Getting there from Accra is easy. Take a tro-tro from Tudu to Aflao (takes 3.5 hours), then you walk across the border and it’s just a short trip into the centre of Lome. Officialdom was painless (although a Ghana officer did ask Ian rather suspiciously why we were going to Lome, and implied that we should have got an extension of our stay instead). On the Togo side, we had to fill in a form and pay a fee of (we think) 10,000 Togolese francs each, which is roughly £12 at current exchange rates. No queuing, all very simple and easy. But once over the border there was a high level of hassle from beggars and taxi drivers trying hard to rip us off. We didn’t like the atmosphere at all.
We stayed at the Ibis Lome Centre (pictures and details on our blog togo-or-not-to-go). It was very close to the beach, but the info we’d gleaned before setting out implied that the beach area was dangerous. Further along the coast road was the other hotel referred to in the blog, called the Palm Beach. It was smarter than the Ibis, and had a very pleasant bar (nuts with your drinks, and a piano, though it wasn’t played while we were there). The restaurant upstairs was fine, but rather creepy as we were the only people in there.
There are very few sites of interest in Lome. We knew this, but had been told it was good for restaurants and shops – I can only say that we didn’t find them! We ate in the two hotels mentioned because we saw hardly any decent-looking restaurants. Not many shops either – a large market certainly, but again a high hassle factor, people pushing you to look at their wares.
The fact that the hotel warns you about frequent attacks in the surrounding area was not encouraging, and made us feel rather uneasy when walking around. One morning we went to see the Independence Monument, but before we got anywhere near it Ian was told (by a passer-by, and then by a policeman) that filming was not allowed.
All in all, you’ll have gathered that we were not impressed with Lome! Before going we anticipated a relaxing weekend based in a pleasant hotel. It had not occurred to us to go beyond the city itself. However, we discovered (too late) that there were more interesting places we could have gone on a tour, and with hindsight wished we had done so (although the weather might have prevented us that particular weekend).
Sandie & Ian