Togo

In the land of small miracles

From the smile of a child to a waterfall in the heart of the forest, Togo is the land of small miracles; a precious sparkling stone lying at the edge of the azure waters of the Gulf of Benin in West Africa.
It is one of the smallest countries in Africa, but don't let that mislead you; Togo is proof that smaller is better.
Inside its borders are a variety of people, cultures and natural wonders that represent the best of everything that West Africa has to offer.
The topography of the country includes the coastline edged with coconut trees, verdant mountains, rolling hills, picturesque valleys, broad plateaus, undulating rivers and peaceful lagoons. In the far north, the savannahs teem with wildlife.
This amazing diversity explains why Togo is sometimes described as 'Miniature Africa'.

Geography
History
Ethnic and cultural diversity
Religions and Beliefs
Housing
Languages
5 Regions
One Country
Facts and figures
Geography togo

Geography

Togo is a long, narrow country, with 45 km of beaches lined with coconut trees. The land stretches north for over 600 km, and at its widest point measures 140 km. Its surface area is 56,600 km2.

The coast is actually a wide sandy strip of land separated from the interior by a series of lagoons that swell to form Lake Togo. Going north, the land rises rapidly towards the central mountains, whose height reaches about 1000 m. Further north again, the arable land of the central plateaus gives place to the livestock-rearing areas and then to the semi-arid Sahel savannah on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

History

Early History

Like most of the countries in Africa, Togo's history began with the migrations of peoples in search of safer and more welcoming lands. Among the first settlers were the Kabye and the Lambas, people who came from the north between the 7th and the 12th centuries at the same time as the Tamberma, Akposso and Bassar tribes.

The Ewe, one of the largest groups in Togo, came from south-western Nigeria, settling first in the Mono Valley, which became an important center for trade and agriculture in the 16th century. From there, the Ewe first moved to the Notsé region, then to the Kpalimé region, to the coast and eventually to what is now Ghana.

Other groups followed. The Guins arrived in the 17th century from current-day Ghana. The Tchokossi tribe arrived at about the same time from the Ivory Coast region, and the Mobas from the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.

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Ethnic and cultural diversity

Togo has a population of 6.8 million, 75% of whom are under the age of 35. Throughout its 650 km of beautiful country, you will have the chance to meet the many ethnic groups who make up the population and to experience their unique traditions.

Togo has many peoples who are still deeply rooted in their traditions: the Ewe and Guin people in the south; the Ana and Tem in the Central region; the Bassar, Kabye and Tamberma peoples from the Kara region; and the Moba-Gurma in the far north. Each ethnic group has its own traditions that are closely linked to the group's religious context.

Religions and Beliefs

Togo is a melting pot for all kinds of beliefs: Christianity, Islam, Animism and Voodoo.

Despite the ingress of Christianity and Islam, the population remains deeply attached to their animistic beliefs and their ancestral customs. Almost all of the ethnic groups in Togo believe in the existence of a Higher Being as well as of intermediate deities, who act as intermediaries between humankind and the Divinity. These intermediate deities can have their own followers and even convents or monasteries dedicated to them.

Families often have altars in their homes, and make regular sacrifices for them to ensure the protection of the deities over the family.

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Housing

If you travel through Togo from the South to the North, you will also discover the variety of African dwellings. Along the coastline, you usually find simple huts with palm roofs. In the south of the country, most of the huts are square or rectangular in shape. Going north, the mud huts become round. In the north, you will often hear the term 'soukalas', which denotes a group of round huts connected together by a low wall.

The most characteristic dwellings, however, are still the Tamberma tatas, which are kinds of small fortifications used to house the region's inhabitants.

The Tamberma castles have been recognized as architectural heritage of universal value and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the name of KOUTAMMAKOU, the ‘Land of the Batammariba’.

Togo's cultural diversity makes it a first choice destination for anyone wishing to discover the authentic character of West Africa.

Languages

There are about 50 African dialects but the official language is French, which is spoken by most Togolese. Many people also speak English and a good number speak German.

The two main national languages are Ewe and Kabye.

Although many people also speak English and German, the two main national languages are Ewe and Kabye.

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Five Regions One Country togo

Five Regions
One Country

The Maritime region

The Maritime region extends along the coast with its sandy beaches and coconut trees.

Lomé is renowned for its fine sandy beaches, shady promenades, large daily markets and many tourist attractions: the National Museum, the fetish market, the German cathedral near the Grand Market, architectural monuments, etc...

Aného, 15 km to the east of Agbodrafo, is the spiritual and cultural center of the Guin people. The town is built around a meandering lagoon, and is surrounded by fishing villages and coconut plantations. Aného still has the feel of a 19th century colonial town.

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Facts & Figures

POPULATION: 6.8 million

CAPITAL: Lomé

AREA: 56 600 km2

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: French

NATURAL RESOURCES: Phosphate, Cocoa, Iron

PER CAPITA GDP: US$ 584 (FMI, 2013)

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Togo