Togo, a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea, is known for its palm-lined beaches and hilltop villages.
Togo's capital may be a shadow of its former self, when it was dubbed 'the pearl of West Africa', but it retains a charm and nonchalance that is unique among West African capitals. You'll probably appreciate its human scale and unexpected treats and gems: from tasty maquis to colourful markets and palm-fringed boulevards.
Danyi Plateau is a range of green rolling hills between Klouto and Badou. It's a beautiful area to explore over a few days period. Visit the hospitable villages surrounded by cacao and coffee plantations, tropical forests and farmlands. Waterfalls can be seen in this area as well.
Get yourself immersed in the wonders of real local cultural exosure in these four rural locations in Togo: from home stays by host family, learning local occupations, language, cooking and traditional dancs to adapting a local name by means of a naming ceremony.
The main features of the town are Togoville Cathedral built in 1910, and a shrine to the Virgin Mary to mark where she is said to have appeared on 7 November in the early 1970s. This area is a centre for the practice of voodoo and there are numerous voodoo shrines in the town and the former royal palace.
Kpalime is only 120km from Lome, but feels like another world; hidden among the forested hills of the cocoa and coffee region, it offers some of Togo's best scenery and hiking. It's also a busy place thanks to its proximity to the Ghanaian border and important market (Tuesday and Saturday), where local farmers sell their products along with the usual bric-a-brac of plastic ware and clothes.
On the southern shores of Lac Togo (part of the inland lagoon that stretches all the way from Lome to Aneho), Agbodrafo is a popular weekend getaway for frazzled Lome residents. Swimming in the lake - croc and bug-free - is blissful. It is also a good place to find a pirogue (traditional canoe) to Togoville, which was the former seat of the Mlapa dynasty and Togo's historical centre of voodoo.
Unpretentious and relaxing, Parc de Sarakawa is easily accessed from Kara as a day trip. While terrestrial wildlife-watching can't compare with that in the better-known parks in West Africa, it spreads out over 1500 acres and is home to various species of antelopes, buffaloes, ostriches and zebras.
Mount Klouto is one of the highest mountains in Togo. There are various hiking trails through lush vegetation and also a good spot for seeing assorted butterflies. Combine a visit to the mountain with a visit to Kouma Konda, villages where the local people process locally grown organic coffee beans into coffee.
The north of Togo is often overlooked by tourists so those lucky enough to venture out there will find an unspoiled region ripe for discoveries. Explore the castellated shapes of the Tamberma valley, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this amazing valley is home to a unique collection of fortified villages with houses like mini fortresses.