There is no better way to explore a new country than doing so with a friend who is a local. Traveling to Togo had been on my list for quite some time. When I learned that my friend was returning to her homeland for the holidays, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to visit. After a few weeks in Ghana, I set out to Lome’, Togo by road. This time around I did not have to take a bus or a ‘Sept Places’ (shared taxi) because my friend’s dad made the 3 hours road journey to collect us in Accra. I used my St. Vincent passport to apply for a visa upon arrival since US citizens are required to arrange a visa in advance.
The ride from the Togo border to Lome’ City Center was stunning. Lome’ is a coastal city so coconut trees lined the main road along the sea shore for miles. One noticeable difference between Accra and Lome was the number of motorbikes or ‘Zmen’ on the roads. These ‘Zmen’ carry passengers around for a fee. I was fascinated by the way they moved in unison and by how they zipped between the flow of cars. For years, my poor excuse for not learning another language was that a smile is the universal language. 🙂 Speaking French would have been a plus since Togo is a French-speaking country. However, do not let language barriers deter you from visiting francophone countries. Togo was the first of 8 French-speaking countries I visited while traveling across West Africa and I managed to navigate just fine while speaking only English. My friends in Togo spoke French & English but throughout my solo travels, I was able to communicate because I met so many people who were eager to practice their English.