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What You Need To Know about Lome

Sitting on the Gulf of Guinea, the port city of Lome serves as the capital of Togo, a sliver of a country in West Africa. Famous for the friendliness of its people and the beauty of its countryside, Lome is the perfect place to relax after exploring Togo’s hills and forests. White beaches are lined with hotels, while the interior of the city offers a series of markets for avid shoppers. Visit the Grand Marche for colourful Togo fabrics or the Fetish Market, which sells protections from evil

Area: 34.75 mi²
Population:837,437 (2014)

Currency

    • The currency of Togo is the West African franc, which is also the currency of seven other independent African states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. You can freely use this currency in each of these nations, although those leaving the region should exchange their local currency to US dollars, euro, or pounds sterling. ATMs are limited to Lome. It is best to withdraw money from a bank. Credit cards are accepted in large hotels in Togo, with Visa currently the most universally accepted. Cash should always be carried, however.

Weather

As in most equatorial climates, the city has two rainy seasons, classified as tropical wet and dry (Aw) by Köppen-Geiger system, the first starts in April and ends in July, then a second rainy season starts in early September and ends in late November.
The heat is constant, the average maximum temperature in the shade is on average 30 °C (86 °F) in the afternoon, and the average minimum temperature is 23 °C (73 °F) in the morning. Early in the year, the Harmattan, a dry wind from the Sahara, can bring the temperature down as low as 19 °C (66 °F) in the mornings.

The climate of Lomé is also greatly influenced by the ocean. The heat is stable, without excessive peaks, and the wind coming from the sea makes it quite pleasant.
The city has a distinctively low rainfall for this latitude, in fact, Lomé enjoys a micro climate that allows it to reach a low rainfall for the region (800 mm (31.5 in) per year). By comparison, Paris receives an average of 650 mm (25.6 in) per year.

Language

French is the official language of Togo and is used in formal education, administration and commerce. Togo also has 40 indigenous living languages including: Gbe languages such as Ewe, Mina and Aja in the south, and Gur languages such as Kabiyé, Tem (Kotokoli), Moba, Bassar and Nawdm in the north.

Health and security

  • Togo remains one of the poorest nations in the world and development-related challenges are numerous. Wealth is distributed unequally: while the wealthiest twenty per cent dispose of roughly half of Togo’s total household income, those who find themselves on the bottom steps of the socioeconomic ladder often struggle to survive. Many years of political isolation have further aggravated the living conditions of the country’s population.Today, 32 per cent of Togolese live in poverty. Tens of thousands remain without access to housing, medical infrastructure and education. For a vast proportion of people who live in rural areas, access to potable water remains nothing but wishful thinking.

    Less than one in five Togolese is able to use improved sanitation facilities, which increases the speed at which dangerous infectious diseases spread. Although considerably higher than in many other African nations, life expectancy is still fairly low at 62 years.

    The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains one of Togo’s most striking public health concerns. 3.2 per cent of the population are HIV-positive. Although access to anti-retroviral therapy has noticeably improved over recent years, much more needs to be done in order to fight the disease.
    Despite recent efforts to improve literacy, only five in ten Togolese know how to read and write.

  • In recent years, Togo has seen high levels of violent crime. Incidents have included machete attacks and firearms-related crimes.A majority of the crimes are crimes of opportunity (petty theft, residential/commercial burglaries, snatch-and-run theft of purses/bags, etc). Pickpocketing incidents and theft are common, especially along the beach and in the market areas of Lomé. Crime at the public beaches includes thefts and robberies, and foreigners are targeted quickly, even at daytime.

    Residential and business burglaries are frequent in Lomé.
    There are incidents of carjackings and other violent crime on the roads. Theft while riding in taxis is common, as thieves steal bags, wallets, and passports.
    Foreigners are targeted for robbery.

DON’T

  • Before going to Togo do not forget the vaccination. Once you are in Togo do not forget to take regularly the anti-malaric pills. Sometimes it is not very pleasant (nausea etc.) but surely it is clever.
    Calling home from Togo is expensif. Much more better is to use local Cyber-cafe. This is usually one room with a few PC station with Internet access.
    The humidity in Togo is very high (even in non-raining season.) My experience is that the washed T-shirt needs almost 2 days to dry.
  • The main beach in Lomé whilst being free from too much hassle during the day becomes very dangerous after 10 at night.
  • A Fetish market is not for everybody. Some people may be shocked or offended by what they see there so if you are sensitive about animals don’t go.
    The Fetish market in Lome is easy for tourists to visit – not all of them are and some do not welcome tourists at all.

DO

  • Lomé’s central market is the commercial hub of the capital. Here one can find anything and everything, from shoes and motorcycle parts to fresh fruit and vegetables. As elsewhere in West Africa, women dominate market life. Weaving through the Grand Marché, these market women can be heard joking, gossiping, and laughing with one another, hawking their wares at the top of their lungs and berating their children. The crowds of the market sway to the beat of Togolese music pumping from ancient boom boxes. Lomé’s market presents the quintessential picture of the spirit and vivacity of Togo and its people.