Me and my brother wanted a break from out hectic work life. So, we decided to break free and enjoy good five days at a different place with plenty of outdoor activities. We decided on Togo this time. Togo is one of the loveliest and smallest countries in West Africa with Ghana towards its west, Burkina Faso towards north, Benin towards its east and Gulf of Guinea at its south. It’s capital, Lome is located at the Gulf of Guinea. We decided on Togo, because it offers a variety of things to do and see as there are beaches, mountains, villages and lakes to be explored. Also, its climate is perfect for vacationing; therefore, we booked our tickets for Togo.
We landed at the airport and hired a taxi to our hotel. Our first day of Itinerary had the beaches on list in the Lome. After relaxing a bit in the hotel, we straightaway hired taxi for the beach, the Lome Beach. We reached the beautiful golden sandy beach of Lome. The beach is huge with large swaying coconut palm trees. The beach is isolated and not many tourists were seen here, however, we did enjoy a bit in the water, though were not allowed to go further because of the strong current. We took the taxi towards the eastern outskirts of Lome, to see the Coco beach. Coco beach is nice, calm and attracts tourists. There were Sun beds covered with straw shacks. The water was clear and we relaxed there for couple of hours, sipping coconut water.
After relaxing at the beaches for few hours, we both came back, much relaxed to a restaurant to grab a bite over the drinks. Over the drinks, we planned our next day and the day had more of sightseeing. Well, the evening got better with drinks and food as we had the very popular dish- fufu, made of Yam. Well, fully satiated and content, we looked forward to our next day.
The next day, we were pretty excited about sightseeing, so we moved out of our hotel and reached the small Musee International du Golfe de Guinee. This museum is privately owned by a Swiss person, who is passionate about African art and ethnology. The outdoors of the museum is very impressive with statues and sculptures in the garden. We both were surprised to the collection of art including more than 1500 items of sculptures, statues, terracotta, gold, bronze, iron, and pottery. These items belong to the ancient times and the ethnic groups of Southern and Western Africa. My friend Jack, took out his camera to capture the sights and the sculptures free of cost.
After seeing the incredible collection of objects, our next stop was the very popular National Museum in Lome. The museum’s building is big, spread over two floors, built in a very conventional way. We hired an English speaking guide for us to get better idea about the items, and paintings with their history. The ground level of the building is focused on the culture and history of tribes, depicted through objects like musical instruments, hats, and dowry hats with horns worn during weddings, textiles, drums, pottery, weapons, and photographs. The basement level of the building is more focused on the slavery, weapons, and paintings.
Our next point of attraction was the independence statue or popularly known as the independence monument of Togo. The monument is in the capital city of Togo and commemorates the historic occasion happened in 1960 when Togo achieved independence from France. The statue represents a woman holding a torch. This torch is lit every year in the remembrance of the event for the women who fought for it.
Our next point of attraction was the Lome cathedral and it is indeed a beautiful magnificent cathedral. This was built by the first catholic mission. The inside of the cathedral has lovely brightly coloured paintings of Jesus and angels. The cathedral from outside looks beautiful, colored in red and white.
After visiting the three popular historical attractions, the time had come to visit the fetish market. A very popular amongst tourists as it does show something which is not seen in other parts of the world. Many women and children refuse to go this market as this sells dried animal skins, and bones. But we are guys and we did not want to lose this opportunity and see the fetish market with our own eyes. So, we headed towards the market.
Fetish market, also called as the Juju market is popular for selling dried heads and skins of animals. Its also called juju market because juju means black magic, practiced in west Africa. This market sells stuff, which is majorly used to make magic potions and concoctions used in black magic. We were very excited to visit this market and the moment we reached there, we were greeted by a person who seemed to be the leader of the market. Seeing the market on our own was free, however, taking a guide or clicking the pictures would cost us money. So, we decided to hire a guide and started off with the tour. Market is small with around 10 to 12 vendors selling all kinds of animals parts. The items included monkey heads, dog heads, snake skins, cat heads, and the sex organs as well. Well, scary it was! The guide told us about how these animal dried skins and body parts are used to treat the various ailments and how they are used in black magic to cure something or to cast a spell or curse. Apart from this, there were many voodoo dolls and other souvenirs for sale. We knew these thigns would not be appreciated back at home, so we kind of stayed away from buying anything! However, we did take enough pictures to scare the families.
The next day had our visit to the Fazao National Park. It is the biggest national park in Togo, located between the Centrale and Kara Region. The Park has beautiful waterfalls and rocky hills. The park has a variety of animals including elephants, deer, monkeys, crocodiles, and lions. Along with that there was a huge variety of colourful birds and we simply could not stop clicking.
After spending a day at the park, our last day was to hike and enjoy the sceneic beauty of Togo. So, we started with the Mount Agou. The mountain is about 30 miles towards the southeast of Kpalime and is the highest mountain.
The mountain was fun to hike and to come across a variety of inhabitants like birds, monkeys, frogs, lizars, and we infact spotted couple of snakes as well. The forest looked beautiful, the lush green grass, trees, and plants with colourful flowers was a sight of delight. After hiking and enjoying the weather, flora, fauna, we reached the peak in about three hours. There we felt relaxed and saw many more tourists who had hiked like us. We took pictures from the peak of the surrounding areas of the mountain. After spending an hour or so on the peak, we headed our way back down. The difficult terrain surely made me and Jack stumble a little, but that is the fun of hiking! We came back down, exhausted and hungry. We grabbed some food to eat and headed back to our hotel.
Our trip to togo was short and sweet, with many memories to take back home in our camera and minds. It was indeed a unique experience of relaxation at the beaches, visiting the historical and architectural splendours and not to forget the Fetish market. We did have an unforgettable time and great memories to cherish. We packed our bags and took the flights back home.