While travelling from Ghana to Togo and from Benin to Togo, we faced problems at the border. The Togo border police demanded money on both occassions and since we did'nt know French we had a tough time convincing them. The border police demanded 20,000 CFA at the Benin side when the visa stamp was only for 10,000 CFA. We had made it a point that in future we have one of the Togolese colleagues accompanying us to avoid any such problems.Related to:
- Road Trip
FILL IN YOUR OWN FORMS AT THE BORDER !
Most people would assume that a man standing with Immigration guards from 2 countries at the table where visas are issued would be an official. Especially when the man is handed the application form from the table and begins to fill out your form. Welcome to TOGO! The little bastard is someone's corrupt little friend and he is going to steal money from you !!
My little bastard filled it in - wrote a plush hotel as my residence (I wish) and asked for 15,000 CFA (22€ , $30). Suspecting something was wrong I watched him hand over the application and 10,000 CFA. That's when I started yelling 'Thief!'. That did the trick. My 10,000 CFA was returned. Had it not I would have ripped it right out of his shirt pocket without hesitation. After all - I now knew he was not an official and it was a crime.
So if you land on a land border in Togo - do your own application, only pay the guys in uniform and only do it when you can see others paying the money.Related to:
- Road Trip
This isn't so much a warning as an account of my experiences. In other West African countries, I was generally quite impressed by the relationship between locals and expatriates.
However, during my time in Lomé, I constantly encountered long-time French residents who made the most casually racist comments, and whose attitudes to local people were from another age. Elderly African men were often referred to as 'jeune homme' in a derogatory way when they came to sell newspapers or something similar, whereas in local culture they would be given considerable respect. Africans were also consistently addressed with the informal 'tu' even where they deserved respect, as if the French people were speaking to children, whereas I got the full 'vous' treatment.
On two separate occasions, I was in establishments where, when I tried to pay, I had to wait for the French manager to return since, as the African employees told me, they weren't allowed to touch money. In Ghana and Burkina Faso, I never experienced anything similar, where local employees enjoyed the trust of their bosses. Other travellers told me their experiences in Togo were quite similar.
Tie your goat on right!
Be careful how you tie your goat. We saw this poor little unfortunate goat at a petrol station in Kara. He was placed on the roof of the mini bus with a rope around his neck tying him to the roof-rack. Goats may be the steadiest climbers on rocky hillsides, but they are not very good with moving vehicles. As soon the van started to drive off, the goat lost his footing and fell over the edge of the roof. Remember how this goat was tied on? He was left dangling along the side on the van by his neck! He made a lot of noise and so did the passengers inside the van! The driver soon stopped and managed to rescue the terrified animal. He was put back on the roof, but tied on by his legs this time – all four of them so that he was unable to stand at all! Poor little thing, what a traumatic ride for him.Related to:
- Road Trip
1. Before going to Togo do not forget the vaccination. Once you are in Togo do not forget to take regularly the anti-malaric pills. Sometimes it is not very pleasant (nausea etc.) but surely it is clever.
2. Calling home from Togo is expensif. Much more better is to use local Cyber-cafe. This is usually one room with a few PC station with Internet access.
3. The humidity in Togo is very high (even in non-raining season.) My experience is that the washed T-shirt needs almost 2 days to dry.
Give a little
Porters and security guards are a thorough nuisance at Lome airport. Porters make off with your bags whether you want them to or not and then expect a tip. Security staff show a keen interest in watches and wallets and will try to suggest that you provide a little gift in order for safe passage on to the next stage of your check-in etc. Smile sweetly and suggest to them that it has all been spent on gifts to other officials en-route.
beach in Lomé
The main beach in Lomé whilst being free from too much hassle during the day becomes very dangerous after 10 at night( because rackets, dealing and general aggro against whites) by local youths.
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