My first African Country *yipee* *yay*.
If you had asked me beginning of this year which West African country I was going to visit. I would have said Ghana considering its a popular travel location from Nigeria. I am very happy I got to visit my first African country – Togo. “Yellow Fever Card“, “Seme Border“, “Hilla Condji“, “Aflgao” these are
buzzwords popular words you would hear when going on a West African trip.
I got a chance to visit Lome over the Easter and the trip was amazing/eye-opening. I would try to break down details of the trip into 2-3 posts. I would talk about my first experience at the Seme border, Togo and a cost breakdown of the trip.
Togo means ‘house of sea’ in Ewe language. It is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located. Togo covers 57,000 square kms, making it one of the smallest countries in Africa. The lowest point in Togo is the Atlantic Ocean. French is the official language of Togo. Togo has 3 National Parks, 10 faunal reserves and 84 forest reserves.
Day One – Lagos, Nigeria to Lome, Togo
Prior to the trip, Lara of Molara Brown of Travel Kotroom (who planned the trip btw) booked the shuttle (smaller bus) with ABC Transport which was heading to Ghana via Togo. The shuttles are usually faster than the luxurious buses hence, they are more expensive.
P.S. It is usually advisable to follow these bus companies because they tend to manage the Immigration Officials at the border. That way customers do not have to haggle with the officials at all the borders (Seme, Hilla Condji and Aflago).
Our bus was supposed to leave at 6 am but we ended leaving at around 10 ish with the luxurious bus. That meant we were going to get to Lome very late. Our first stop was Benin Republic, where we dropped people heading to Benin Republic and picked up more passengers going to Togo/Ghana. I noticed that the remaining space in the bus could not cater for them and as such, many of them had to wait for another bus. My advice, if you are heading to Togo from Benin Republic is to find your way yourself instead of waiting for these bus companies. More-so, they hardly leave on time and as such they are always late.
On getting to Hilla Condji (Benin Republic/Togo border) we were asked to come down and walk past the border to wait for the bus at the border in Togo. If we were going on our own, we would have had to haggle with the border officials to stamp our passports. We were advised to change our money at the Togo border instead. I was able to change N28,000 for 40,000cfa sadly due to the state of our currency. I hear it used to be better about 2 years ago or so.
We didn’t stay at Lome, we stayed at Agodeke which was about 30 minutes away from Lome. The bus company was kind enough to stop at Agodeke for us instead of taking us directly to Lome and we having to find our way back considering we had to pass Agodeke to Lome.
Lara had booked a 3 bedroom flat for the 5 of us (4 babes and 1 guy) via AirBnb. *My first Airbnb* So we walked to the apartment which was 5 minutes away from the junction. Lara and Tayo had stayed at the apartment before and were able to book the apartment again for this trip. The owner of the apartment wasn’t around to meet us but he instructed someone to give us the key to the apartment and show us around the house. At this point, we were tired, hungry and didn’t have any energy to cook dinner. So we walked to the hotel nearby the house for dinner and the free internet. (Thank God for this!).
We had planned to visit Koutammakou the next day. Koutammakou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Togo and famous for its traditional mud houses which are known as a national symbol of Togo.
Then we noticed that 3 of 5 passports were not stamped out of Benin at the Hilla Condji Border and into Togo. This meant technically we were still in Benin Republic. When we are returning back to Nigeria, we would definitely have issues at the border.
*Ghen Ghen Ghen Ghen*
Watch out for the next post….
Have you gone past any of the borders? How was your experience? Have you visited Togo? Where did you visit?
Thank for your reading!