Looking at a map, we’d forgive you if you underestimated how rewarding it can be to visit the small countries of Togo and Benin. However, it must be said that those two tiny specks of land are incredibly rich in encounters and fun activities and truly worth adding to your Africa travel plans.
Getting to Togo & Benin
The most common way to get to Togo & Benin is to fly to Lomé, the capital of Togo. Lomé Airport is Ethiopian Airways secondary hub and as such, receives a plethora of international flights. Since Lomé and Cotonou are so close and linked by a good road, it is still worth considering getting to Lomé first even if your focus is Benin.
That is not to say that Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin doesn’t have any flights. It does have a few flights which might be convenient for your plans, a lot of these flights, however, make a short stop in Lomé anyway.
By land, the two capitals are very close to the borders of the surrounding countries, with the Togo-Ghana border actually being within Lomé and the border between Benin and Nigeria not so far from Cotonou and the political capital of Benin, Porto-Novo. Our local guides can easily pick you up at the borders or airports if you are adding Togo and or Benin to a multiple country project.
Things to do in Togo and Benin
The division between Togo and Benin having been arbitrarily made by colonial powers, a lot of tribes, culture and history goes from one side to the other and as such, a bit of these main things to do can be done on both sides. At YPT, we make sure to avoid the tourist traps and focus on exciting local experiences.
Slave Trade History – Benin and Togo were at the centre of the African slave trade and many African-Americans and African-Europeans can trace their lineage to these countries. To learn more about the tragic history of slave trade, visiting these two countries is a must. The main hub for the slave trade was Ouidah, which can easily be visited as part of a longer tour or as a day trip from Cotonou.
Voodoo Tours – Voodoo truly permeates the whole of Togo and Benin, with its belief system still truly alive. In those two countries, we can take you to visit Witch Doctors, visit temples but also go on treks through the jungle to visit mysterious altars. Visits to fetish markets are also a must-do while here!
Treks – Togo and Benin have a very lush vegetation. Our expert local guides can take you for treks which can be multi-days or as short as a few hours and show you some very interesting fauna and flora as well as explain to you the multiple uses the locals find for them.
Cultural Visits – The border between Togo and Benin is well known for its UNESCO-heritage traditional homes, the Tata-Sombas. Those masterpiece of architecture and functionality should be visited while here as these small mud-castles are truly unique! Apart from that, homestays as well as culinary tours can be arranged to delve into the culture of these countries.
Safari – The safari scene of Benin is truly underrated. At the Pendjari National Park, you’ll get to experience true wildlife. If seeing the big five is your thing but you’d rather skip the crowds and do it in a much more natural environment, then Benin should be your next stop!
Water Sports – The southern parts of Togo and Benin is all sea coast making it a great place for multiple watersports or a well-deserved rest by the beach!
Time to spend in Togo and Benin
It truly depends on your interest and how deep you want to get within these countries but we consider that 4 to 12 days are the ideal time to spend within these two countries. Six days allows you to sample a bit of both countries and their main cities, while 12 days will give you time to also go for a safari and do additional treks