Togo Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time in Togo is GMT.

Electricity: The electrical current in Togo is 220-240 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs are standard.

Money: The unit of currency is the CFA Franc (XOF), which is tied to the Euro and divided into 100 centimes. Only currency issued by the Bank of West African States (Banque des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest) is considered valid. Lomé and other major cities have bureaux de change and banks will also exchange currency; banks are usually open on weekdays. Credit cards are accepted by high-end hotels and restaurants in Lomé and other major cities, but otherwise, cash is king.

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: The official language in Togo is French, but Ewe and Mina are spoken (especially in the south), as well as Kabiye and Dagomba (mainly in the north).

Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals require a visa and a valid passport.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals require a visa and a valid passport.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians require a visa and a valid passport.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australians require a visa and a valid passport.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans require a visa and a valid passport.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals require a visa and a valid passport.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a visa and a valid passport.

Passport/Visa Note: All travellers require a valid passport. A seven-day visa is available on arrival for all travellers. An entry visa is required after the initial seven-day period, which is valid for 90 days. Yellow fever vaccination certificates and three passport photos for visas are required. Proof of a return or onward ticket is necessary, otherwise a refundable deposit to the amount of the normal return airfare must be paid to a bank or the transporting airline. Visitors must also hold all documentation for next destination if continuing from Togo. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after the intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all visitors to Togo over the age of one year. Malaria is prevalent countrywide and insect protection, as well as a prophylactic that has not shown signs of being resisted in the area, are essential. Insect protection is also essential against other insect-borne diseases, like dengue fever. Hepatitis A, polio and typhoid vaccinations are recommended. Cholera is a fairly common disease, though travellers are at low risk. Bilharzia is present, and it is best to avoid swimming in fresh water. African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), meningococcal disease and rabies can also occur. It is recommended that travellers be up-to-date on all routine immunisations. Tap water is to be avoided, unless boiled, filtered or disinfected with chemicals and it is safest to drink bottled water. Avoid drinks with ice. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled; any diary product made from milk should be avoided. Food must be well-cooked, and all fruit and vegetables should be peeled or cooked. Medical facilities are poor, and health insurance is recommended, as is a supply of basic medication (e.g. for travellers' diarrhoea, headaches etc).

Tipping: A service charge is often included in Togo, but if not, 10% is customary. Taxi drivers do not usually expect a tip.

Safety Information: There has been relative calm in Togo since the Presidential elections in April 2005, but civil unrest can occur at any time and some westerners (particularly expatriates) have been the targets of attacks by demonstrators. The threat from terrorism is low. Pick pocketing, theft and carjackings are common in Lomé, especially on the seafront. It is best to travel in groups, especially at night, and the area near the Hotel Sarakawa should be avoided. Attacks have also occurred during the day. Roads can be hazardous and some taxis poorly maintained, so care should be taken. Border entry and exit points can be open and closed without warning, and roadblocks (official and unofficial) can occur, even in city centres. Vehicles, as well as passport/identity documents can be subject to checks by military and police. The ocean currents along the coast can be very strong and there is some risk of drowning.

Local Customs: Voodoo and animism are central to Togolese indigenous beliefs (though a small percentage of the population are Muslim or Christian) and visitors should respect local customs, as well as religious ceremonies and festivals. Beachwear should be restricted to pools and beaches, and casual, practical clothing is the most appropriate. Women should dress modestly in the more strictly Muslim areas.

Business: Togo is a relatively relaxed country and it is acceptable to dress casually to some smaller business meetings, but at formal business meetings, it would be advisable to wear a suit. French is the official language of business and very few people speak English. It is advisable to make appointments in advance of meetings. Business cards are commonplace. Office hours are 7am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Communications: The international dialling code for Togo is +228. City/area codes are in operation. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Mobile phone signal is strongest around urban centres. Wifi can be found at most mid to high range establishments in urban areas.

Duty Free: Visitors over 15 years of age may import 100 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 200g tobacco or 50 cigars, as well as 1 bottle of wine, 1 bottle of spirits, 500ml eau de toilette and 250ml perfume, without incurring customs duty. All fruit and vegetable products require a phytosanitary certificate.