Lomé is the capital and largest city of Togo.
In 1897 Lomé became capital of the German colony Togo.
In 1975 the Lomé Convention was signed between the European Economic Community and 46 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
The main border crossing is Aflao, from Ghana. Visas cost 10,000CFA and are good for 2 weeks. The international airport has direct flights from Casablanca and Paris Tuesdays and Thursdays. Other air traffic exists, but it is sporadic.
Motos are plentiful throughout the capital, and a good distance on a moto will cost you 300CFA. Taxis can be rented from around 500CFA and up, with 2000CFA getting you basically anywhere in town. There are route taxis, costing normally 200-400CFA, but if you are visiting they are difficult to figure out and only ever really used by local folks.
There are rental car agencies downtown, but if you are just coming for a few days motos are your best option.
The beach road runs directly beside the ocean from Ghana to Benin. The Boulevard Circulaire (le 13 Janvier) acts as a main artery through downtown Lomé, a hemisphere that encloses the Marche and Government buildings. It starts at the beach in Kodjoviakope and wraps around to the beach in Bea.
- Togo National Museum (Musee National). Housed in the Palais du Congrès (National Assembly) complex, this museum contains collections, jewellery, musical instruments, dolls, pottery, weapons and many other objects showing the arts and traditions of Togo.
Lomé's biggest attractions are its markets, both the Grand Market with a large 3-storey hall. It sells everything from red peppers, green lemons, and dried fish, to combs, travel bags, and traditional medicinal remedies. On the first floor is the Nana Benz, which is noted for its clothing. and the smaller and more specialized Fetish Market - here are voodoo fetishes, gongons, and gris-gris.
Local street food is plentiful, and a large plate of rice or pate will cost you 200CFA.
Lebanese restaurants are peppered throughout Lomé, with the best being in Kodjoviakope and wrapping around with the Boulevard. Recommended are Al Mohatas by the Route de Kpalime and Al Sultan's in Kodjoviakope. Most plates run 1000 - 2000CFA.
There are two Chinese restaurants, one in Kodjoviakope, the other in Asigame, down the street from the Togocel main offices.
The Galion, a Swiss owned hotel near the beach in Kodjoviakope, has an excellent restaurant serving steaks, salads, deserts, etc. Mains run 3000-5000CFA, but it is worth it.
- La Belle Époque French Restaurant on the backside of the German embassy. Menu of the day from 6500 FCFA, Hamburgers from 1500 FCFA.
- Marox Bena Grill, 24 Rue du Lac Togo, ☎ +228 22 224138. Official name is "Bena Grill", but no one uses this. German-style Schnitzel from 3300 FCFA, fries start at 900 FCFA and a liter of beer will cost you 2200 FCFA.
- Alt München, Boulevard Du Mono (Near the roundabout at the freeport.), ☎ +228 22 276321. Munich cuisine, but a little bit expensive.
- Hamburger du Togo, Avenue Pompidou, ☎ +228 22 64 78 94.
Lomé really comes alive at night, the local Loméians dressing to the nines and going out to the numerous bars and discothèques. There are many western style dance clubs downtown. Two of the best (and most expensive) are Privilege, attached to the hotel Palm Beach and 7Clash, in Dekon on the Boulevard.
For a more relaxed time, check out the beach close to the border with Ghana - seating is plentiful and, if you're lucky, the Castle Milk Stouts are pretty cold. Be sure to get off of the beach soon after nightfall, as it is easily the most dangerous part of the city.
Local drinks can be found if you dig a little deeper. The local brew of choice is Tchouk, locally brewed millet beer. A calabash full at a tchouk-stand costs 100CFA in the city. Other drinks are Deha - palm wine, and Sodabe - Togolese bathtub hooch - grain liquor that burns going down and coming back up. Be wary, it is only for the truly initiated.
Decent hotels (as in there is a bed, sink, and shower) are in northern Lomé and cost about 15,000 to 16,000 CFA (about $30 at the time I travelled). Hotels are a dime a dozen the closer you get to the beach, the most expensive being the 2 Fevrier and Hotel Sarakawa, on the beach road. Amenities are very accommodating, but they are incredibly expensive for Lomé - 100,000+ CFA / night.
There are a few nice hotels with A/C in Kodjoviakope and surrounding areas that will run you 7000 - 15000CFA. Check out The Galion, My Diana's, and for the budget traveller, ask for Mammy's, down the road from the Angolan Embassy (3500CFA per room, rooms fit 2-3).
- Hotel du 2 Fevrier, Place De Independence Bp 131. With its 36 floors this is Togo's tallest building, and is visible from anywhere in the city. It was finished in 1980.
- Hotel Bellevue (Behind German embassy), ☎ +228 22 202240. Has wireless internet access, and a lovely atmosphere with a waterfall running into a small swimming pool. The food is delicious, and it's a pleasant nice place to stay. The owners are French, and very welcoming.
- Ibis Lome Centre Hotel, Avenue du Général de Gaulle, ☎ +228 22 212485. French run and the food is excellent.
- Auberge La Galion. Double rooms. CFA 7000.
Lomé has Internet cafés, and they are cheap. You buy time by the hour (something like a couple dollars an hour), but most of the cafés feature very slow computers and Internet connection speeds.
Note that Togo's telephone numbering plan changed in 2011; see Togo#Connect for details.
- British Honorary Consulate, Rue de Canaris, Be Château, Lomé, ☎ +228 22 22 27 14, fax: +228 274207.
- United States, Boulevard Eyadema B.P. 852, Lomé, ☎ +228 22 61 54 70, fax: +228 261 5501. Mondays-Thursdays: 7:30AM to 5PM, Fridays: 7:30AM to 12:30PM.