Hailed as the ‘Land of the Batammariba’ by the UNESCO organisation that gave it that coveted World Heritage Site status back in 2004, the Koutammakou of northern Togo is a region of rustic villages built from adobe walls and thatched roofs.
The whole area not only offers a glimpse at the traditions of the tribal folk who fled here to avoid capture during the years of the Slave Coast, but also breathtaking vistas of mountain-topped horizons, mud-cracked bushlands, and undulating hills of greenery.
You might also see the area listed as the Tamberma Valley – don’t worry: they are one and the same.
Lome is a throbbing market town that sways to the beat of African drums and the rhythm of endless markets.
Rarely does a city bless a country with its name, and even rarer is it for just a small clutch of Voodoo shrines and mud brick huts to inspire the moniker for the entire nation.
But that’s precisely what happened here, in the small town of Togo (as it was known then). Back in 1884, the expeditionary Nachtigal signed an agreement with the chieftain of the land for German hegemony to extend to this part of West Africa.
Today, visitors can still see copies of the interesting document, providing they ask the tribal leader nicely! Other draws include a pretty colonial cathedral and a series of little beaches along the lakeshore for strolling.
Founded in the 1800s by German and other European traders, it still has its mercantile character – just look to the ports, where endless depots of cocoa and palm products and even oil are loaded onto tankers.
However, today, the concrete jungle is balanced out by the earthy tribal pull of Voodoo.
This mesmerises buyers in the sprawling fetish stalls and talisman emporiums of the city’s folk market, and bursts from the explorative exhibitions of the Togo National Museum.
Also, don’t miss the Grand Marche: a massive local bazaar set over three floors.
The second town on the banks of Lake Togo that’s worth a visit, Agbodrafo is known for its popular resort hotel: The Hotel le Lac.
This luxurious medley of shimmering al fresco pools and sunning terraces buts up right to the water’s edge, offering guests a luxurious stay on the side of the country’s famous lagoon.
The town itself is also known for its proliferation of watersports, and it’s possible to organise everything from pedal boating to jet skiing out on the surface.
On the other side of the town, to the south, is the Atlantic Ocean, complete with its rolling waves and stretches of sand.