Overview

Togo landscape
Togo landscape © Jurgen

Togo is an intriguing destination. Squeezed between Ghana and Benin, with just 35 miles (56km) of lagoons and sandy beaches on its coastline, this narrow strip of a country hides a surprising variety of landscapes. The coastal plains and woodland plateaus of the south lead to forested hills in the centre, which in turn give way to the gently rolling savanna of the north. Despite a complicated history, Togo still retains a certain mystique to charm the imagination.

Once dubbed the 'Pearl of West Africa', the capital city Lomé exudes a nonchalant elegance. Wide, palm-fringed avenues border beaches of white sand, while visitors can enjoy tasty restaurants and a lively nightlife. Traditional markets are popular with tourists searching for souvenirs of the voodoo religion prominent in the country.

Lomé is a good base for day trips out to the beaches of Aneho, or the voodoo shrines at Togoville on the shores of Lake Togo. Further afield, the scenic hills around Kpalime are perfect for trekking and hiking. North leads to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Koutammakou, home to the local Batammariba people who construct the unique takienta. These are 'tower-houses' made of mud and straw, which have become a national symbol of Togo.

Visitors may be lucky enough to see one of the many traditional festivals that take place throughout the year, celebrating the culture and spirituality of at least 37 different tribal groups. It may be small and off the beaten track, but Togo certainly has plenty to offer.