To go or not to go?
Sorry I couldn’t resist putting that in. It was never really a question. I was always coming to Togo, particularly after driving within a few kilometers of the border when crossing from Benin into Burkina Faso in 2017.
Having already travelled extensively through the West African Sahal I’ve decided to stick to coastal Togo and the rainforest clad southern mountains this time. All up I’ll be here only a week.
I landed in Lome, the capital of Togo around midday and headed straight to the beach. I wasn’t expecting much but there was an offshore reef and a lagoon outside the hotel. Think I’ll stay an extra night!
From the beach I visited the fetish market in Akodessawa which is the World’s largest voodoo market where just about every West African animal can be found in varying states of dismemberment and decomposition.
It seemed like just about every Illness known to man could be cured by a variety of combinations of potents made from dead animals. My guide rattled off so many cures, I’ve forgotten them all.
Voodoo originated in West Africa and centuries ago slaves from Africa brought Yoruba gods to the Caribbean and South America, areas today that are also synonymous with voodoo.
After two days at the beach I made my way to the local ‘Bush taxi’ station and found the taxi going to Kpalime. The way they work all through Africa is you wait until enough people show up going the same way as you and you all pile in and take off. I was first to arrive so after an hour of waiting I caught another taxi to the bank and exchanged money. When I returned the Kpalime taxi was full and ready to go.
Leaving the city I was soon into lush countryside with a storm brewing ahead. Good news for tomorrow’s waterfall hike.
I arrived in Kpalime and found a printing shop as I had to get some forms printed for the next country. I walked in to the shop, plugged in my phone and bang, crash, lightening and thunder. Out went the electricity and down came the rain. Two hours later, I got my printing done.
The following day my guide and I headed into the mountains along fairly poor quality roads, through lush farmland dominated by small scale coffee and cacoa plantations. The entire area reminded me of Cameroon.
Passing the village of Wome we parked the motorbike and walked to the Wome Waterfall, which although nothing spectacular, is in a picturesque rock amphitheatre surrounded by lush rainforest.
We stopped in a village where I bought mango and bananas and pringles for lunch and then walked up a valley to a huge fruit bat colony.
Another ride was up Togo’s highest mountain where we turned off near the top and followed a muddy track through the forest, eventually stopping at a creek where we found what my local guide called a ‘Coca-Cola Tree’.
The Kola Tree is where the name Cola comes from.
George Pemberton took caffeine extracted from Kola Nuts and cocaine extracts from cocoa leaves and mixed them with sugar and other flavorings to invent Coca-Cola.
The photo below has a Kola Tree (Coke), Coffee Bush (Coffee) and a Cacoa Tree (Chocolate) and despite being plentiful, disappointingly, there were none of the final products for sale on the mountain.
After three days in Kpalime it was time to catch another local bush taxi back to Lome, which pretty much took all day.
I spent another full day in the city sorting out a few things and staying at the beach.
Togo is a nice little country with plenty of things to see and do over a fortnight. The people are friendly and everything is cheap. French is the main language and it’s a safe place to travel.
Which is totally opposite the next country I’ll be visiting tomorrow.
Bye for now.