in 17th century to flee threats of slavery from neighbouring Benin. Now icons of Togo, their stunning mud houses known as ‘takienta’ are more like forts than mere dwellings. This is 50,000ha wide view into an important part of Togo’s living culture.

Lake Togo

More lagoon than lake it’s separated from the Atlantic by a coastal strip. The town of Togoville on its shores is traditional Togolese and taking a wooden canoe, or pirogue, across the lake is a wonderful way to travel Togo pace. Togoville also has many voodoo sculptures on display in front of houses, although there is also a shrine to the Virgin Mary who appeared in the 1970’s apparently. It’s all happening in Togoville.

Lome

A busy capital and port throughout both German and French colonial times. Since gaining independence in 1960 it just keeps growing, the coast road along the Gulf of Guinea being its main artery. The hub of tourism is actually its markets, famous for traditional voodoo and fetishes. If love of water is more your thing, the beach is always close. Although go with locals, the currents and coastal conditions have hidden dangers.

Notsé

An important town in terms of getting your head around Togo’s cultural and social history built in 1600 by the Ewe people, one of Togo’s indigenous peoples who were displaced at that time. The Ewe Chief of the time built a 14.5km wall around the town to protect his people, and you can still see remnants of it. It is the last home of the Notsé people before colonisation.

Sokodé

Main city of Togo’s Centrale region, and home to theTem or Kotokoliare people. It is also gateway to Fazao-Malfakassa National Park where elephants, monkeys and eclectic birdlife inhabit the savannah grasslands. Tourism in the park is still minimal, with Togo’s emphasis being on cultural heritage right now. But as the local population swaps poaching their elephants for protecting them, it is definitely time to start supporting this park.
Photo credits: [Top box: David Stanley] [Help desk - dove: Jeff Attaway] [map top box: David Stanley] [Kara and the Kaby Mountains: Grete Howard] [Koutammakou: David Bacon] [Lake Togo: Alexandra Pugachevsky] [Lome: Michael Pollak] [Notse: JY midey] [Sokodé: Sean Moran]
Written by Catherine Mack
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