Most passport holders can get a visa on arrival at main border points. The border between Aflao in Ghana and Cononou is open between 6m and 10pm. The visa is 10,000 CFA. No photo was required. Just cash in CFA.
At the Aflao Border you are essentially in Contonou when you walk through the border. A Taxi-Moto will take you to you hotel for 250-300 CFA. Haggle hard, there are 300 guys right behind him...
Le Ramatou & Robinson's Plage:
Both resorts are located near the port of Lomé. Because it's off the main road, you would need to take a taxi to take you all the way to resorts. You need to bargain very well, other wise they will over charge you.
The village of Dzogbegan is on the Danyi Plateau in South Western Togo. About an hour by car from Kpalime, we arranged for our guide, Guillaume from the ARPV (see previous tip), to take us to the Monastery as a day trip from Kpalime.
The drive up to the Plateau is spectacular, with view great views down to Kpalime and beyond.
The Monastery itself is tucked away off the main road through the Plateau, and there is an associated Convent.
We visited on a Sunday in late November, and were the only foreign visitors. After being introduction to the Brothers, we took a walk around their market garden where cinnamon, coffee, ginger, pepper and various other crops are cultivated for use and sale by the Monks. They also take care of a herd of cattle which you may bump into during your walk through the grounds. The highlights for me were, however, being able to buy souvenirs (including the Monks' own produce) in the small gift shop, and the chapel.
The chapel is a circular construction with wood panels for walls. These panels, when opened, move with the breeze and the interior layout is such that the seating surrounds a central altar with seating for the Monks to the sides and rear. Sunday services are held regularly throught the day, and the we attended one at about 1pm.
Now, I'm not at all religious but being at the service was one of the real highlights of the ten days in Togo. Travelling can be hectic sometimes, and even a laidback West African country like Togo is, for a ten day trip, quite a change and can feel relentless at times. We sat in the pews of the chapel in almost complete silence with only distant, background sounds of children playing and birds singing. In the 36 degree heat, and because of the design of the monastery, there was a constant and much needed, cooling breeze passing through the chapel at all times. As we sat, the Monks entered one by one in crisp, pristine flowing white robes, bowed to the altar, and sat in thier designated places. Once all the monks had arrived, the service began.
It lasted about 20 minutes long and was conducted in a mixture of French and Ewe. Four hymns were beautifully sung, two in each language, and were accompanied by Kora players. A more atmospheric, relaxing 20 minutes I could not imagine. Do try and see a service if you visit the Monastery.
After the service, we visited the shop and bought some fantastic home-ground coffee, peppercorns and ginger and then went to see the Nuns at the Convent who had laid on a simple but tasty and plentiful lunch at a very reasonable price. After helping to wash up, we went for another stroll, and then back to Kpalime. We could have dawdled on the way back, but decided not to and got back to Kpalime by 3pm.
It's also possible to stay at the Convent, and I have included a photo of the courtyard off of which the accomodation is located.
We hired a guide (Guillaume from the Association des Randonneurs et Passiones de VTT - ARPV) to show us around during two days in Kpalime and the surrounding area. The ARPV is one of the many eco tourism associations in the area that can provide activities and guided tours.
Guillaume was a knowledgeable and engaging guide and did not charge the earth. The cost was CFA5000 for the day plus either CFA5000-10000 for hire of his car (with him driving) for the day and then petrol costs on top.
Our first day took us initially to Kouma Konda where we were shown around the village. We were fortunate to be there on the day of a small ceremony to celebrate the opening of a new public toilet block at the dispensary in the village. Following on from that, we were taken around the hills on foot (via a couple of craftsmen - including Prosper the well known lepidopterist who has now turned his hand to painting). An insight was had into the production of coffee and cocoa, and of some of the other plants that are used in the production of natural dyes to create the paintings being sold by Prosper and others.
The walk was not too strenuous until our walk to the top of Mont Klouto (a simple and easy enough walk) which happened to coincide with midday and searing heat. Mad dogs and Englishmen..... Lovely views, though, from the top. Not far from the summit (if you can call it that) was a fairly extensive construction site. Guillaume informed us that this is a new hotel development - it should be very pleasant. We walked past the old German Hospital that is now a Campement and bar/cafe.
We saw a few butterflies, and soaked up the atmosphere in a pretty part of the world during our morning walk. Back in Kpalime for lunch and then out to see a waterfall (separate entry to follow). Recommmended to pass a day in and around Kpalime.
Guillaume took us to the Danyi Plateau the following day to visit the monastery at Dzogbegan - more of which in a separate entry.
Pirogues ply their leisurely way across Lac Togo from Agbodrafo to Togoville and back all day. There are many more (and busier) boats during market days - we were there on a Tuesday. The busy public pirogues run from Agbodrafo village, but as we were staying at Hotel le Lac, we hired a one at the hotel for CFA5000 for two people return. I imagine it's slightly cheaper from the village.
The journey takes about 20-25 minutes and you will see fishermen fishing or tending their static nets (for catching prawns) , and probably other pirogues making the crossing in both directions.
In Togoville, you'll be met at the quayside by young men wanting to be your guide around the village. Make sure you use someone from the local Association (who have offices and a craft shop just up from the quayside close to the cathedral). The cost is CFA3250 per person (plus a little cadeau for the guide after the tour). More Togoville to follow in a separate entry.
The lengthy beach in Lome is a very attractive site once you get over the main Ghana-Benin highway that runs all along the coast.
Beach bars are located towards the western end of the beach towards the Ghana border, and are a pleasant spot to spend a few hours having a cold Flag beer and watching the world go by.
Bathing is not recommended due to the heavy undertow - but you will see young Togolese guys getting the fishing nets in by swimming out with no fear. I certainly wouldn't risk trying that - the surf seems fierce just from its appearance.
The beach in general is much cleaner than I expected - although not pristine. Two rows of palm trees run the length of the beach, and it appears that, where trees are missing, the authorities are replacing them with young trees to maintain the beaches appearance. It's a popular hang out for locals, and (having visited exclusively during the day) I never felt harassed or uncomfortable.
This small museum is a private concern run by the Swiss owner, Rene David. The museum is set in part of a beautiful house and is an oasis of calm and tranquility in Lome.
Spread over a number of rooms and the lovely garden, the museum holds a largish collection of, primarily, statues, sculptures, carvings and pottery. The collection includes 2000 year old items from the Nok culture, and is particularly strong on Yoruba items from Western Nigeria, although a huge variety of groups are represented from across West and South West Africa.
Some of the larger items (including door carvings) are located in the garden around the pool, and a sign indicated that refreshments were available in the garden, although we did not ask and they were not offered by the helpful and polite staff.
Photography is permitted throughout the Museum at no extra charge, although the entrance price is now higher than noted in any of the guidebooks at CFA3000 (or CFA1500 for nationals of ECOWAS countries, or CFA500 for students with ID).
Well worth the entrance fee, and highly recommended.
The following places/hotels in Togo are currently closed:
1. The Hotel 2 Fevrier in Lome is closed for refurbishment. You can't stay there, or access the building to use the bar or other facilities.
2. The Parc National de Fazao-Malfakassa is closed until January 2011. Most guidebooks say that it opens mid to late November, but I phoned in advance of travelling to Sokode, and was told that the Park is closed to the public until then.
Now this beach looks beautiful with it's fine copper colored sand and palm trees. If the undertow doesn't kill you then it's use as a local toilet will. Unfortunately, the locals use it as their potty-ing ground but it still is worth a visit. Just about .3 kilometers from the Ghana border is the Lome beach. Only went there for a short time to say we did it but there is a lot of trash (less than I imagined), stray people and a dip up in the sand (and down) to actually get to the water. We had heard the undertow was bad but I have to say while walking the beach, I thought I was getting my ass kicked when the waves came in and it was only up to my shins. Be careful and go early. The sand is also hot if you take off your shoes/sandals and it's a bit of a walk from the start of the sidewalk. Do not go at night.
Lomé, with an estimated population of 737,751, is the capital and largest city of Togo. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, Lomé is the country's administrative and industrial center and its chief port. The city exports coffee, cocoa, copra, and palm kernels. It also has an oil refinery.
If you like the beach, the tropical forest, the savana,...the nature, Togo is the right cheap place to
go.We arrive in the capital Lomè , not much nice, and after go to visit Kpalimè, Kara e Nadoba.
In the forest there are many locations to go, Mount Kluoto , Mount Agou, beautiful place where the people live in a small village in the mount thanks to the forest who give them all they need (fruit,caffè,cacao,manioca,ananas,wood,water,...).
The are many african people who offer you a little guide to visit this place, or you can go alone.
After we are going to Atakpamè, the capital of vodo in the Togo but not nice.
Here we had take part to a private vodo ritual to pray the spirit about our travel and life togheter.
After we are going to Kara, the nord capital and the start if you want to visit the Tamberna, ancient african people who live today like 1000 years ago, without anything, just a nature!
After we are going to Benin and had a beautiful days in Natitingou, Abhomey, Gran Popò.
Everywhere is very safe for the "Yovo" (white people), the african make a smile when they look you and the children run to you to touch your skin.Very friendly.
I'm very sorry about my "english" but i'm trying to write what it's not possible to write.
That African emotions are not explicable by word.
I hope that we return as soon as possible in africa, and this will useful to many people to develop their self. Thanks Africa
A very original visit to be had here. See the first house of Togoville and the house where the peace treaty was signed by king Mlapa III and the German Nachtigal in 1884. A visit can be made to the church where Jean-Paul II made a benediction in 1985. It is unknown if he noticed the two village fetishes with their rather large sexual attributes. You may park behind the church. You will probably have to take a guide for the visit, so ask for Claude. Very well known and very capable. Listen very carefully to everything he says as there are things that are forbidden in the village. At the side of the church is the canoe in which the Virgin Mary made an appearance in 1973.
Vodoun is a religion that can trace its roots back at least 6,000 years; some sources claim 10,000. Vodoun devotees believe that everyone has a soul which is made up of two parts: a gros bon ange or "big guardian angel", and a ti bon ange or "little guardian angel". The ‘little angel’ is the one that leaves the body when the Loa possess the dancers during a ritual. This is basically what happens when a dancer goes into a trance, and I found it quite scary at times to watch. The spirit will take over every movement of that person, they become the spirit and are no longer themselves, and the spirit will talk through the possessed – sometimes in a language they do not understand or even knew before they were possessed. The Loa will convey – through the possessed – advice, desires and warning. The ti bon ange is also known to leave the body when you are asleep and it is believed that it is vulnerable to evil spirits whilst outside the body.
Dancing is an expression of spirituality. It is seen as a connection with divinity and the sprit world. The dancing and drumming intensifies repeatedly and repetitively until the dancer is possessed by their Loa, by which stage they appear to completely lose control of their body and some even appear to lose consciousness. Their limbs go stiff, they appear to fall backwards of they flail their arms and legs about, thrashing anyone and everyone in their way. This is the Loa’s way of having a bit of fun with the devotee. The Loa may even try to encourage the supporters to injure themselves or others. In order to stop them from harming themselves and others around them, fellow dancers come forward and grab the possessed devotee and lead them into the shrine until they come back to ‘normal’. Sometimes the possessed dancers would try and escape, or come rushing back out again from the shrine.
The name Kotokoli comes from koto kolim which means to give and take back again, and refers to their reputation for a somewhat underhand trade dealings. Their proper term temba comes from the fact that they speak the tem language. There are about 200,000 Kotokoli in Togo, mostly around the area of Sokode. The village of Djendi which we visited, was way out in the countryside.
The Kotokoli are primarily farmers, and their main crops are sorghum or yam. They also keep cattle, goats, donkeys, chickens and sheep. Cattle are used mainly for sacrifice and dowry; the Kotokoli do not even milk their own cattle. They do drink the milk, but employ the Fulani to do the milking as well as tending their cattle.
The Kotokoli people, just like the neighbouring Fulani, value beauty amongst their people. It is said that the Fulani are amongst the most beautiful people in the world, but having seen the Kotokoli, I will argue that there is a strict competition here! Especially the lady in blue on the photograph, her features are exquisite (can I say that as a woman?) and she is absolutely stunning! The women spend a lot of their time making sure they are portrayed at their best for the men, and it shows in their appearance.
The only reason we stopped in Niamtougou was the market. It is a huge market selling everything from food through to household goods. It is a sprawling affair alongside the main road and down off one of the side roads. The order of the day it to negotiate a price if you want to buy something.
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
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