Togo is a small West African nation with a developing economy. French is the official language. Tourism facilities are limited, especially outside the capital city of Lome..
A passport and visa are required. Travelers should obtain visas prior to arrival, as only visas of limited validity are available at the airport and some border posts. Travelers applying for visa extensions have experienced significant delays. Travelers may obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Togo, 2208 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008. Telephone (202) 234-4212. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Togolese embassy or consulate.
Togo has experienced periodic violence, strikes, and political tensions since 1990. These periods of unrest often lead to a clampdown by security forces, particularly in Lome. In addition, the government has in the past been known to open/close its border with Ghana from time to time, though this has not happened since early 1999. Motorists should be prepared to stop at numerous police checkpoints in Lome and upcountry. U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. When driving, keep windows rolled up and doors locked. If possible, carry a working mobile phone in your car.
Pickpocketing and theft are common, especially along the beach and in the market areas of Lome. There have also been several carjackings.
Business fraud, usually stemming from Nigerian scam operations, targets Americans and poses dangers of financial loss and physical harm. Persons contemplating business deals in Togo with individuals promoting investment in Nigeria, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information, making financial commitments, or traveling to Togo.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Medical facilities in Togo are limited. There is no emergency medical care. Some medicines are, however, available through local pharmacies. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for health services.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Togo is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Rural roads are generally paved; however, conditions are poor and dangerous with pedestrians and livestock often on the roadways. Overland travel off the main network of roads generally requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Poorly marked armed checkpoints, often manned by undisciplined soldiers, exist throughout the country. Nighttime travel on unfamiliar roads is dangerous. Banditry, including demands for bribes at checkpoints, has been reported on major intercity highways, including the Lome-Cotonou coastal highway.
While driving your vehicle anywhere in Lome, U.S. citizens are urged to be alert to the possibility of staged accidents. Motorbikes have been known to cut in front of a vehicle, cause a collision, and draw a crowd, which can turn hostile if you attempt to leave the scene of the so-called accident. Such encounters are apparently designed to extort money from the vehicle driver. Pedestrians could also cause staged accidents. If at all possible, travel with your doors locked and windows rolled up and have a radio/cellular phone in your vehicle. If you are involved in this kind of accident and can drive away, leave the scene and drive to a safe haven and alert the police or the U.S. Embassy. Above all, drive defensively.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Togolese law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Togo are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Power Shortages: Although Togo is taking measures to increase its energy-generating capacity, power outages are often experienced in tourist facilities, especially upcountry.
Credit Cards: Only certain U.S. credit cards are accepted in Togo. Most major Hotels and the restaurants attached to them accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa; however, smaller Hotels and restaurants do not accept credit cards. Travelers planning to use credit cards should know which cards are accepted before they commit to any transaction. Keep all credit card receipts, as unauthorized card use and overcharging are common.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Togo. The Embassy is at the intersection of Rue Kouenou and Rue Tokmake (formerly known as Rue Pelletier Caventou and Rue Vauban), Lome, telephone (228) 21-29-92 (days) or (228) 21-29-93 (after hours), fax (228) 21-79-52, mailing address is B.P. 852, Lome.
As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Togo, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Togo’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Togo’s air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the Department of Defense (DOD) policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.