Togo may be a small country, but it has many hidden sights and secrets just waiting to be discovered. Take in the picturesque natural scenery of the country, or enjoy the charming hospitality of Togo’s people. Join Odyssey Traveller as we take you on a journey through this fascinating country.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Aside from coach services, bush taxis and motorcycle taxis are available, although the quality (and indeed safety standards) of these taxis can vary wildly. Train services are unavailable in Togo.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Environment, & Weather
Togo is a small, narrow country which covers a total area of 56,785 square kilometres. Togo’s coastal areas are marked by extensive lagoons and mangroves, which eventually give way to savannah and forest. Hills characterise the central areas of the country, while the far north of the country is composed of open savannah.
Togo has a tropical climate, with a mid-year dry season, and a wet season which runs from October to April. Depending on when you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly.
World Heritage sites
Togo has 1 property listed on the World Heritage List, with a further 7 on the Tentative list. You can view the listed properties here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/tg). Togo’s listed properties include:
Koutammakou landscape, a 50,000 hectare cultural landscape that has preserved the architectural techniques and unique cultural practices of the Batammariba people.
Festivals & Events
Although Togo is home to many different tribal groups with different beliefs, the people of Togo are united through the songs, dances and music that characterise the many festivals that dot the calendar in Togo. The Voodoo Festival, held in the village of Glidji every September, celebrates the unique animist religion of Voodoo through exuberant dance performances, colourful costumes and elaborate religious rituals. The Gbaga festival is another occasion that carries the traditional beliefs and practices to the present day. The Gbaga festival celebrates harvest season and honours animist deities through vibrant song and dance performances. One of the most important festivals to occur in the year is the Gaodao Festival – spanning three days in early March, the festival is dedicated to showing thanks for the harvest and celebrating the role of warriors in traditional Togolese society.
African Dominion: A New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa, by Michael A. Gomez
Letters from Togo, by Susan Blake
Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa
by Charles Piot
Themes in West Africa’s History, by Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong
Eating & Drinking
The cuisine of Togo is centred around several staple crops, namely maize, rice, millet, cassava, yam, plantains and beans. Much of Togolese food is relatively simple and rustic, with akume (savoury porridge made from maize flour) and fufu (mashed yams served with sauces) amongst the widely consumed dishes in the country. Fish and seafood are popular along the coast, while sauces are often used in Togolese cooking to provide flavour and picquancy to many dishes, including riz sauce d’arachide (rice with peanut sauce) and yassa (chicken served with a spicy, tangy sauce) The former presence of both the French and the Germans left their mark on Togolese culinary practices, with baguette bread and German-style lager popular throughout the country.
Health & Safety
As of writing, it is advised that travellers exercise a degree of caution when travelling through Togo due to potential civil unrest linked to the country’s parliamentary elections. Bear in mind that outbreaks of yellow fever have occurred in Togo in recent years, so ensure that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before embarking on any travel to Togo.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. The electricity supply in Togo runs at 220V and 50Hz. Togo uses the Type C electric plug type, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
Akodessewa Fetish Market
Togo has a single time zone, Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0). Daylight savings are not observed in Togo.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is not obligatory in Togo, although tips are generally appreciated. As a general rule, leave a 10% tip for tour guides and upmarket restaurants.
Wifi should be freely accessible in most hotels, cafes and restaurants in urban areas, though connection speeds can vary, particularly in more isolated areas.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Togo. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Togo
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of francs in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.