Country guides Africa
The electrical current in Togo is 220 to 240 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs are standard.
The official language in Togo is French, but Ewe and Mina are spoken (especially in the south), as well as Kabiye and Dagomba (mainly in the north).
The unit of currency is the CFA Franc (XOF), which is pegged to the Euro and divided into 100 centimes. Only currency issued by the Bank of West African States (Banque des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest) is considered valid. Lomé and other major cities have bureaux de change, and banks will also exchange currency. Credit cards are accepted by high-end hotels and restaurants in Lomé and other major cities, but cash is usually king.
A 10 percent tip is customary in the more upmarket eateries and hotels. Guides may expect a gratuity of around five to 10 percent.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all visitors to Togo over the age of one year. Insect protection is essential to combat insect-borne diseases such as dengue fever and malaria, which are both prevalent countrywide, while a prophylactic that hasn't shown signs of being resisted in the area is also recommended. Hepatitis A, polio and typhoid vaccinations are recommended. Bilharzia is present and it's best to avoid swimming in freshwater. African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), meningococcal disease and rabies can also occur.
Tap water is to be avoided unless boiled, filtered or disinfected with chemicals, but it remains safest to just drink bottled water. Visitors should avoid drinks with ice and any dairy product made from milk, as the latter is probably unpasteurised. Medical facilities are poor and travel insurance for evacuation is recommended, as is a supply of basic medication for common ailments such as travellers' diarrhoea or headaches.
Civil unrest can occasionally occur and it's recommended that foreigners steer clear of these demonstrations, as some foreigners have been targeted by demonstrators. Pick pocketing, theft and carjackings are common in Lomé, especially on the seafront; visitors should travel in groups, especially at night, and the area near the Hotel Sarakawa should be avoided. Roads can be hazardous and some taxis poorly maintained, so care should be taken. Border entry and exit points can be opened and closed without warning, and roadblocks (official and unofficial) can occur, even in city centres. Vehicles and passport or identity documents can be subject to checks by military and police.
Voodoo and animism are central to Togolese indigenous beliefs, sharing roughly the same percentage of followers as Islam or Christianity. While the practice of voodoo can be a real culture shock, visitors should respect local customs, as well as religious ceremonies and festivals. Beachwear should be restricted to pools and beaches, and casual, practical clothing is the most appropriate. Women should dress modestly in the more Muslim-dominated areas.
Togo is a relatively relaxed country and it's acceptable to dress casually to some smaller business meetings. But at formal business meetings, it is advisable to wear a suit. French is the official language of business and very few people speak English. Business cards are commonplace. Office hours are 7am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Visitors may import 10 packs of cigarettes or 50 cigarillos or 250g tobacco, as well as one bottle of wine, one bottle of spirits, one bottle of eau de toilette and one bottle of perfume.
The international dialling code for Togo is +228. Mobile phone signal is strongest around urban centres and WiFi is found at most middle to high-range establishments in urban areas.
Passport & Visa
All travellers require a valid passport. A seven-day visa is available on arrival for all travellers. An entry visa is required after the initial seven-day period, which is valid for 90 days. Yellow fever vaccination certificates and three passport photos for visas are required. Proof of a return or onward ticket is necessary, otherwise a refundable deposit to the amount of the normal return airfare must be paid to a bank or the transporting airline. Visitors must also hold all documentation for next destination if continuing from Togo. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US nationals require a visa and a valid passport.
UK nationals require a visa and a valid passport.
Canadians require a visa and a valid passport.
Australians require a visa and a valid passport.
South Africans require a visa and a valid passport.
Irish nationals require a visa and a valid passport.
New Zealand nationals require a visa and a valid passport.
National Tourism Office, Lomé: www.togo-tourisme.com117 (Police); 118 (Fire)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Embassy of Togo, Washington DC, United States: +1 228 324 4212.
Embassy of Togo, Paris, France (also responsible for the UK): +33 1 4380 1213.
Embassy of Togo, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 5916.
Embassies / consulates in Togo
United States Embassy, Lomé: +228 261 5470.
British Honourary Consulate, Togo: +228 22 22 2714.
Canadian High Commission, Accra, Ghana (also responsible for Togo): +233 245 852 409.
Australian High Commission, Accra, Ghana (also responsible for Togo): +233 302 216 400.
South African Embassy, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (also responsible for Togo): +225 2244 5963.