The West African Togo is undoubtedly one of the least known countries in Africa – also one of the smallest, because the extension from east to west is a maximum of 140 km, from south to north around 600 km, and the length of the coast on the Gulf of Guinea is just once 53 km. The coastal area is, however, strongly structured and overgrown with mangroves as well as coconut palms. The landscape of the coastal strip is followed by a very fertile highland. Togo reaches the highest point in the west at 986 m altitude with Mont Agou as part of a foothill of the Togo-Atakora Mountains. The east of the country is characterized by high plateaus, plains and isolated island mountains, and in the far north is the Oti plain, which is traversed by the river of the same name. In terms of nature, the evergreen rainforest, which is best explored in the national parks, is primarily worth seeing. For an encounter with the country’s fauna, the dry savannahs in the north are particularly recommended, where elephants, rhinos, buffalo, antelopes, giraffes and monkeys as well as lions, leopards and hyenas can be observed. Togo also has numerous reptile species and many tropical bird species… which makes a stroll through Togo’s nature an impressive and colorful experience. If you are interested in the cultural side of Togo, you should pay a visit to the capital Lomé. The city, which was only founded at the end of the 19th century, is located in the far south, is one of the most important educational locations in West Africa and contains a number of buildings with insight from the colonial era. Also worth seeing is the governor’s palace, the National Museum, the old shipyard and Marché des Féticheurs. Lomé is also worth a visit because of its direct location on the coast – where you can take a stroll along the famous Boulevard de la Republique or relax on one of the inviting beaches nearby.
Valley of the Tamberma Villages in Togo
The valley of the Tamberma villages is located in the northeast of Togo in the Koutammakou landscape in the Kara region and a visit is on the program for many study trips.
The villages were built by the Batammariba as early as the 17th century to ward off slave hunters from neighboring Benin.
The special thing about these villages is the construction principle of the small clay castles. They are called Takienta and they have been declared the national symbol of Togo. The buildings reflect the social structure of the Batammariba. There are both one and two-story houses and the roofs are partly conical and partly flat. The Batammariba call their houses “Tata”. In front of the entrance doors there are usually large phallic fetishes and dried animal heads to protect against enemies. In every village there are special free places for the religious ceremonies, which are carried out regularly. Also at the entrances to the villages there are conical blocks made of clay, which are supposed to keep the evil spirits away. The granaries have an unusual shape: they consist of a cylindrical base on which a hemisphere has been placed. You can also see other, spherical, storage chambers in which mainly corn is stored. The residents of the Tamberma villages worship the antelope goddess and wear antelope horns on their heads at their celebrations and festivals.
If you have the opportunity, you should definitely not miss the opportunity to visit the area while traveling through West Africa. It is one of the very few traditional societies in the world that is still intact and this is one of the reasons that the Tamberma villages have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Lomé is the capital of the West African state of Togo. It forms the cultural and economic hub of the country and is home to 760,000 inhabitants. The city can be reached via the international airport, and they also connect several railway lines with the interior of the country. The large port is economically important not only for Togo itself, but also for some neighboring countries.
Geography, Climate & History
Togo borders Burkina Faso to the north and Benin to the east. The Gulf of Guinea lies to the south, while Ghana borders to the west. Lomé itself borders the latter two and is therefore directly on the sea in the Maritime region. Due to the Atlantic, the climate is maritime, thanks to the tropical location it also has two rainy seasons and is generally very warm. Recommended travel times are July and August as well as December and January, when it is dry and in the former case relatively cool.
Thanks to its rich history and the good security situation by African standards, Lomé is a popular destination for study trips. While it used to be a colony of Germany, France and Great Britain, today it represents an important economic point in the region and is the seat of the West African Economic Community.
Sights & culture
Popular starting points for travelers are some architecturally interesting buildings such as the Governor’s Palace, Independence Square with a monument or the Maison du RPT. The neo-Gothic Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur is part of the historic center of the city and has an impressive red and white interior and a central rose window. The most famous museums are the National Museum and the Musée International du Golfe de Guinée, which offer exhibitions on the history and culture of the country and the Gulf region.
Those who like to stroll while traveling can stick to the city’s riverside boulevard or pay a visit to the famous fetish market. Here you will find the largest range of voodoo utensils in all of Africa, which is worth a look alone. The Village Artisanal handicraft market, on the other hand, is a good address for souvenirs. Those who long for nature can take a day trip from the city to the Forêt d ‘Lili forest reserve.
Kpalime Art Center
Kpalimé is only 120 km from the Togolese capital, Lomé, but it feels like another world. Africa tours through this region pay a visit to this attraction. Hidden between the wooded hills of the cocoa and coffee regions, the city offers wonderful places for walks and hikes. With a population of around 75,000 and proximity to the Ghanaian border, the trading center is a busy place. Today the city is known for its lively fabric and fruit market, which takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On these days, residents come from all over the region to sell their crops and buy supplies.
The city is very touristy and has several restaurants, bars and boutiques, which probably makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Togo. Sights in Kpalimé include the Roman Catholic Church, built in 1913, which offers spectacular views of Lake Volta and nearby Mount Agou, the highest point in the country. In the nearby mountains there are many waterfalls and other natural sights, some of which cost entrance fees or for which you need a guide. Kpalimé itself consists mainly of craft shops and restaurants. The latter has earned Kpalimé a special reputation. Fufu is a typical beef dish of black African cuisine and a really exotic delicacy that can be found almost everywhere in the city.
Kpalimé is also the main handicraft center in the country of Togo. A large number of artists and craftsmen have settled here, such as wood carvers, potters and weavers. Tourists are sure to buy a souvenir or two to take home here.
In addition to eating regional specialties and excellent shopping opportunities, the city and its surroundings are also ideal for walks. Waterfalls, pretty mountain villages, coffee and cocoa production, butterfly hikes, trekking and bat cellars are sure to offer every visitor a successful stay in the small Togolese town.