City of Lome Togo West Africa

Togo: Pearl of West Africa hosts ATA 12th Cultural Ecotourism Symposium, November 2009
by Muguette Goufrani

here do many West Africans go for an extended holiday or weekend fun? Chances are better than average that Togo tops many of their agendas. While we were living in West Africa, my family and I will never forget the Togolese hospitality we enjoyed during our visits to that friendly country. Some say, should a popularity contest be held today, amongst all West African countries, Togo-"Pearl of West Africa" would come first. Lome, the capital city, with several five star hotels and acres of sandy, sun-drenched beaches, has become a highly popular vacation center for Europeans. For most Americans and Canadians, it's still a well kept secret. Visitors hardly need to leave their hotel area; the Atlantic ocean is one block from the heart of the city. ...Map of Togo.

Lome's central market, where we bargained for many of my favorite keepsakes and wardrobe items, rates as one of the five best shopping sites in Africa. At Maison Royale, my friends and I were dazzled by an elegant gold Mercedes- Benz, parked at the entrance, gleaming in the mid-day sun. A symbol of wealth and success in North America, these upscale autos are commonplace in Lome, many being owned by "Nana Benz"&emdash; women traders, so named because they all appear to be Mercedes Benz owners. Most taxicabs are owned by this enterprising group. Mini buses are another popular means of transport, and the prices are fair. To insure the safety of its visitors, Togo has the most police checkpoints of any democratic West African country. Photos: Muguette Goufrani during her early visits to Togo, and in West Africa at the 1999 ATA Congress. More about Togo

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