[ Dapaong, Togo ]
Greetings Transglobalistas, and a hearty ‘Salut’ from northern Togo!
When last we spoke I was wheeling my way out of Ghana, through the mud and rain. Everything changed at the border: paved roads, blue skies, and rolling green hills. The immigration entry process was the easiest I have experienced the entire trip; the officers asked where I was going, shrugged, and stamped my passport. No money, no instructions, no suspicious musings about madmen living on bicycles. Nothing. If I hadn’t researched the process myself, it would probably have led to trouble–you have seven days to report to an immigration office somewhere in the country, pay your fees, and get the actual visa stamps (about which more anon).
My first night in Togo was spent in a market village called Bangeli–as usual presenting myself at the chief’s home and asking permission to camp. This time the chief was out of town, but his wife (perhaps, I don’t pry) directed me to stow my bike and relax while they finished preparing dinner. (I did as I was told for a while, but felt guilty and eventually helped the children remove the pulp and seeds from a huge vat of African Locust Bean pods–see pics for more info.)
The next morning I got an early start for Kara, about 75km away to the east. The roads are in excellent condition, and even with the constant climbing I had a joyful ride all the way to the final police checkpoint near the city. Not surprisingly (because Africa, eh) one of the officers told me I’d be welcome to stay with him and his brother while I was in town. Sweet!
That was a few days ago. My original plan was to get my visa and head south to Lome, but…for whatever reason the Visa Genie has smiled upon me again, granting me an unasked-for one year, multiple entry visa (the usual is 30 days, Single Entry). This opens up interesting options for crossing back and forth between Togo and Benin as I work my way south. IF I can scrape up the funds for the Benin visa (100 euros for 3 month, multiple entry).
While I’m trying to get it all sorted, I left my things in Kara and grabbed local transport REALLY far north. Can’t say where yet, but it’s gorgeous and I plan to explore the environs for the next few days. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, here are a few pics from the first day and a half on this side o’ the border.
Namaste & Peace out,