Best time to visit:
In a word:
Un-lah-wah-lay (good monring)
Mandatory vaccination: yellow fever; anti-malarial prophylaxis is recommended.
Get yourself a tailored suit with local fabrics in the chaotic Lomè market; Getting lost in the fetishes and rituals of sorcerers in one of the many Togolese Marchè des Feticshes; Enter, with respect and discretion in one of the many tribal villages of northern Togo and witness one of their ancestral dances and rituals
In this unforgettable adventure we rented a van with a driver in Accra and traveled all the way Ghana from south to north up to Benin through the small
Visiting these countries it is possible to get an almost complete picture of these lands so far from us: the nature of tropical forests, the wonderful beaches still guarded by colonial fortresses, the fetish markets, the tribal villages with their impressive architecture and decorations, the sorcerers with fetishes, a lived experience trying to establish a more direct relationship with the inhabitants.
Flying with the Royal Air Maroc we had the chance to take on two baggage of 20 kg each; the right occasion to bring with us aid for the various orphanages that we will visit along our journey: medicines, games, educational material, clothes up to a water pump of a van requested by a missionary in Benin. It will not be an easy journey, we will find ourselves sleeping in the most disparate places, from the benches of a church of Carmelite nuns to the huts on stilts; we will be stopped dozens of times from makeshift checkpoints by corrupt police officers looking for bribes but we will be able to say, at the end of this experience in West Africa, to have received more than we have offered. The smiles of the children of the orphanages, their innocent questions, their looks will fill our hearts forever.
Get on board with us: here we go!
Our suggested itinerary (11 days)
Kabyè (visit to the Tamberna tribe)
|one day:||transfer to Ghana or Benin by land or flight to major African cities|
We enter Togo by land from the northern border with Ghana!
There are so many people and the classic border chaos, in Africa it is always amplified!
While we wait for our turn we notice small groups of people who leave or enter this small country, almost all without documents and to pay for access they empty bags or saddlebags in favor of greedy policemen.
Once the bureaucratic formalities are over, not even the time to start again we find the first checkpoint of a long series, we expected it and it will be a continuous for the whole trip.
Roadblock in a manner of speaking ... Two bins placed in the middle of the road and a big boy in a tank top and a fisherman's hat asking us for 10,000 CFA (about 20 euros) after inspecting the whole van and finding no defects.
We bargain hard and in the end we check it out ... The bins are removed and we are winners ... at least this time!
We walk along the Togolese main road that from the capital Lomè leads straight to the gates of Burkina Faso, it is not bad all in all because there are not the annoying Ghanaian bumps.
Shortly before the city of Kandè we turn and turn into a red and dusty road ... in a few moments we are swallowed by a red cloud ... we are in the kingdom of the Tamberna.
With the help of a guide we look out, with respect, to one of the many villages with elegant and superb architecture.
It is incredible that these small forts are made of earth and water and have lasted for 100 years. We are greeted by women with long horned hats and men who smoke long pipes. They scrutinize us for a long time curious ...
We spend some time wandering around in that timeless place.
Before leaving, some men begin to play strange instruments and women emit deaf guttural sounds while others dance sinuously ... it's an ancestral show and we let ourselves be swept away by emotions ...
We go to the sacred tree, an ancient baobab tree with a large opening that allows us to get inside. Finding yourself in the belly of a 1000-year-old baobab is a strange feeling, like being inside a cave.
In the evening we reach Sokodè, we are in southern Togo.
Ibrahim Yaya, the pastor of the "Temple de la Redemption", gives us the opportunity to witness the fire dance of the Ewe tribe and therefore we go to the outskirts of the city.
The village chief welcomes us making us sit on two benches. While two or three men are playing djambè, the whole village around us begins to gather. An old man grabs a fiery stick and starts to put it on his arm, then on his head until he bites and chews it ... He is in a trance. It makes an impression.
Several men take turns in this strange dance. Everyone enters this circle drawn on the ground and by a nod to the sky they recall the "spirit of fire" to invite him to fight, so the dance begins, the graceful body movements, the dazed, almost absent gaze, the fire on their body, even on the tongue.
He begins to rummage in a bowl full of broken glass, then he rubs them on before doing the same with an old sword ...
Suddenly Ibrahim approaches us and tells us to go away immediately; many of those men were in a trance, excited and the atmosphere was becoming too hot and dangerous for us, the circle had become increasingly oppressive ... it was a real experience, authentic not tourist ... just like us!
In late morning we are in Lome.
We visit the fetish market, witness yet another voodoo ritual and we get lost among the stalls of the central market of the capital while a tailor tries to make us a tailor-made suit with local fabrics!
After a long journey, passing between remote villages and a few checkpoints that cannot remedy anything from us ... in the distance we see a sleepy Togolese flag, not waving, maybe it's too hot here for you too!
Two soldiers listlessly carry two benches near a desk ... all under a wonderful mango tree, a very diligent but also very slow policeman, he starts recording every single passport ... his boss in local clothes is lying on a wooden bench and occasionally gives some order.
Nobody passes, except for some rare motorcycles ... we are the only ones present on the register today.
A glance at the yellow fever booklet and send us to two plump, sweaty policemen ... we are about to enter Benin!
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