Earth : Africa : West Africa : Togo : Maritime Togo : Lomé
Lomé is the capital and largest city of Togo.
In 1897 Lomé became capital of the German colony Togo.
In 1916 Lomé became capital of the French colony Togo.
In 1975 the Lomé Convention was signed between the European Economic Community and 46 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
The main border crossing is Aflao, from Ghana. Visas cost 15,000 CFA and are good for 7 days. They can be extended in the 'service immigration' (ask for GTA passeport and taxis will know).
Motos are plentiful throughout the capital, and a good distance on a moto will cost you 300CFA. Taxis can be rented from around 500CFA and up, with 2000CFA getting you basically anywhere in town. There are route taxis, costing normally 200-400CFA, but if you are visiting they are difficult to figure out and only ever really used by local folks.
There are rental car agencies downtown, but if you are just coming for a few days motos are your best option.
The beach road runs directly beside the ocean from Ghana to Benin. The Boulevard Circulaire (le 13 Janvier) acts as a main artery through downtown Lome, a hemisphere that encloses the Marche and Government buildings. It starts at the beach in Kodjoviakope and wraps around to the beach in Bea.
Lomé's biggest attractions are its markets, both the Grand Market with a large 3-storey hall. It sells everything from red peppers, green lemons, and dried fish, to combs, travel bags, and traditional medicinal remedies. On the first floor is the Nana Benz, which is noted for its clothing. and the smaller and more specialized Fetish Market (voodoo)There are fetishes, gongons, and gris-gris. The Palais du Congrès complex houses the Togo National Museum The museum contains collections, jewellery, musical instruments, dolls, pottery, weapons and many other objects showing the arts and traditions.
Local street food is plentiful, and a large plate of rice or pate will cost you 200CFA.
Lebanese restaurants are peppered throughout Lome, with the best being in Kodjoviakope and wrapping around with the Boulevard. I recommend Al Mohatas by the Route de Kpalime and Al Sultan's in Kodjoviakope. Most plates run 1000 - 2000CFA
There are two chinese restaurants, one in Kodjoviakope, the other in Asigame, down the street from the Togocel main offices.
The Galion, a swiss owned hotel near the beach in Kodjoviakope, has an excellent restaurant serving steaks, salads, deserts, etc. Mains run 3000-5000CFA, but it is worth it.
Other European Restaurants:
Lome really comes alive at night, the local Lomeians dressing to the nines and going out to the numerous bars and discotheques. There are many western style dance clubs downtown. Two of the best (and most expensive) are Privelege, attached to the hotel Palm Beach and 7Clash, in Dekon on the Boulevard.
For a more relaxed time, check out the beach close to the border with Ghana - seating is plentiful and, if you're lucky, the Castle Milk Stouts are pretty cold. Be sure to get off of the beach soon after nightfall, as it is easily the most dangerous part of the city.
Local drinks can be found if you dig a little deeper. The local brew of choice is Tchouk, locally brewed millet beer. A calabash full at a tchouk-stand costs 100CFA in the city. Other drinks are Deha - palm wine, and Sodabe - Togolese bathtub hooch - grain liquor that burns going down and coming back up. Be wary, it is only for the truly initiated.
Basic hotels can be found in the city center for about 5000 CFA and upwards. Camping is possible at Chez Alice for 1500 CFA in nearby Vepozo where some of the nicer beaches are, about 15 km out of the city center (350 CFA with shared taxi, 200 CFA with Soltran in the morning and the evening). Rooms and a parking for vehicles are available too.
Decent hotels (as in there is a bed, sink, and shower) are in northern Lome and cost about 15000 to 16000 CFA (about $30 at the time I travelled).
Hotels are a dime a dozen the closer you get to the beach, the most expensive being the 2 Fevrier and Hotel Sarakawa, on the beach road. Amenities are very accommodating, but they are incredibly expensive for Lome - 100,000+ CFA / night.
There are a few nice hotels with A/C in Kodjoviakope and surrounding areas that will run you 7000 - 15000CFA. Check out The Galion, My Diana's, and for the budget traveller, ask for Mammy's, down the road from the Angolan Embassy (3500CFA per room, rooms fit 2-3).
Lome has Internet cafes, and they are cheap. You buy time by the hour (something like a couple dollars an hour), but most of the cafes feature very slow computers and internet connection speeds.