Togo

Tagged “The Slave Coast” during the era of slavery in West Africa, Togo became independent of its colonial lords, France on 27 April 1960. Bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north, Togo extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located. The country lies mostly between latitudes 6° and 11°N, and longitudes 0o and 2°E. The official currency of Togo is the CFA Franc and French is the official language.

 

The most numerous of the ethnic groups in Togo are the Ewe in the south who make up 32% of the population. Along the southern coastline they account for 21% of the population. The Kotokoli or Tem and Tchamba in the center and the Kabye people in the north make up 22%. The Ouatchis are 14% of the population. Other Ethnic groups include the Mina, Mossi, and Aja people (about 8%).

Notable Places to Visit

Fazao Mafakassa National Park 

Fazao Mafakassa National Park is the largest National Park in Togo. It is situated between the Kara Region and Centrale Region in semi-mountainous wetland. The park has dramatic scenery with rocky hills and beautiful waterfalls. It is divided into two parts, the Forest Classée Du Fazao that contains most of the biodiversity of the forest and semi-moist and Malfacassa Zone de Chasse where visitors go hiking in rocky hills. This UNESCO Heritage Site has some rivers draining the park; it includes Kpaza and Koué rivers. Some of the mammals in the park include elephants, chimpanzees and other small mammal species. The birds in Fazao-Malfakassa National Park include Francolins, Hawk Eagles, grey Parrot, Heron, Senegal Parrot, Hornbill, swamp Greenbull, Senegal Eremomela, Firefinch and sunbirds among others.

Keran National Park

This park is found on the Kamongou river banks in northern Togo. This Togo national park was established in 1971 to protect Keran forest reserve and Oti reserve which is found on the banks of river Oti. The park also protects Mare-aux-Lions, a small wetland area close to the Koumongou River where one can come across birds and mammals of different types. The park is located near Naboulgou, a town in northern Togo. There are many species of mammals in Keran National Park. Many of the animals congregate along the river banks during the dry season and these include bay duiker, elephants, bushbuck, Sitatunga, Bongo, red flanked duiker, roan, reedbuck, hartebeest, waterbuck and many others.

Akloa Waterfall

Togo's best waterfall is the 35m (115ft) Akloa Falls. It's like something out of a shampoo commercial: water gushing down a cliff, and people frolicking in the pool below, surrounded by lush vegetation. The falls are accessed via a strenuous climb that follows the Domi River and passes through coffee fields, pineapple plantations and a butterfly garden.

Lake Togo

is the largest part of a lagoon in Togo, separated from the head by a narrow coastal strip. It is shallow and a popular location good for boating, windsurfing, water skiing and other water sports. Towns on the lake's shore include Agbodrafo and Togoville. Lake Togo is warm and dirty brown fresh water. It often has a light breeze. A basic windsurfing rig can be rented from some hotels/resorts around the lake. This was the homeland of numerous slaves taken to Haiti, who were members of the voodoo cult.

Mountain Village

An attraction in the Kpalime area of Togo are the mountains around Klouto where the huge variety of butterflies attract enthusiasts each year. Kpalime is a resort town near the Togo-Ghana border and is a good base for excursions and hiking into the beautiful hill country. One such trip is to Pic d’Agou, Togo’s highest mountain. The Encarta Encyclopedia and the Guidebook on tourism puts Pic d’Agou at 986 meters high. The highest village on Pic d'Agou was said to be a place of refuge in times of war.

Takienta of the Batammariba

The Koutammakou landscape in north-eastern Togo, which extends into neighbouring Benin, is home to the Batammariba whose remarkable mud tower-houses (Takienta) have come to be seen as a symbol of Togo. In this landscape, nature is strongly associated with the rituals and beliefs of society. The 50,000-ha cultural landscape is remarkable due to the architecture of its tower-houses which are a reflection of social structure; its farmland and forest; and the associations between people and landscape. Many of the buildings are two-storey high and those with granaries feature an almost spherical form above a cylindrical base. Some of the buildings have flat roofs, others have conical thatched roofs. They are grouped in villages, which also include ceremonial spaces, springs, rocks and sites reserved for initiation ceremonies.

National Museum

This is the national museum of Togo located in the capital, Lomé. Founded in 1975, it houses ethnographical, cultural and artistic exhibits. The National Museum has very good displays of the history and culture of Togo including some of Benin and Nigeria, as these countries have close links historically and some tribes are common in all these countries. The building is modern and air conditioned, with the displays well set out and labeled in French. There is an English speaking guide available. On the ground floor the displays concentrate on the history and culture of the tribes with examples of hats worn by the Fulani, a dowry hat with horns for weddings, musical instruments, farming tools, drums, weapons and furniture, textiles, pottery and baskets as well as photographs of the Tata Somba houses of the North. In the basement the display concentrates on history, particularly slavery, with examples of chains and shackles and weapons. There are photographs of the signing of the protectorate treaty in 1884 between the King of Togoland and Germany, and of the many important governors, presidents and royalty associated with Togoland in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Notable Events

  • Gadao Festival, Sokode
  • Evala Festival, Kabye
  • Gbagba Festival, Kpalime
  • Voodoo Festival, Glidji
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