I would like to begin by welcoming you to the first ever segment of “No Dumb American”. “No Dumb American” was an idea that came to me after speaking to a guy in my chemistry lab. After hearing him speak for the first time I immediately wanted to know where such a lovely accent originated. Upon my inquiry, he chuckled and replied with “You wouldn’t know”. The traveler in me was promptly up for the obviously proposed challenge. “Try me” I rebutted. The look on his face was sheer confidence and he proudly boasted, “Togo”. I snickered at his confidence and blissfully described Togo’s geographic location. Togo is a charming country, but most of the charm comes from the charming people; this is a small country with a small number of small attractions.
This inspired me to embark on a marvelous trek: To change the international perception of American’s global knowledge. There have been numerous times abroad when I’ve encounter locals who are shocked at how well versed I am in the various countries of the world. Since then, I have decided to do my part in educating my friends, family, and hopefully new blog viewers on all of the incredible countries and cultures on this vast earth.
To start off, it’s only fair that my first featured country be none other than the beautiful west coast African country. With a diverse population of 7.6 million made up of over 30 African tribes, Togo offers a rewarding playground of stunning lakes and picturesque beaches.
I’m a stats kind of girl, and I enjoy seeing prices are broken down and an easily readable manner…. therefor below I have compiled a tentative average daily budget for a budget- mid-range vacation style.
In Togo, you’re on the CFA. The franc is always traded at a 656 rate to the Euro which makes it about 500 francs to the USD. You can change Euros, dollars and British pounds in Lome without too much of an issue. You can also get rid of leftover cedis at the border with Ghana.
Hotel Room 30,000CFA (55 USD)
*Doing a preliminary check, I did not find a plethora of westernized hostels. If you’re willing to forgo a few basic luxuries, you can stay with a local through an exchange program or camp in a local park/reservation.
– Innercity bus ride 1,700 CFA (3 USD)
– 4WD with driver 46,000 CFA/ day (80 USD)
*Most people use motorbike taxis but drivers usually don’t have spare helmets, so if that is not safe enough for you, you should opt for a normal taxi. Always negotiate the fare beforehand – which I think you knew already.
– Two Course dinner 4,000 CFA (7 USD)
– Upscale dinner 12,000 CFA (21 USD)
Sights to see
>Koutammakou “Land of the Batammariba”: 2004 designated UNESCO World Heritage
site and cultural landscape. The area features traditional mud tower-houses which remain the preferred style of living
> Agbodrafo: Known for beautiful stretches of sand and its proliferation of watersports. It is possible to organize everything from pedal boating to jet skiing out on the surface.
>Fazao Malfakassa National Park
Smack dab in the heart of the nation, Togo’s largest national park encompasses nearly 2,000 square kilometers. It was known for its thick forest and riparian woodlands
>Fosse aux Lions National Park
Apart from the mysterious mud-brick towns of Koutammakou, it’s the main draw of the Savanes Region: a patchwork of Savannah and muddy swamplands, mires and acacia-dotted plains that plays host to elephants.
400-kilometers from the capital of Lome, the far-flung town of Kara can be found clutching the edge of the winding Haugeau River. Home to nearly 100,000 people, Kara is primarily a good stopover on the way to the great national parks (Fosse aux Lions and Keran National Park) and UNESCO regions of northern Togo.
– Local beer 500 CFA (1 USD)
– Cocktail 2000 CFA (4 USD)
Visas: Visas are required for American, Canadian, British, European Union, and Australian citizens. For American citizens like myself, visas on arrival are available running around 30 USD for 7 days. Multiple-entry tourist visas arranged in advance begin near 70 USD.
After learing more about Togo I am even more excited to expand my. travels into West Africa. Have you visited Togo or any of its neighboring countries? Leave you experiences below. I'd love to read them.
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