Togo - Easy travel here

Many people sell food on the beach

With the bus I came from Benin across the border to Togo. Never ever did I hear much about Togo or what it is famous for down there, or exactly where it is at all. But its also such a small country in the middle of Africa at the coast, which I've always overseen very easily when looking at the map.

During my plannings it was always unclear for me to predict how the conditions down there might be, if they are maybe similar as in Ghana (thus rather simple and made for easy travel) or rather like Nigeria (overloaded and complicated).


How easy is Togo for traveling?

Easy. Already at the border control in Togo, it turned out that Togo is a very relaxed country and was used to tourists. The visa is so uncomplicated and cheap to obtain. Even if it was only valid for 7 days. 7 days doesn't seem to be much compared to other visas, but 7 days is a small eternity in Togo.

However, there was actually quite a lot to see and it was very easy to get around in Lomé, the capital. Also, it was clean, cheap and there were enough hotels on the beach or in the city and the beach is beautiful and peaceful. With the cheap flights from Europe, Togo might soon be something like a new well-traveled destination, although it might be more of a transit destination towards Ghana and Benin.





Day 1 - The border from Benin to Togo

Since the ABC bus departs daily from Nigeria and depending on how much delay there is at the border to Benin, the departure in Benin towards Togo is a bit unpredictable. These days the border between Nigeria and Benin was closed and was so I was entering the bus in Benin this afternoon.

From Benin, there are two ABC buses, a big comfortable one with a toilet and a small minivan. The minivan is much faster but not so comfortable, but the prices are the same, i.e. 10'000 CFA or 15 Euro.

The border from Benin to Togo is well arranged and civilized. The driver of ABC drives the route every day and knows what to watch out for so that there is no problem. However, to counteract problems, he gives strange advises as some of the passengers have never filled out such an immigration card before. He said to the passengers:

Trust me people! Do NOT write you have something to declare (even if you have) and do NOT write youre a Student (even if you are) on your immigration card. Simply write you visit relatives - works much better. Students are often declined entry.


The Togo-Visa

Many stamps in the Togo tourist visaWas easy. With the assumption that I will receive only a small stamp, and since in my passport are a lot of empty pages that are inefficiently stamped, I asked the policeman if he could put the stamp on an already started page to save space.

The policeman understood but denied and started to tinker on an empty page:

Wait, my friend, you will see, in this country you still get something for your paid visa fee. Not only small stamp.

I paid the 20 Euro and the policeman glued the visa together. This thing consists of six different stamps, writing in two different colored pens, and a small postage-stamp. In the end, the whole page was completely filled and resembles now a small masterpiece.




Finally arriving in Lomé

The ABC minivan unloaded me in Lomé and drove on to Ghana. Lomé is very manageable and compact and easy to understand. All big supermarkets are among the few main roads and so the hotels are all very central.

The climate is nice for African standards because as soon the sun goes down, the cool breeze streaming through the streets. In the center of Lomé are the expensive restaurants, but a bit only a few meters further all the restaurants show up in which the locals go eating. The best restaurant was the AKIF restaurant.

The first view in the street and center of Lomé.

Mosque in Lome
Big nice building beside Hotel YabissoOutside of the hotel in LomeThe city center is nice in LomeSitting under the tree and waitLeading to the cathedral in LoméAbove the roof from Hotel Yabisso




Day 2 - Sightseeing Lomé in one day

I stayed in a hotel called "Hotel Yabisso" and it was very pleasant and very central. I had time today and will have so tomorrow to visit and look around Lomé. It was very easy to get around, the streets were aligned in grid forms and when the street seemed too long its a matter of seconds to stop out one of the constant flow of cheap moto-taxis. Evey local has a motorbike and every local is the same time a chauffeur for a few coins.

Map of Lomé:
Togo Tourist Things to See Map



The most important monument "Monument de l'independance"

The monument is surrounded by a circuit and seems always to be closed. Sightseeing had to be done across the road as the fence doesn't allow getting any nearer. Unfortunately no cafes or restaurants nearby to enjoy the view on the building. However, this place has made history, some of the Togo revolts have brewed up here.

The most important monument in Lome is the Monument de l'independence
No one can access but its nice to see from the Avenue 2 FevrierInside the independence monumentView onto the Independence Monument in Togo



Passing by the museum "Musee National“

Today was Sunday  I didn't think about that but should have known that normally museums do not have open on Sundays, anywhere in the world. So the only view I got on this way from outside and the surrounding scenery in the streets.

Big museum is closed on sunday
Selling African souvenirsAvenue de DuisbergBoulevard de Mono



Head towards the beach with the boulevard "Boulevard Du Mono"

But it's only really busy on weekends. Why? You can't go swimming here. Sounds funny, but that's how it is. The rolling waves create such strong undercurrents that even experienced swimmers put their lives in danger if they venture in here. That's why the locals like to come here on their day off to feel, see and be seen the refreshing breeze.

View from Boulevard Du Mono
Palais in Lome. A big buildingBoulevard Du Mono in Lome beside the beachReal estate in Lome is not expensiveMany Africans sell food on the beach in Lome.Relatives sitting at the beach and having a funeralLomé has a long beach with many palms



See the scenery around the „Lomé Beach“

The beach in the Togolese capital Lomé has what it takes to become a playground. You have to walk almost 100 meters through the golden sand before you reach the water.

But I didn't see typical beach life here but even when not swimming here, the area has many restaurants. Nevertheless, one should not do without a visit to the beach once one is in Lomé.

Lomé Restaurants at the beach with blue chairs
Togos beaches are not that busy when comparing them to GhanaWood boats in Lomé are at the beachLaying wet towels on the beach to dryWalks along the sandy shoreRelaxing from the workNot many people swim in Togo, but there are some locals which have time



All is very close nearby on the beach, including the "Landing Bridge"

At the height of the hotel Palm Beach, there are the remains of two landing bridges. The one that is still in better condition is from the French colonial time, the one that is only preserved in rudiments is from the time of the German colony.

Musicians walking in Lome Beach
Lomes Colonial attraction gets rebuildTogo Family sits at the beach at a palmTalking at the landing bridge



In the city center is the big Lome market „Grand Marché“

As it was Sunday today, the market was more or less shut down. But there were still some people selling their things. In the middle of the market area was the Cathedral Sacre-Coeur but I didn't spend much time here.

I only passed by as it wasn't that spectacular, especially when there was no market action going on on Sunday.

Is located in the city center of Lomé
Sven in TogoBusy area but not on sunday. On sundays everybody has free in TogoWalking in the empty street and marketTrying to make a deal on sndayIs the most central Hotel in Lomé as it is visible from all over the BeachPainting the wallks in the city center





Day 3 – A long walk through the north of Lomé

Had another long day in Togo and sitting now, late in the evening, I'm sitting in the airport and wait for my flight back home.

During the walks today I saw how manageable the capital really is in the northern direction. It is even possible to walk from the center to the airport quite fast. Many visitors to Africa go hiking in the mountains or the deserts, but hiking in African cities is sometimes even more exciting as there is action around every corner. One of my favorite travel activities is indeed hiking through African cities.



Stroll to the „Colombe De La Paix"

This thing was basically said only another roundabout. I didn't expect much else and the more interesting part was walking along the way to this roundabout and the scenery around it.

Reachable after a 30 minutes walk from Lomé
Sitting and chatting in the streetsThe river flows through LoméThe further I walk outside of Lomé the poorer it getsWalking on the streetsShe waits to cross the street in colombe de la paixPollution is high in Togo



Stroll in the area  "Akodessewa"

In this quarter lies the voodoo fetish market. Since I've seen enough Voodoo in Benin, this wasn't my priority to visit here, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to miss it.

This Voodoo market is the "most famous" in the world. The only flaw is that this market was made mainly for tourists. Dozens of tourists come there every day and have to pay a relatively heavy entrance fee as well as an obligatory guide, like at a museum or an amusement park.

There are no locals to be seen except the sellers. I did some research last night and found out that the market can only be maintained by tourists. There are no locals going there to shop because everything is overpriced and has been lying around for a long time.


The voodoo market is a tourist trap

Certain artifacts in it have nothing to do with Voodoo and are only exhibited because tourists think it has something to do with Voodoo because you know it from movies. For example the Voodoo dolls.

The cruelest thing about the market is the artificial killing of animals for zero use. Since practically none of the cadavers are bought by tourists, because only tourists go there to visit and don't buy such things, the stuff will be lying around and rotting.

It needs replenishment and this is explicitly bred to be able to present dead animals to tourists in the future.

The whole fetish market is a pure destruction plant of animals without any specific necessary use. For this reason, I did not want to put a foot here, since the entrance fee would have supported the whole thing.

Walk towards the Fetish Market with voodoo artifacts
Akodessewa has a VoodoomarketStreets are broken in AkodessewaAkodessewa has a shoe marketAvenue de Augostino de SouzaNothing specactular in AkodessewaBut is a bare tourist trap as animals are only sold for touristsDusty streets outside of Lomé city centerSome streets are filled with dirt and mudStreet signs for marketing at the Boulevard de Mono




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