Head for the border | A curious trip to Togo
"Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs". Susan Sontag
I went on a curious trip to another (Abidjan was my first) francophone country, Togo, specifically the port city of Lome. I had travelled with ABC transport from Lagos to Benin Republic where I stayed for a day (blog post on Benin here) and then I hired a vehicle from Benin Republic to Lome.
Before the trip, I read a number of horror stories about the deadly borders of West Africa, which Togo falls into. Good news brethren, I have never experienced it (at least for now). Crossing the Lome border from Benin was a breeze through for me. I dropped off from the taxi at Lome, stamped my passport, crossed the border and took another taxi into Lome. By now you all know I'm a convenient traveller.
I felt a calming spirit in Lome. The friendliness of its people and the beauty of the town, Lome is the perfect place to relax (no jokes). White sand beaches are lined with hotels, while the city offers a series of markets for avid shoppers. Fortunately, I don't shop when I travel
(how else will I be able to travel??!). I just focus on soaking in as much experience, sadly, shopping is not part of it, for now.
On our way into the town, I saw the Baguida river (first picture below). It is the meeting point of the river and the sea. It was so gorgeous and I really didn't want to leave. For the first time, I forgot about Lagos and all its shenanigans.
Before heading to my hotel, I decided to look round the town and interact with people. English man meets French man. LoL. It was a tug of war. Well, I sighted Ecobank's head quarters which is a massive structure and a hotel called Sarakawa which was gorgeously covered with lavender flowers. You already know, I stopped to see what more the hotel offers. Boyyyy.....'.na money no allow me stay for the hotel o'. The hotel faces the beach and you can cycle by the pool. Infact, the hotel deserves a separate post, so I will stop here for now (check my hotel section for updates)
There are a couple of other interesting places in Lome including;
- The Independence Monument;
- Lome Beaches;
- Togo National Museum; and.
- The Fetish Market
We drove to Monument de independence (see profile picture) and I was fortunate to have been allowed in. It was few days to independent celebration and the arena was been prepared for the ceremony. I greeted the mid-aged man at the gate and gave a warm smile, I guess that worked magic.
After looking round the town and battling to speak my crappy french to people, it was time to retire to my hotel. The view from my room was breathtaking.
I agree with the saying that “pictures are worth a thousand words” so let me allow my pictures tell of my Lome travel story.
The tallest building in Lome.
The Congress Palace
Yaaaay. I can't travel anywhere without visiting the museum. Sadly, on this occasion it was closed. I guess a picture is in order.
Yaaaay. It is impossible for me to travel without getting a feel of the infrastructure development in the state/country. Part of my self KPIs. This is blueline railway Togo #LaBlueLine. The West Africa rail was supposed to connect Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Togo and Nigeria. It didn't look operational to me. Anyone know the status the project?
Room view from Hotel Ibis with a bad hair day.
Personal thoughts on visiting Togo
In summary, Lome is a very clean country surrounded by beautiful beaches but more than that, it offers a good choice of historical places. I will surely visit again but next time I will travel by air either with Asky airlines or Air Cote d'Ivoire
I look forward to returning to Togo to visit other states other than Lome. More specifically, the Kpalime waterfalls and Tamberma Valley
Travel with a popular West Africa transport like ABC or better still take a flight directly to Lome
Have all your documents (passport and yellow card) ready
Change your currency to Central African Franc. I changed at Eko hotel
Take clothes suitable for the beach
Speak french (a plus)
Carry mosquito repellent
If nothing else, travel is a strategy for accumulating photographs, more like preserving memories. TAB