Togo, formally theTogoleseRepublic, is a small, narrow, West African nation, bordering the Bight of Benin in the south,Ghanato the west,Beninto the east, and to the northTogois bound byBurkina Faso.Togo’s small sub-Saharan economy is heavily dependent on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for 65% of the labour force. Cotton, coffee and cocoa generate about 40% of export earnings. In the industrial sector, phosphate mining is no longer the most important activity, as cement and clinker, exported to neighbouring countries, have taken over.

Capital City: Lomé

Currency: West African CFA franc (XOF)

Visas: South African passport holders require a valid passport and a visa. Visas will cost approximately R631 (dependent on the current exchange rate), and are available through the French Consulate of Cape Town, asTogo does not have a consulate inSouth Africa.

Business Hotels: There are two hotels in Lomé that are suitable for the business traveller’s needs. These are the Mercure Lomé Sarakawa and the Ibis Lomé Centre. The Mercure Lomé Sarakawa is a three-star hotel with 211 rooms. The Ibis Lomé Centre in comparison is smaller, with 108 rooms.

Airlines:Togo does not have its own local airline, but a number of airlines fly to Lomé. Only Air France and Ethiopian Airways fly out ofJohannesburg, viaParis andAddis Ababa respectively. The other airlines that fly toTogo are Royal Air Maroc, Air Ivoire, and Air Burkina.

Airports: There are seven main airports inTogo, but only theLomé-TokoinAirport is used for commercial flights.NiamtougouInternationalAirport is the second-largest in the country and currently the only other paved runway.

Getting Around: Cars can be rented from Avis in Lomé, and you will need an International Driving Permit. The local transport available consists of the bush-taxis, minibuses, taxis and taxi-motos. Travel in the bush-taxis and minibuses is slow, and there will most likely be fee negotiations. Taxis are abundant in Lomé and have set fares. The taxi-motos or zemi-johns are available everywhere, and are a handy way to get to remote locations.

Language: French is the official language of Togo.

Connectivity: International Roaming is available through MTN, with Togo Cellulaire and TelecelTogo.

Health: It is recommended that travellers be up-to-date on all routine immunisations. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all visitors to Togo over the age of one year. Malaria is prevalent countrywide and protection against mosquitoes, including a prophylactic that has not shown signs of being resistant in the area, are essential. Tap water is to be avoided, unless boiled, filtered or disinfected with chemicals, and it is safest to drink bottled water. Food must be well cooked, and all fruit and vegetables should be peeled or cooked. Medical facilities are poor, and health insurance is recommended, as is a supply of basic medication. Emergency facilities are extremely limited.  For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation would be necessary

Kirsti Brocklehurst

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