Togo is a small country with an area of 56,785 square kilometers, and its shape is highly elongated from north to south. It is located in West Africa, between the Sahara Desert and the Gulf of Guinea. Togo borders Ghana to the west, Benin to the east, Burkina Faso to the north, and the Atlantic to the south. The country is a former colony of France and gained its independence in 1960.
Nature. Despite its small territory, Togo is known for its diverse nature. Because of its more humid climate, the South of the country is covered with dense subequatorial rainforests. The North has a generally dry climate, and the lush rainforest gradually turns into a vast and grassy savanna.
Togo has a varied topography. The eponymous Togo Mountain crosses the country in a southwest-northeast direction, from Ghana to Benin. The highest peak is located in the southwestern part of Togo. It is called Mount Agou (or Mount Baumann) and is 986 meters high.
Like most the other countries in Africa, Togo has a very rich fauna. The country is known for its large populations of zebras and elephants. The number of hippos and crocodiles is impressive, and there is a huge variety of antelope.
Togo is home to most of the big species of African cats, the most famous of which are lions, leopards and cheetahs. There are also jackals, hyenas and many other large mammals.
Coastline. The coastline of Togo has a length of about 56 km and is mostly occupied by beautiful and extensive beaches of fine golden-orange sand.
The coastline is generally devoid of peninsulas and bays, and in some areas is dotted with coconut palm trees, which add an exotic tropical feeling. Lome, the capital of the country, is located here, on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.
Climate. Togo has a hot subequatorial climate with two main seasons – dry and rainy. The climate is drier to the north, approaching the Sahara desert, and wetter to the south, towards the ocean coast.
However, the amount of precipitation that falls every year over Togo is in moderate quantities compared to other subequatorial countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The average daily temperature is consistently high, ranging between 28°C during the rainy season and 33°C during the dry winter season. The average nighttime temperature is warm and pleasant throughout the year and varies around 23°C.
Population. In 2013, the population of Togo is approximately 7,154,237 people. The largest city is the capital Lomé, whose agglomeration is home to more than 1.5 million people. The country’s population is ethnically diverse. Ewe and Kabiyè are the two largest ethnic groups in the country.
The official language is French, and Ewe and Kabiyè (called also Kabre) are recognized as official languages in 1975.
Today they are spoken together with the French. Most widespread religions in the country are Catholicism (about 45%), local traditional beliefs (about 41%) and Islam (approximately 14%).
Economics. The population of Togo has a low standard of living, and poverty is a mass phenomenon. Four out of every five residents are engaged in agriculture.
Tropical fruits, coffee, cocoa, corn, cassava, yams and other traditional African crops are grown in the country.
Fishing is highly developed in the coastal area. Phosphate mining is also an important sector of the economy. In recent years, Togo has high hopes for the development of the service sector, especially tourism.
Cuisine. The national cuisine of Togo is very rich. A great variety of incredibly delicious local recipes was born as a result of the combination of culinary traditions from France and Africa. The traditional food is based on natural local products such as corn, cassava, yams and rice.
Fresh fish is something that often present on the table. Herbs and spices are used very carefully and in moderation, though some dishes are a bit hot. Delicious and varied sauces are an important part of every meal.
What to try while in Togo? If you want to experience the real taste of Togo, you should try fufu, which is prepared from yams or cassava. With its thick and sticky consistency, this is the national dish of the African country. It has a pleasant mild taste and is typical of the states of West Africa.
Do not miss to try couscous with peanut sauce. It is recommended to try also a glass of palm wine or even bamboo wine.
If you want to eat something sweet cooked in a traditional local style, it is recommended to choose the most popular dessert in the topical country – fried bananas with turmeric.
Sights. Start your journey in Togo from the capital Lomé. The heart of this lively and colorful metropolis is the Grand Market. The place is unique and brings the authentic spirit of this great African city.
In close proximity is the beautiful city cathedral, which in 1985 was visited by Pope John Paul II.
An important stop on the rout of every tourist should be the Togo National Museum. This is an interesting place that will bring you closer to the essence of Togo culture and history.
Take some time to visit the Independence Monument, which rises majestically in the heart of the city.
And before heading inland, the enormous beach of Lomé. However, if you want to bathe into the sea, it is better to visit some of the more quiet, peaceful, clean and safe beaches outside the city.
If you are looking for the biggest attractions of Togo, you will find most of them far beyond the country’s capital.
The most impressive place to visit in Togo and a symbol of the country is the area Koutammakou, which locals call “Land Batammariba”.
The place located in the North of Togo is known for its extremely low houses built of mud and is under the auspices of UNESCO. Once you have arrived in northern Togo, do not leave before to enjoy the wonderful wildlife in the small Sarakawa Reserve.
Among the wonders of nature is also the Aklowa waterfall, which is located deep in the tropical jungle, far from any modern civilization.
When to visit Togo? The best time to visit Togo is during the dry winter season from November to March as well as in August, which enjoys a relatively dry and pleasant weather as well.
How to get to Togo? The easiest way to get to Togo is to fly from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris or from the European capital Brussels.
Also, the international airports in most neighboring countries in West Africa handle regular flights to the international airport in Lomé.
When you are already in Togo, the movement from one point to another should be quick and easy, as the infrastructure is relatively good, and the most distant points in the country are located at little more than 500 km from each other.
Danger. Compared to many other African countries, Togo is considered a peaceful and safe tourist destination. The local residents are very warm and friendly people.
Of course, like any other big city, the capital Lomé has its dangers.
The best way to stay safe while in the city is to avoid going out late at night, to be careful with the sites you visit, and also not to wear too expensive and eye-catching clothing or jewelry.
Health risks while in Togo. Before traveling to Togo, you necessarily have to consult with your doctor, because there is an increased risk of contracting a number of diseases in the tropical African country.
Togo falls within one of the areas in the world with the highest risk of malaria. It is required to find a good repellent and not to go out without applying it on your skin.
Also, the risk of contracting meningitis, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B and other diseases is pretty high.
There is very high prevalence of HIV and AIDS.