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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.