While Togo might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering a trip to West Africa, those who take the time to explore this small nation will find that it has a lot to offer. Togo is a secret treasure that is just waiting to be explored, with its beautiful beaches, energetic marketplaces, and intriguing cultural attractions. It is a little nation that lies between Ghana and Benin yet is frequently disregarded by travellers. But that’s exactly what makes it so unique. It is hard to find a travel experience as distinctive as Togo’s, with its unspoiled natural beauty and genuine culture. For adventurous travellers, a 3 day trip in Togo will not disappoint.
I did this trip solo in December 2023 with the help of a private driver. I strongly recommend using the services of a driver as public transport within Togo is unreliable. Your guide will also help a lot if you don’t speak French (I don’t). If you’re looking for a reputable English speaking guide (particularly, if you are a woman travelling alone), I strongly recommend getting in touch with Isaac from Green Paths Travel. He has many trustworthy guides that speak English and French in addition to coming up with an itinerary that suits your preferences. Please tell him that Aneesa sent you when you whatsapp him: +22898225868.
Note: The flights, accommodation and activities mentioned in this post were NOT sponsored/discounted/gifted. Full cost breakdown below:
Is it Safe?
I felt quite safe during my 3 day trip to Togo, even with my phone in my hand.
South African passport holders (and many other nationalities) require a visa to enter Togo. I applied for the eVisa from the official website but it’s also possible to obtain a visa on arrival at any border. You can read more entry requirements for Togo at this link.
What to do about money?
The official currency used in Togo is the West African franc (CFA). My advice is to take USD or EUR and exchange it when you cross the land border or enter the city. ATMs seemed to be few and far between outside of Lome. Cash is key!
How to communicate?
Everyone in Togo speaks French and other indigenous languages like Mina and Ewe. You will struggle to get by with English outside of hotels.
FIRST IT’S TIME FOR A BRIEF PPG (PANDA’S PROGRESSIVE GEOGRAPHY) LESSON!
The Ewe tribal people began to live in the area that is now the nation of Togo in the 12th century. In the fifteenth century, the Portuguese were the first European settlers. With Togo’s coast included in the Slave Coast, the region became heavily involved in the slave trade.
Togo became a German colony in 1884. FAfter World War I, Togo was ceded to the French. Togo gained independence from French rule in the 1960s. Togoland and the Gold Coast united in 1957 to form the independent nation of Ghana. A few years later, French Togoland gained independence and changed its name to Togo in 1960. Initially, General Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled over Togo. He governed for nearly forty years.
Day1: Arrive in Togo via land border (Akanu)
I landed in Ghana and headed to Togo via the land border. There is an airport in Togo but Ghana services more airlines so it made more sense for me to land there. If you wish to do the same, you can use the privately owned STC bus to take you from Accra to Lome. I hired a guide and private driver who met me in Accra at 8am. We were at the border at 11am. The Ghana departures and Togo arrivals are in the same building.
At the land border I presented my yellow fever vaccination proof, passport and printed Togo eVisa. This caused immense confusion because the people at the border did not know how to process a eVisa. (And why would they need to? It’s not like this is actually part of their job?!). They eventually accepted my eVisa but not without wasting a lot of time and calling several ‘supervisors’ to gain approval- for the approval I had already obtained!
My advice is that it is far better to purchase a Visa on Arrival at the land border because that is what they are used to dealing with. You will save yourself time and hassle on your 3 day trip in Togo.
Stop 1: Drive to Kpalime
One of the most beautiful areas in Togo is located a 2 hour drive from the capital city. Green hills, plantations growing coffee and cocoa, pristine mountain scenery, mesmerising views, and tiny, traditional villages are found surrounding the town of Kpalimé.
Stop 2: Nature Walk
Upon arrival in this town I met my local guide and we set off on a nature walk where he educated me about all the flora and fauna in the area. He also was surprisingly adept and showed me different butterflies and birds.
Stop 3: Chateau Viale
As part of our nature walk, the local guide asked me to hop onto his motorcycle (wait, I thought we were walking?) and off we went up a steep hill (ok, thank goodness for the motorcycle) to visit Chateau Viale. A German by the name of Viale constructed this castle between 1940 and 1944. He brought his German wife to Togo once it was finished but she hated it and left after 3 days. It remained abandoned until it was converted into a presidential palace in 1979. Since its abandonment in 1982, Viale Castle has been used as a destination for tourists.
Stop 4: Cascade de Kpalimé
The falls, also called the Cascade de Kpimé, are made up of several breathtaking waterfalls that drop into pristine pools below rocky cliffs. The experience is quite captivating due to the sound and sight of the water cascading over the rocks. My only regret was that we got here very close to sunset so didn’t spend enough time here before we were plunged into darkness. The road leading up to these falls is quite decent (compared to the other falls in the area according to my local guide), and so you can park right next to them. There is no hiking necessary.
Where to stay: I stayed at Hôtel Amédzépé which is a quaint hotel in the town. While the rooms were basic, I had hot water and a good supper and the hotel even boasts a pool. I would recommend it!
Day 2: Explore Mount Agou and head to Lomé
Stop 1: Mount Agou
At 986 metres, Togo’s highest point is a modest event in this little West African nation. Still, it is a national landmark and should be given some consideration. The trail winds through a small settlement and the mountain is covered in forests the whole way up, with plantations growing cocoa and coffee. A WWII-era hospital that is currently a military/civilian communications facility is located on the summit.
This activity can be as challenging or laidback as you wish it to be. You can drive to the top and walk down (will take an hour) or you can start at the bottom and climb (will take around 3-4 hours). It depends on what you want to do. I strongly recommend having a guide as the trail can get confusing.
Stop 2: Lomé Independence Monument
To commemorate Togo’s independence from France on April 27, 1960, the Monument de L’Independance was erected. A human silhouette is carved into the edifice, which is encircled by promenades, palm trees, well-kept lawns, fountains, and a fence made of black and gold iron.
It’s a shame that you can’t actually get too close so I would personally skip this unless its open to the public.
Stop 3: Palais de Lomé
A gallery and museum, Palais de Lomé is housed in the remodelled residence of the German emperor before World War I. Currently a stunning venue showcasing local artwork, it serves as a museum dedicated to local and regional interests. These are some photos of the exhibition that was present when I visited, however, when you visit it will most likely showcase something else.
Where to stay: I stayed at Robinson Plage which was a resort on the outskirts of the town. The property is set right on the beach and they offer wonderful food at their restaurant.
Day 3: Lomé to Davedi
Stop 1: Pineapple farm at Davedi
We headed from the capital city to the hometown of my driver. He was quite pleased to take me to a place he had a personal connection with. He introduced me to my local guide and off we went to learn about the pineapple plantations of Togo. The bulk of the population in Davedi is made up of farmers, just like any other rural community in West Africa. The primary cash crops and major sources of income in this region are pineapples and palm trees.
Stop 2: Village life and culture
From the pineapple farm we walked into the heart of the village. Women in the community work on turning palm nuts into palm oil, while men are involved in the distillation of palm wine. My guide demonstrated to me how labour-intensive the women’s task was in processing the oil. Furthermore, I was astounded by the amount of work involved in producing goods that we would often just buy from stores- like wine. As we walked through the village, people greeted me and smiled, “Bonjour!”. Thankfully that was all they said to me as that is also the extent of my French.
Our village tour culminated with a demonstration by some elderly ladies in the village who showed me what happens when twins die. Twin births are uncommon and revered throughout Western Africa; the babies are regarded as gods. When a twin passes away, the fetish priest will make a fetish twin doll for the mother, who will care for it for the rest of her life by feeding, cleaning, dressing, and so on. Every night, she will wash the doll and pretend to feed it dinner at the table. A second doll is manufactured with the same dress when the other twin passes away, and the two are kept together. The grandma then frequently gives her daughter the twin dolls. The dolls will be buried with her if no one is left to inherit them.
Stop 3: Davedi to Togo-Benin border
My time in Togo came to an end as we headed from Davedi to the border with Benin. While the Togolese people still behaved foolishly upon my exiting their country, I eventually made it into Benin with no hassle. My 3 day trip to Togo was part of a larger West African trip where I explored Ghana, Togo and Benin.
Consider Togo if you’re searching for an affordable getaway spot that doesn’t sacrifice adventure. This underrated treasure in West Africa has breathtaking natural beauty, a vibrant culture, and affordable, one-of-a-kind experiences. There is something for everyone in Togo- even just a 3 day trip in Togo- from hiking through lush woods and seeing traditional villages to discovering the lively marketplaces and colourful streets of Lomé, the country’s capital. Do not miss this country for an authentic African experience.
Lastly, I have a wealth of information on my Instagram especially in the Togo highlight, and my feed. Do have a look. If you enjoyed this post about planning a 3 day trip in Togo, please pin it using the pin below:
Have you visited Togo before? Or have I inspired you with this guide for a 3 day trip to Togo? Let me know in the comments below!