Togo

Togo Travel Guide

Introduction

Measuring only 56 kilometres from west to east along its coast, and extending inland for only a couple hundred more, Togo is one of the smallest nations in Africa. Despite its postage stamp size, it houses a number of attractions that make it worth visiting.

With a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves one of the continent’s most unique building styles, empty beaches, national parks, and friendly folk, Togo fits well in any West Africa travel itinerary.

Currency: CFA Francs
Languages: French, Ewe, Mina, Kabye, Dagomba

What To Do

Before checking out other points of interest in Togo, spend some time checking out the National Museum of Togo. Founded in 1975, it contains a variety of artifacts and artworks that paint a vivid picture of life in this nation, past and present.

The main floor contains exhibits that details iron work, ceramics, and weaving, while the basement has sobering depictions of how the slaving era affected this part of Western Africa.

While it is a bit sparse on content compared to what one is used to back home, the enthusiasm of your guides will bridge this gap. With an admission fee of 1500 CFA, touring this museum is an activity that won’t break the bank.

Togo is a relatively young nation, as it was only granted sovereignty from France in 1960. To celebrate earning the long-deserved right to govern itself, the Monument De L’Independance was constructed not long after being liberated from colonial rule.

Situated at the end of a long public plaza, a 50-foot high concrete edifice provides an impressive backdrop to frame a well-carved sculpture at its base. While access to the monument itself is restricted, you can still stop by and snap photos from the front gate.

Of all the attractions Togo has to offer, passionate culture hounds will want to make a beeline for Koutammakou. While it is situated in the north, Togo’s tiny size means that getting to this site will take a relatively short period of time.

Recognized by UNESCO for its distinctive round mud tower houses (a style of building that many locals still stick to even in present times), the sight of these homes will provide you with the photo op which many think about when they imagine the stereotypical African village. With stunning mountains as a backdrop, this place is a must for anyone visiting Togo.

Back in Lome, those wanting to see how everyday Togolese go about their daily lives will want to spend time wandering the passageways of the Grand Marche. Though this place can be hectic at most hours, braving the crowds will be worth it, as you’ll be able to watch people do everything from shop for national football team jerseys to search for ingredients for meals they are about to cook. Be sure to stick around if there is live entertainment, as local musicians often perform here to help make ends meet.

Looking to experience some of the best natural highlights Togo has to offer? Those pressed for time will love what they find within the bounds of Fazao Malfakassa National Park. This reserve preserves a significant chunk of intact forest in Central Togo, along with one of its last wild herds of elephants.

Numbering between 50 to 100 in recent decades, conservation efforts here have played a big role in preventing this mammal’s extinction in this part of Africa, and with over 200+ species of birds and several types of antelope, there is plenty to photograph on a visit here.

What to Eat

Want to get your day off to an energetic start in the same way locals do? Order some Fufu with whatever you end up having in the morning. Made from maize flour or boiled/mashed cassava root, this thick porridge-like source of carbohydrates is eaten by rolling pieces of it into a ball and dipping it in a soup or stew that accompanies it.

Want to try sometime a bit different than Fufu? Togo will give you a chance to sample Ablo, a form of starch that bears similarities to the former dish. Made from cornmeal, rice and corn flour, yeast, salt, and sugar, it is more of a bread than a porridge, but it is often preferred to the aforementioned side.

When it comes to main courses in Togo, try to track down some Koklo Meme. Essentially grilled chicken served with chilli sauce on the side, it will supply you with the protein you’ll need to have a balanced meal in this corner of Western Africa.