Tiny Togo, a thin sliver of land wedged between Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin, is blessed with deserted beaches, a fascinating culture and friendly people. Upcountry are beautiful hills and plateaus, while the region around Kpalime, near the Ghanaian border in the southwest, is particularly scenic and is known for its butterflies. The famous fortress-like mud-brick houses of the Tamberma people can be seen in the Kabye, a place that has withstood the onslaught of modernization.
Mid-July to mid-September
Hiking the beautiful hill country surrounding Kpalime, well known for its butterflies Gazing at the extraordinary tata compounds, built without tools, in the Tamberma Valley Browsing through the bewildering collection of traditional medicines and fetishes on offer at the Marche des Fetihes in Lome Discovering the crumbling colonial charm of Aneho, the former capital, set on a picturesque lagoon Enjoying Lake Togo’s water sports, including windsurfing and water-skiing Having fun bargaining with Mama Benz, the smart wealthy women traders of Lome’s Grand Marche
Read the auto biography An African Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie, who was rised in a traditional Togolese family
Listen to Bella Bellow for a musical hybrid of traditional music fused with the contemporary sounds of West Africa, the Caribbean and South America
Watch Togolese director Anne-Laure Folly’s Femmes aux yeau ouverts (Women with Open Eyes), which explores the problems facing women in West Africa
Eat koklo meme (grille chicken with chilli sauce) or abobo (snails cooked like a brochette)
Drink tchakpallo (femented millet with a frothy head) or palm wine
Un-lah-wah-lay (‘good morning’ in Kadye, one of the major indigenous languages)
Beaches; fetishes; clay houses of the Tamberma; voodoo; great food
The Ewe consider the birth of twins a great blessing, but the Bassari consider it a grave misfortune; of the Togolese population, 59% are animists
Many of the Ewe’s funeral rites and conceptions of afterlife and death have a strong animist element. According to the Ewe. Once a person dies their djoto (reincarnated soul) will come back in the next child born into the same lineage, while their luvo (death soul) may linger with those still living, seeking attention and otherwise creating havoc. Funerals are one of the most important events in Ewe society and involve several nights of drumming and dancing, followed by a series of rituals to help free the soul of the deceased and influence its reincarnation.