Things To Do In Lome
Lome is the capital city of Togo and a fragment of a nation in West Africa that is acclaimed for the cordiality of its people and the splendor of its countryside. This small, narrow city stretches inland from the sweltering coast of the Gulf of Guinea. From the swamps and lagoons of the south, a plateau rises to the central mountains. Beyond these, in the north lie dry grasslands. About half of Lome’s export wealth comes from the mining of phosphates, but most of the population works on small farms owned by groups of families. They grow yams, corn and cassava. The main people are called the Ewe, Mina, and Kabre. Many came to this region as long ago as the Middle Ages, fleeing from wars in neighboring countries. Its main religions are Islam, Christianity, and traditional beliefs (voodoo). The official language is French.
When To Go:
Lome’s atmosphere ranges from tropical in the southern part and savannah I the northern side. Heavy rainfall usually occurs from May to October. The summer and drought season normally arrives from the middle of July up to the end of September. The months of February to April is the most ideal time to visit the capital city of Togo, while November to February is the driest and also a perfect time to spend a vacation there. Avoid the rainy season because most of the roads become inundated or impassable after a heavy downpour due to floods.
The following attractions and things to do are what awaits you when visiting the city of Lome, Togo:
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A visit to the Grande Marche is a beautiful experience while in the city of Lome. It is a great market that is strategically located near the big beach in Lome. You will find everything that you need here starting from; textiles, food, shoes, spices, souvenirs, handicrafts, etc. It is a very large bazaar. The only drawback when visiting this market is the unbearable heat since the stores are so close to each other and the huge number of people that visit the market. It is definitely a great place to buy beautiful and colorful African fabrics. You can browse for what you need and haggle for negotiated prices and you will be satisfied with your purchases. A visit to the Grand Market is a mandatory thing to do while in Lome because this is the central point of all the trading and economy of Togo. You will also find nearby Supermarkets like Ramco and the Coco Beach area where you will find lots of maquis (local diners).
A visit to the central market is worth it to know a little about the culture in Togo and at the same time see all the diversity of products available. Unfortunately one of the places where the market was installed before caught fire for some time. Strolling in the market gets to be a little difficult because there are many people, cars and motorbikes, all mixed in one place. This must be done if one passes Lomé, like a rite of passage, but some days there are so many people and it becomes difficult to move. But it is also the nation’s pride, their fair advantage of the African culture. So the next time you'll be traveling in Africa, specifically in Togo, take a ride to see this great center of culture and trade. This is a must when in Lome; the colors, flavors, smiles, a great atmosphere that is close to the sea and more. Go check it out!
Marche Aux Fetiches
The Marche Aux Fetiches is one of the goals required of any trip or a visit to any work in Lome. the place is full of odd and curious things that are somewhat interesting and quite unsuitable for sensitive souls. This market, however, allows the curious traveler to find out something about the traditional religions of the place. The vision of severed heads of animals (horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, etc.) is pretty raw. The stench of carrion some still in the process of decomposition / putrefaction (all used for traditional medicine) does not help to overcome the visions described above.
If you ask locals around here and see it from their perspective this market is more of the "pharmacy of the Voodoo rites". While going around this market you will learn that voodoo is part of the Togolese culture, and for the market fetishists this is the place not to be missed.
If you believe in black magic and voodoo it's a great place to be educated to the functionality of fetishes. But if you have a chance to visit the shop of Abomey and Ouidah, you will have a guide who will educate you about the religious aspects of voodoo and away from the “black magic” impression that some believe when the word voodoo is mentioned. If you do not like the smell of rotten birds or skins, ignore this market.
The National Museum is not very large but it is divided into two; the historical and ethnographic one. It has many objects, but it lacks markers and guides. It would be helpful to have more explanation of what you see in order to appreciate the significance and importance. The petite museum has no air conditioning, loaded with rich content , but lacks further description, and certainly needs to be further developed. Too bad the museum has almost seems abandoned. You can still visit the museum to support its existence.
The National Museum is authentic with its pre-colonial history, ancient relics, areas that show the basic life in the rural regions of Togo. There are some wonderful wooden sculptures of musical performers and local weavers. It also shows images of traditional dancers wearing horns, scarves, and brightly colored beaded skills. All shows are in French (Togo’s official language). Nonetheless, it is worth spending time in case you're looking for something to see and learn within one hour.
Musee International du Golfe de Guinee
The Musee International du Golfe de Guinee is a small museum that is housed in a private bungalow. This museum contains a private collection of West African art of varying quality. It has a total of three to four smaller rooms to visit, and the courtyard of the bungalow. The artworks are close to each other and fill the small exhibition rooms.
The downside is the didactic explanations of the artworks are not offered and some items are often missing their label plates. Do not miss seeing this museum that faces the Gulf of Guinea and carries one of the great Eco-tourism sites in Lome. The Togolese people here are friendly, the atmosphere is warm, and the guides are competent. If you are planning to visit, list down its full name and address because most taxi drivers do not know where the museum is.
Monument de l'independence
The Monument de l'independence stands right in the center of Lome and is certainly a place that is hard to miss. The monument is surrounded by a well-manicured lawn, a fountain with clear and clean water, a few palm trees in the right place, very neat, and calm making this place an oasis that is worth seeing. The monument serves as a tribute to Togo's autonomy from France (April 27,1960). The structure has the shape of an individual cut inside it and is encompassed by paved walking areas, well tended gardens, wellsprings with dark and gold metal fences. It is a taxi ride away from the city center . It is an extraordinary spot to take good photos. The recreation center serves as a venue for national events and festivals. However, no one is allowed to enter the fenced area of the monument, but you can clearly see the engraved details that is inscribed in and around this famous monument in Lome.
To better understand the story of this landmark attraction in the city you must know about its interesting history. For about 400 years since the arrival Portuguese explorers in the 1400s until the 1800s, Togo along with its other cities and Lome was caught up in the slave trade business and earned the name “Coast of Slaves”. German missionaries and traders arrived in the mid 1800s and Germany gradually took over Togo. During World War I, the country was occupied by Great Britain and France. The area that Great Britain controlled was initially called the British Togoland and became part of the Gold Coast (now called Ghana) in 1956. The French Togoland became independent in 1960. The following years saw rivalry and political clashes between the north and the south with extended periods of military rule. The multiparty elections held in 1993 were won by President Eyadema, but his regime was soon replaced by opposition forces and parties and had him ousted while still in power.
The Village Artisanal is a couple of shops spotted inside a substantial yard. There are more than twelve stalls installed here with a great variety of things to offer like; icon statues, religious images, wooden models , Painting cards, book markers, artworks, Togo paintings, potteries, old costumes, ceramics and so on. It is very calm inside this village of skilled workers, there is no pressure on you to buy and neither one will annoy or ask you and insist to buy their craft. If someone approach you and offer guide services, it is advisable to avail of it for you to be able to understand the cause and goal of this village. All artisans are extremely average and affable. The village is located about 400 meters away from the northern side of Ramco Supermarket. If you need gifts to bring back home, choose to buy it all here.
It is priced considerably lower and the final price can also be negotiated with for a lower value. If you purchase more than one thing, they gladly give discounts for your next purchase for another item. You will be entertained well by the skilled artisans who are at work with creative looking and fancy colored batik textiles and fabrics, and cowhide craft works. You will witness the entire process and they will answer your questions about the batik dyeing task if you have one.
There is a reasonable choice of African materials and it is shown in stalls instead of spread or placed in the ground. The artisan market is genuinely clean and some of the sellers talk good English. Dissimilar to numerous markets in Lome, the merchants here don't pressure anyone, plus, more of them are gracious and ready to answer questions. If you meander through this market alone you will feel safe and secured if you walk along with a local. In the event that you are searching for trinkets of Togo this is the perfect spot to find it.
The Coco Beach of Lome offers a beautiful view of the ocean and coconut palms while you relax under the parasols with a drink in one hand and a serving of the best Togolese cuisine courtesy of its owner. Credits goes to the new owners who manage to keep a beautiful private beach after the political turmoil and kept safe, it is also a great place for families.
The owner offers self catering of buffet service of fishes bought directly on the beach which are delicious. Specialties includes; shrimp, lobster, and grilled fish. The owner is also a tour guide and he can arrange interesting excursions all around the city of Lome. Or bring you to other interesting parts of the nearby Gulf of Guinea.
The Betamaribe community exists on both sides of the fringe in the middle of Togo and its neighboring country- Benin. Betammaribé actually signifies as the group of "individuals who manufacture produce while working the wetland." The expression "Somba", which additionally describes them signifies "great artisan." Their homesteads are detached and not grouped in tight communities and they generally have two levels. The house is noticeably symmetrical, as per an East-West hub, the "south" side is that the sacrosanct and the side of man.
The same applies to the loft patio: the south is where they save a few millet, rice and sorghum harvests dubbed as the "male" seeds, while to the north the "female" seeds, beans, peas, potatoes and peanuts are put away. The entryway (which did not exist in the most recent century, since the porch can only be accessed by the adjacent sliding scale) is confronting west, far from overwhelming precipitation and harmattan.
The Lomé Beach is an uncommon place in the city mainly because of its sheer size, armed with more length than width: it gives an exceptional touch to the capital of Togo without being an agreeable spot. The sun here is un excessively extreme for a sunbathing session, also irritating as what the locals told. Swimming is not suggested during the heavy rain fall season because of the strong undercurrent and energy of the sea waves in the Gulf of Guinea.
Likewise, it is still an outstanding area for the eager fisherman who like this area and can still physically pulling up their manual fishing implements. If you need to take photographs of them while working it is definitely ok. You can spend time watching the hustle and bustle of the local life here and also observe all the upcoming boats approaching its narrow port harbor. This beach is lined with coconut trees that provide enough shade. There is no beach infrastructure but there are some hawkers who will insist you buy food , drinks, or fruit.
Lomé, Togo's capital, appears to live a financial blast because of the progressive development in its port movement. The city never stops improving, it has become sprawling, with broadening of streets at the cost of little organizations and help of the business sector and investors. Numerous kilometers of streets rather occupied with its chaotic traffic, while a two-route avenue along the limitless sandy shoreline stands majestic on which most fisherman from the city keeps pulling over and over, by hand, an overwhelming and catch filled net. On the shoreline of the Downtown Lome you can see women who are drying clothing and later, between the interstate and the harbor dividers, and little market enclosures.
Lome is conversely a gathering of great number of avenues in the ground, a ton of cruisers in the waters, autos of all ages from old to new and tremendous billboards, neon advertising, and posters touting the most recent technological or gadget products, which demonstrate show the latest sleek models and in front of that is the sight of locals who need to survive and work daily with their meager means of livelihood. If you are ready to see the beauty of nature and simplicity of the people (aside from their peculiar beliefs about voodoo and black magic despite the clear signs of modernity), visit the city of Lome, Togo. Lome is city that is still hounded by the mistakes of the past and without many attractions to see, but still worth a visit.