Allover Togo and other parts of West Africa, yams hold one of the greatest esteem of all the food products and are carefully integrated into the social, cultural, economic and religious aspects of life. A high status is given to this vegetable, and traditional ceremonies still accompany its production. Yam comes in various colours, from white (shown in the picture), through yellow to a fairly bright orange. The white variety is most widely used.
Yam can be used instead of potato, boiled or mashed, and in fact I prefer it to our humble spud.Related to:
- Road Trip
Fonio is the smallest of all millet species. Not only nutritious, it is also one of the fastest growing cereals, reaching maturity in six to eight weeks. Fonio is used to make couscous, bread, porridge and beer.Related to:
Also known as the manioc, cassava is grown for its large, starch-filled root. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop throughout Africa, and in every village you can see the ladies pounding the cassava to make fufu – the staple carbohydrate of West Africa. There are many other ways of eating cassava too, including boiled and fried, but the root cannot be eaten raw as it contains substances which convert to cyanide. Flour is made from cassava root too, known as tapioca flour. The white sticks you see here are dried cassava, a very good way of preserving it as cassava is best eaten very fresh and does not travel well.
Millet is grass-like grain grown throughout Togo for use as food for humans and animals. Millet is separated from the husks by beating it hard and repeatedly with a stick, then washed, toasted and dried. It can then be eaten more or less as it is, just boiled with water (used as an accompaniment to meat in the same way as rice may be used), flour can be made from the grain, as well as beer.
The local brew of choice is the millet beer. Millet and water is fermented over heat for a couple of days then stored for another couple of days in order to get the required strength. The longer it is left the stringer it is. We tasted two beers of different age, and could definitely differentiate between the two different strengths of the brews.
Once the beer is ready to drink, it is sieved through a fine mesh – in this case a packing sack and into a container below. This is to remove any larger particles and make it more potable for drinking. The resulting pulp left inside the sieve is spread out on the ground to dry (see picture five) and then used as fodder for the animals.Related to:
- Road Trip
Sorghum is a cultivated grass grown for grain and is well adapted to growth in hot, arid or semi-arid areas. It is used for food (couscous, flour and porridge mainly), making alcohol (in West Africa sorghum is used to make the local version of Guiness) as well as animal fodderRelated to:
- Road Trip
The papaya (or pawpaw) fruit grows straight from the trunk of the tall papaya tree. The tree originates from Mexico, but is grown all over Togo and West Africa. Although very tasty and popular in the west too, papaya is not at innocuous as it first seems. When unripe, the fruit releases a latex fluid which can cause an allergic reaction to your skin, and the fruit and leaves also contain carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid which could be dangerous in high doses. The fruit is also said to have contraceptive and abortifacient capabilities, sometimes used in traditional remedies. The seeds of the papayas are sometimes ground up and used instead of black pepper.
The baobab tree
The Baobab Tree. Also popularly known as the Upside-Down-Tree. Some places it is also known as the Monkey Bread Tree. One of the great wonders of Africa, and one of my lasting memories from this continent. It is such a versatile tree, with many uses both for nature and man. The tree is capable of storing huge amounts of water in its trunk – up to 120,000 litres in fact.
Uses for man from the baobab tree include:
Leaves can be eaten as a vegetable
Leaves are also ground to a powder
The dry pulp of the fruit is eaten either as it is or in a porridge
Seeds are used to thicken soups
Seeds are also used to produce vegetable oil
The trunk is used as fuel
The branches and trunk are used to produce fibre
Baobabs are sacred to the animists in Togo and many ethnic groups will only build their home near to or alongside a baobab tree. Sometimes they will bill a shrine at the base of the tree, as in picture 2.
It is common in many parts of West Africa, not just in Togo, for the villagers to burn away part of the undergrowth to encourage the regeneration of new life. This helps in the feeding of wild and domestic animals. We came across huge flames in places, and I did wonder if they ever got out of control. Be careful when walking through the burnt undergrowth, as the ash gets everywhere – my beige trousers were filthy!Related to:
- Road Trip
Once you reach Togoville, you will be welcomed by the tourist committe there, first go and see the Church built by germans in 1910 and visited by POPE JEAN-PAUL II. then u will definitly notice the small clay statues of Voodoo Gods everywhere. u can even visit the high priestess for consultancy.
just try to make deals about how much to pay before you go and don't pay attention to all the naked people around, just act normal and follow the instructions. a DON'T MISS experience
Relax and enjoy the view on Lac Togo
if you take the maritime road towards the Borders of Benin. you will arrive there in about 35-45 mins. a small hotel located on the lake serving food and drinks, just sit and relax or dip into the small pool. you can even have a quick visit to the nearby Togoville
Crossing the Benin border (Nadoba to Boukoumbé)
The cross border road from Nadoba to Boukoumbé (Benin) is about 10 km. long (2 hrs. walk) and passes through very scenically lush and quiet land, with several traditional houses and farms.
There’s no checkpoint at the actual border that is reputedly only marked by a Baobab tree but you need to report at the police station in Boukoumbé to fulfil formalities (the relaxed officer fortunately didn’t mind that I couldn’t show a Togolese exit stamp)
If you arrive here from Benin, you almost certainly need to get your entry stamp in the Togolese town of Kara.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Staying overnight in Nadoba
As the Beninese town of Boukoumbé was still quite far, and I was having a very enjoyable time on the market, I decided to stay for the night in Nadoba, at the local guesthouse annex bar annex (as I discovered later) disco.
Just when I made up for a very boring evening alone with no electricity, no friends, no English speakers, one after the other youngster dropped in. Not long after that followed by a whole bunch of guys who started to install a generator, light and loudspeakers right in front of my room.
By 10pm, some 5 dozen of people (mostly teenagers) had arrived and the DJ finally started the music, a mix of modern and traditional from all over West Africa! This now was really great; it was big fun!! Some hours later I fell asleep in my room, only to wake up at 5AM. The weekly Wednesday party was still going on.
I went back to sleep another hour and then went out for an early walk around the village and the trip by foot to Benin!Related to:
- Budget Travel
The Nadoba Wednesday Market
The colourful Wednesday market in Nadoba is a regional highlight and supplied me the nicest day of my stay in Togo.
Not because of its size, but because of it’s rural charm. It had a really cosy and friendly atmosphere, but is full of activity.
Farmers from all around the border region, some in traditional dresses, come here to trade, but socializing is a major motive as well. Towards the end of the day most men got involved in gambling, sitting together and drinking locally brewed beer out of huge calabashes.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Maybe the best possibility for independent travellers, who seek to be invited in a traditional homestead instead of risking a disappointment, is to take a Wednesday bush taxi to Nadoba Village, mingle with people at the local market and hope for an invitation.
If that doesn’t happen you can see some of these traditional castle homes around Nadoba as well, and although the ones I saw here where not in their best shape, they were still more natural then the “museum-like” homesteads that I saw on the Beninese side, that were newly build especially for tourism purposes.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Visiting a traditional home in the Tamberma Valley
Actually I was happy that the bushtaxi couldn’t continue across the bridge and we had to go on foot, because I befriended one of the others who got stranded, who later invited me to take a look in their “fortress”.
Which was really great since I read quite some reviews of tourists being treated less nicely when they wanted to visit a homestead like that.
The point is that most people don’t live in villages, but live individually on their lands, so if you stop by and ask if you can look around, some owners take the opportunity to negotiate a (big) fee and react hostile when you start taking pictures. Understandable from both points of view in my opinion.
Note that I read in some travel reports that in Kandé Village wanna be guides approach tourists for a tour around the valley; however I didn’t meet any of them during my 2 hours stay waiting for the shared taxi to leave.Related to:
- Budget Travel
It’s a long story. I made a reservation with this hotel, then forgot and didn’t stay here. I wish I...more
I have stayed in this hotel for a week in 2005 Sep on my way to accra from cotonou. I must say that...more
A very nice, comfortable/upper class hotel with amazing swimming pool. Staff very helpful....more
Top Togo Hotels
- Save money, Book now!
- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates
- Book online.
- Hotels.com See maps & reviews for over 140,000 Hotels worldwide!
Explore the World
- Lucknow Hotels
- Santorini Island Hotels
- Vaca Key Hotels
- Sharm El Sheikh
- Province of Quebec
- Ship Island Hotels
- Las Vegas
- Traverse City
- Georgia Off The Beaten Path
- Boston Off The Beaten Path
- Tennessee Off The Beaten Path
- Philadelphia Off The Beaten Path
- Washington State Off The Beaten Path
- Portland Off The Beaten Path
- Key West Off The Beaten Path
- Outside Rome
- Las Vegas Off The Beaten Path
- Texas Off The Beaten Path
- Mackinac Island Off The Beaten Path
- Washington D.C. Off The Beaten Path