Transafrica 2018 STOP 11

May 14, 2018

Lagos – Lomé

Flight distance: 141 nm
Hours in the air: 0.36

Melting Cultures African Style

Lagos would not let us go this easy. First endless 30 minutes for like 3 kilometers to the nearby airport and then the handler was not ready; we almost would have gone (and called back) without clearing immigration. Captain Tom made up for it through a great vista approach over Togos Atlantic coast.

Now we are back in “true” Africa, left Emerging Market Nigeria behind us. What a contrast to “busy” and over populated Nigeria. Togo means fewer people, easy life.

We took a tour around town, focussing on markets and street life. Of special interest is the Marché des Féticheurs which stocks all kinds of traditional fetishes. Apparently a majority of Togolese still believes in this kind of rituals. The market tough is mostly there for tourists, albeit we were the only ones there!

The day came to end by having a drink mingling with the local at the beach and finally flying the drone again, the latter was a bit tricky since there is an army convention in town and the streets are plastered with regular and army police.

Facts & figures

A narrow strip of land in Western Africa between Ghana to the west and Benin to the east, bordered in north by Burkina Faso it has a short coastline with palm-lined beaches and extensive lagoons and marshes on the Gulf of Guinea in south. The country just north of the equator covers an area of 56,785 km², compared it is about the size of Croatia. Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, whose economy depends highly on agriculture, with a climate that provides good growing seasons.

The country has a population of 7.1 million (in 2016), capital and largest city is Lomé, spoken languages are French (official) and Gbe languages, Kotocoli and Kabiyé.

From the 11th to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions. From the 16th century to the 18th century, the coastal region was a major trading center for Europeans to search for slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name “The Slave Coast”. In 1884, Germany declared a region including present-day Togo as a protectorate called Togoland. After World War I, rule over Togo was transferred to France.

Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup d’état after which he became president of an anti-communist, single-party state. Eventually in 1993, Eyadéma faced multiparty elections, which were marred by irregularities, and won the presidency three times. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.

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