Togo is a West African country, squeezed in between Ghana on the west and Benin on the east, with a minor border with Burkina Faso to the north, and coastline on the Atlantic Ocean to the south. This country has the reputation of one of the nicest places in Western Africa. The distances between destinations are slight, it boasts gorgeous beaches with white sand and turquoise water and warm people, with an abundance of natural spaces unraveling before your eyes.
However, just like other countries in West African, Togo can become a destination where violence rears its ugly head, for both locals and tourists due to political instability and poverty.
Warnings & Dangers in Togo
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
If you go and visit Togo, chances are you will have no negative experiences or incidents. However, it is a country where you should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of something going wrong.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation is not the safest or the most convenient option: the driving standards in Togo are poor, as well as the vehicle maintenance. Avoid travelling outside towns and cities at night as roads can be dark. During the rainy season, unpaved roads may become impassable. You may also encounter announced and unannounced roadblocks.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of petty crime. Pickpockets are practically an everyday occurrence and the government blames this on the food shortage. You should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Constant flooding and drought in Togo have taken their toll and have a massive effect on the population, the environment, and the economy. Flooding hits Togo almost every year.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There is also a high risk of getting mugged. In the recent years, Togo has seen higher levels of violent crimes. Attacks occur both during day and night. During some of these attacks firearms, knives and machettes have been used. Avoid travelling alone, even within Lomé city limits, especially at night. It’s generally recommended not to resist armed attack.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Togo's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
When it comes to scams, you might experience them with motorbikes cutting you off in order to stage and accident, or pedestrians claiming you hit them until you hand over money to make up for the damage. Apart from that, double check your change and negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Togo isn't the safest place for a woman to be visiting alone. If you do, be sure to avoid remote streets, both during day and night, and do not flash your belongings or handle money in public. Stay out of the streets at night and be vigilant for any possible dangers at all times.
So... How Safe Is Togo Really?
The poverty and instability in Togo have caused a number of issues that may cause tourists to avoid visiting this country. First of all, since there is so much poverty, petty theft is actually extreme. There is food shortage in this country, and there are many thieves who would want to take anything they can from tourists. As in any other country, the most convenient places for thieves to do this, are crowded places such as bus and train stations and the big cities.
Another issue in Togo is driving, which is very dangerous either by day or night. The roads are littered and poorly maintained, there are people and cattle roaming along roads, often by night, and are hard to spot, there are motorcycles zooming around erratically and to top it all off, many drivers do not even obey the traffic rules. This is why it is not recommended to drive at night.
The last, but definitely not the least serious issue when it comes to safety in Togo, is the issue of diseases. There are many diseases in Togo that are typical for West African countries, one of them being malaria. Cholera also exists, and hundreds of people have contracted it since late 2008, with three fatal outcomes. Yellow Fever is also a threat in Togo.
- Visas - A valid passport and visa are required in order to enter Togo. Visas are issued upon arrival and are limited to seven days but can be extended for free during that seven day period, although travelers will need to give their passport to Togolese authorities for several days. Expect delays in receiving the extension of your stay period. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - The CFA franc is the official currency in Togo. Be extremely vigilant when using ATMs because of petty theft threat during and after the usage of the ATM. YOnly use ATMs during the day and choose ATMs with people and guards aroundi them if possible.
- Weather - The climate is generally tropical with average temperatures throughout the year ranging from 27 to about 30 degrees Celsius in the northern regions. The climate in Togo is dry and typical to a tropical savanna.
- Airports - Lomé–Tokoin Airport also known as Gnassingbé Eyadéma International Airport, is the busiest airport of Togo, and is located in Lomé, its capital.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Togo, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.