Bargaining

Bargaining is common in Togo. Supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and buses have fixed prices, but expect to haggle for items at markets as well as fares for taxis, bush taxis and taxi-motos (motorcycle taxis), also called zemi-johns.

Dangers & Annoyances

  • Petty theft and muggings are common in Lomé, especially on the beach and near the Grand Marché.
  • Taxi-motos in the city may be convenient, but they are dangerous.
  • Driving in Togo is, to say the least, hair-raising. Take care on the roads, particularly at night.
  • The beaches along the coast are not safe for swimming because of strong currents.

Electricity

Supply is 220V and plugs are of the European two-round-pin variety.

Embassies & Consulates

The following embassies are in Lomé:

French Embassy

German Embassy

Ghanaian Embassy

US Embassy

British nationals should contact the British High Commission in Accra (Ghana); the Australian High Commission and Canadian High Commission are also located there. New Zealand citizens should contact the New Zealand High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa.

Emergency & Important Numbers

Togo's country code228
International access code00
Ambulance8200
Police117
Fire118

Entry & Exit Formalities

Everyone except nationals of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) countries needs a visa. Allow extra time for delays in processing.

Customs Regulations

There are very few restrictions on what you can bring out or in to Togo. In terms of money the limit you can bring in or out is CFA100,000 for countries that use CFA; for all other destinations the limit is CFA10,000

Visas

One-week extendable visas (CFA10,000) are issued at major border crossings with Ghana (Aflao/Lomé), Benin (Hillacondji) and Burkina Faso (Sinkasse), and upon arrival at the airport.

The Service Immigration Togolaise, near the GTA building 8km north of central Lomé, issues 30-day visa extensions in one or two days. They're free when you extend the seven-day visa. Four photos are required.

Visas for Onward Travel

The Visa des Pays de l'Entente, valid in Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, is available at the Service Immigration Togolaise. Bring two photos, your passport and CFA17,800. It takes 24 to 48 hours to process, but note that the office is closed on weekends.

If you're visiting only a single country, the following embassies deliver visas:

Benin A two-week/one-month single-entry visa costs CFA12,000/17,000. You need two photos and photocopies of your passport. It takes one day to process.

Burkina Faso Contact the French Embassy in Lomé.

Ghana One-month single-entry visas are issued within three days for CFA20,000 and require four photos and a photocopy of your yellow-fever vaccination certificate.

Etiquette

  • Greetings Men and women generally do not touch each other in public (not even if they are married). In business situations, a handshake may be used, particularly among men.
  • Dining The left hand should never be used to eat food. Smelling prepared food is considered rude.

Gay & Lesbian Travellers

Togolese society is quite conservative and gay and lesbian travellers should avoid making their sexual orientation known. Homosexual acts are punishable by law.

Internet Access

In towns and cities, wi-fi is available at almost all midrange and top-end establishments. Internet cafes are easy to find in towns and cities but nonexistent in more remote areas.

Money

Togo uses the West African CFA franc. Major towns have Visa ATMs. A few upmarket hotels take credit cards but otherwise cash is king.

ATMs

You'll find Visa ATMs in major towns. Only Banque Atlantique in Lomé accepts MasterCard.

Changing Money

The best foreign currency to carry is euros, which are easily exchanged at any bank or hotel.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1CFA452
CanadaC$1CFA440
Euro zone€1CFA656
Japan¥100CFA538
New ZealandNZ$1CFA415
UKUK£1CFA774
USUS$1CFA600

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Tipping

  • Restaurants Tipping is not the norm at local restaurants. In upmarket spots, 10% is the usual.
  • Guides Giving your guide 5% to 10% is reasonable.

Travellers Cheques

Travellers' cheques cannot be changed in Togo.

Opening Hours

Administrative Offices 7am to noon and 2.30pm to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Banks 7.45am to 4pm or 5pm Monday to Friday (Many banks are open on Saturdays, too).

Bars & Clubs around 6pm to late Monday to Saturday.

Restaurants 11am to 10pm daily, unless otherwise specified.

Shops 7.30am to 12.30pm and 2.30pm to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

Post

Togo's national postal service is La Poste. Expect long queues.

Public Holidays

Togo also celebrates Islamic holidays, which change dates every year according to the lunar calendar.

New Year's Day 1 January

Meditation Day 13 January

Easter March/April

National Day 27 April

Labour Day 1 May

Ascension Day May

Pentecost May/June

Day of the Martyrs 21 June

Assumption Day 15 August

All Saints' Day 1 November

Christmas Day 25 December

Smoking

  • Smoking Common everywhere, including indoor spaces.

Taxes & Refunds

The VAT in Togo is 18% and is added in when paying.

Telephone

Togo's country code is 228. Landline numbers start with 2, mobile numbers with 9. You can make international calls at the private telephone agencies found in every town.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phone coverage is excellent; local networks include Togocel and Moov. Depending on which mobile network you use at home, your phone may or may not work in Togo – ask your mobile network provider.

You can also bring your phone and buy a local SIM card. Top-up vouchers are easily available.

Time

Togo observes Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC), the same time zone as London. Daylight savings time is not in effect.

Toilets

Public toilets are rarely available – your best bet is to pop into a bar or restaurant and use their facilities (be sure to have your own paper). You will encounter a variety of toilets around Togo, from sit-down and squat toilets to holes in the ground. The better the establishment, the better the toilet.

Tourist Information

Togo's official tourist website (only in French) is at www.togo-tourisme.com.

Travel with Children

  • Togolese love children. Visitors with tots will find people extra friendly and helpful.
  • Nappy-changing tables are available only in high-end restaurants.
  • Finding child safety seats, nappies and formula are hit or miss – it's best to bring your own.

Travellers with Disabilities

Togo has limited facilities for travellers with disabilities. The capital, Lomé, is slightly better equipped than rural areas. The best bet is to speak to your hotel and ask if you can hire a staff member after-hours for help (eg with lifting), or if they can suggest another trustworthy person.

Volunteering

While traveling in Togo, visitors will find heaps of international volunteers but few local opportunities. A good place to start before you depart for Togo is the African Volunteer Network (www.african-volunteer.net), which lists a wide range of volunteer projects.

Weights & Measures

  • Weights & Measures Togo uses the metric system.

Women Travellers

The Togolese are rather conservative when it comes to marriage, so it's incomprehensible to them that women past their 20s might not be married. This will lead to many questions, but it is generally harmless. To avoid attracting any more attention, dress conservatively; if single, wear a fake wedding ring.

Work

The best work options for international visitors are through international organizations, organized before arrival. In general, foreigners work via umbrella organsations as contractors with specific (renewable) time limits for their work project.