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Togo - Getting there & away, getting around

Togo - Getting there & away

Tokoin Airport is served by a host of African and European airlines. If you're planning on flying into Togo, check also the fares to Accra (Ghana) and Cotonou (Benin), as they can often be cheaper. If you're travelling from the USA, you'll have to transfer planes in Dakar, Abidjan or Accra or fly 'direct' via Europe. Departure tax of $42 is included in the ticket price.

Both Accra (Ghana) and Cotonou (Benin) are about three hours by car from Lomé on asphalt roads. Bush taxis operate between them daily.

Minibuses ply the coastal route between Lomé and Cotonou (Benin) throughout the day, but it's usually cheaper to take a share-taxi from Lomé to the border and another from there to Ouidah or Cotonou. Daily minibuses to Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) take about 36 hours and depart from Agbalepedo station, about 10km (6mi) north of central Lomé. Frequent police checkpoints can make this trip a nightmare, so it's saner (and slightly cheaper) to take the trip in stages. The Burkina Faso border closes at 6:30pm. The most popular route to Ghana is via Aflao on the coastal road. From central Lomé, it's just a few kilometres to the border, and 200km (125mi) from there to Accra. There are no border fees to be paid, though Togolese guards may try to convince you otherwise. You can also cross to Ghana from Kpalimé, Badou, Kara and Sansanné-Mango, although the routes are rougher and less frequently plied.

Getting around Togo

Togo's international airport, Tokoin Airport, is 6km (4mi) north-east of central Lomé, and there are taxis and buses available there to take you into town. Don't count on flying between destinations within Togo, as, aside from a few charter planes, nearly everyone gets around on terra firma.

Though cars are available for rent in Togo, the going rates are astronomical; you're usually better off hiring a cab for your trip. Most major roads are sealed and in decent shape, but outside of these highways you'll need a 4WD. The roadway between Atakpamé and Kara on the main north-south axis is in particularly poor condition. Intercity travel is best restricted to daylight hours, as highway crimes are not uncommon. Driving in Togo is on the right.

Togo has an extensive network of minibuses, and most of them are in fairly reasonable condition. Fares, on the other hand, are very reasonable (about US$1 per hour), though there's a surcharge for luggage. Be prepared to do some hard bargaining to keep it down; US$.50 per piece is about right.

Travelling by bicycle is an excellent way to explore Togo and greatly reduces your time spent at police checkpoints. Although most secondary roads are unpaved, they're generally in passable condition except during the rainy season. Bikes are available for rent in larger towns and tourist areas.

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