Major Tourist Attractions: Koutammakou, Lake Togo, Lome Grand Market, Togo National Museum, Fazao Mafakassa National Park
Togo is one of the smaller West-African nations, a minnow also considering the rest of the continent and a country that generally speaking isn’t receiving many visitors. Those who make it here do find a charming and easy-going country squeezed in between Ghana to the West and Benin to the East, right on the Bight of Benin. This is a very narrow country, all-in-all with some 50 miles across and some 400 miles from north to south.
The most exciting part of the country is the region hardest to get to: the northern savannah. The further away you come from the coastal area around the capital Lomé, the slower your journey will get. Once you cross the green, hilly part of the central plateau the great open savannah of the north opens up. The Kéran National Park in the very remote north isn’t often visited, but this is actually the home for the largest wild elephant population in West-Africa, but also zebras, buffalos and more.
The most visited region of the north is otherwise the Tamberma Valley, the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the country. Just north of the town of Kara, this area is famous for the “tower houses” made of mud and straw, resembling fortresses. These fairytale-looking ‘batammariba’ of the Takienta people (also called Tatas) are nowadays also the national Togolese symbol. Besides the uniqueness of the construction, the locals are friendly too and their merchandise for sale is exotic and attractive. The biggest town of the north is Sokodé, a city with a large Muslim population and a strong North-African feel.
An up-and-coming region of the country is the coffee-growing zone on the border to Ghana, Kpalimé, just a couple of hours north of Lomé. Up here in the mountains the climate is a bit cooler, offering pleasant hikes and great vistas. There are also some nice waterfalls nearby.
Along the coast in Lomé and around life is chilled and the most eye-popping attraction is the voodoo market, where you can find fetishes, gongons, and gris-gris; maybe not fully authentic anymore, but it’s still an important part of the country’s history. If you are looking for beaches, it’s advisable to leave the city behind, and head instead to the small beach towns of Aneho, Baguda and Avepozo, which offer some pristine and pretty much untouched beaches; these are pretty clean, unlike the ones you find in Lomé. Along the coast are also some important remnants of old colonial towns, where Agbodrafo was an important station along the old Slave Coast, a town with a cruel past, today largely erased. The small town of Togoville on the Lake Togo is just a short distance away and it’s famous for the voodoo shrines.
In Lomé the Palais du Congrès complex houses the Togo National Museum, well worth a visit for a good overview of the arts and traditions of the country. The French- and even German-inspired West-African food can be enjoyed at one of the better restaurants or at one of the beach bars along the wide sandy beaches of the city. In Togo generally-speaking there’s always a good time to chill.
- Get absorbed in the voodoo-practices and merchandise at Lomé’s Fetish Market.
- Enjoy the madness and diversity of the Grande Marché in Lomé, where everything and anything is available.
- Visit the National Museum in Lomé to learn about the history, art and culture of the country.
- Enjoy the beach bars of Lomé over a drink or two.
- Leave the city’s beaches behind (they are dirty) and head instead to Aného, Baguda and Avepozo, just a short distance away from the capital.
- Enjoy Kpalimé, the center of the coffee growing region, with its beautiful surroundings, waterfalls and pleasant climate.
- Visit Aného on the easternmost end of Togo’s coast, the spiritual center of the Guin-Mina people.
- Go on safari in the Kéran National Park in the north.
- Visit the voodoo shrines in Togoville on the shore of the Togo Lake.
- Enjoy the music, the drumming, and the friendly people – wherever you are in the country.
Address: Boulevard Eyadema, Lomé
Phone: 228 2261-5470 or 2261-5471 or
2261-5472 or 2261-5473.