Togo travel guide
A great introduction to Africa, ever smiling Togo is a melting pot of more than 40 tribes that together have managed to create a relaxed yet offhand charm in a country so small you can drive across it in under an hour.
Even its biggest city, the capital, Lomé, feels more like a town and is small enough to comfortably traverse on foot. Experience Togolese joie de vivre at the Grand Marche, which occupies an entire city block and sells everything from artisan products to fresh fruit. Better yet head to the Fetish Market, where fetish priests will fix you up with your own protective charm.
Voodoo and other animist beliefs are not just for tourists, with half the population following such practices. Togoville, on the banks of Lac Togo, is the historic home of voodoo in the country, and is a great place to learn more about religious customs and the meaning of shrines. Meanwhile, the lake itself is becoming something of a weekend retreat for the burgeoning middle-class and its desire for fine food and exciting nightlife.
Few leave the palm-fringed Atlantic beaches of Lomé and Aneho, but those who do head off the beaten track and into the hills or savannah will be richly rewarded. The hills offer superb hiking among the dense green foliage of coffee and cocoa plantations, and are where you can find the Kloto carvers, famed for creating multiple connected rings from a single piece of wood.
The savannahs of the north, by contrast, offer the chance to witness a more traditional way of life. Considered a symbol of Togo itself, Koutammakou is home to the remarkable takienta mud houses of the Batammariba people, structures that need to be seen to be believed.
Togo has a peaceful nonchalance that makes a quick conversation in Lomé’s Grand Marche as much of a highlight as any attraction, while its small size makes travel a relaxed and stress-free experience.
56,785 sq km (21,925 sq miles).
7,496,833 (UN estimate 2016).
133 per sq km.
President Faure Gnassingbé since 2005.
Prime Minister Komi Klassou since 2015.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
Last updated: 13 March 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
There have been clashes in Lomé, most recently in November 2014 when there were some injuries as police broke up a confrontation between government and opposition supporters. You should avoid all large public gatherings.
Violent crime, theft and pick-pocketing are common throughout Togo and you should be especially cautious in Lomé along the beach and in the markets. Attacks occur during daylight as well as at night. You should avoid travelling alone where possible, even within Lomé city limits, especially at night. You should be alert to the risk of car-jackings, including through staged accidents. It’s generally better not to resist armed attack.
British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating in West Africa. The scams come in many forms: romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities and can pose great financial risk to victims. You should treat with considerable caution any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa.
Exit and entry points at borders can be opened and closed at short notice. Be prepared for checks by the local police and military.
Driving standards and road conditions in Togo can be poor. Avoid travelling outside towns and cities at night as roads are poorly lit.During the rainy season minor, unpaved roads may become impassable. You should stop at all control points on request, turn on interior vehicle lights and only continue when permission has been given to do so. You may encounter official and unofficial roadblocks.
Take care when using public transport; driving standards and vehicle maintenance are poor.
There have been incidents of piracy and armed robbery against large vessels in Togolese waters and those of neighbouring countries. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
You should take care if you decide to swim in the sea as ocean currents are very strong along the coast. There have been a number of drownings each year.
The number of British visitors to Togo is low. The main type of incident for which British nationals need consular assistance in Togo is replacing lost and stolen passports. You should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times and keep your passport in a safe place.
There’s no British embassy in Togo. If you need consular assistance, you should contact the British High Commission in Accra on +233 302213200.