Bicycle Togo bicycle tour, adventure travel

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Tata Somba (click to enlarge)

Togo / Benin Cultural Program

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Unique Programs To Special Places For Memories Of A Lifetime!

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The diversity characterizing Togo and Benin is considerable. This explains its ability to offer visitors beautiful sites, colorful fauna and flora, hilly mountainous landscapes, green valleys and dry plains as well as beaches and the sun throughout the year. Togo and Benin offer a surprising diversity of landscapes and localities, ranging from the fevered atmosphere of the streets of Lomé to the serene savannah of the North and abundant coastal vegetation.

Lome is known for it beaches of fine sand, its shady trees, and its diverse ambiance. Among the top attractions are the German Cathedral, the Akodessewa fetish market, the National Museum, and the highly reputed Grande Marché, center for much day-to-day commerce.

In the central region, many cities and towns are veritable garden cities by virtue of theirs numerous mango and flamboyant trees. In Bassar, in the heart of the central region and adjacent to the Malkafassa forest, are the remains of one of West Africa's oldest iron smelting industries, where clay blast furnaces are still maintained by the local people. Also of interest is the Bapure River, with its sacred crocodiles and the local dance and musical styles are unique.

The Kabye people, one of the most populous ethnic groups in Togo, are found in the Kara region. They are commonly called stone farmers due to their ability to farm on rocky lands. The Kabye's have turned this region into an important agricultural center where they grow yams, millet, cotton, groundnuts as well as mangoes and other fruits.

bicycling past Tembera/Otimari houses, TogoIn Koutammakou, the impressive traditional architecture of the Batammariba,  chateau Tambera ("Takienta" or "Tatasamba"), is a highlight of visitors discovering this region (a World Heritage Site).

One of the richest sites in the regional is Abomey with its collections of historic palaces, temples, shrines, artifacts and folklore of the Kings of the Abomey Kingdom (a World Heritage Site). Visiting and touring the area your emotions will range from amazement by the sophistication to shock from its fierceness.

Roads lined with coconut trees and typical fisherman's dwellings, runs along the coast connecting the capitals Benin and Togo. The maritime region of West Africa is the cradle land of much to the traditional religion and music that many Westerners associated with Africa. It is not coincidence, because this is also the region that supplied much of the human cargo of the trans-Atlantic stave trade, which allowed these religious and cultural traditions to seep into the culture of the America such as Santeria, jazz and gospel music.

With an innate gift for sculpture, the adherents of traditional religions carve wooden statues depicting divinities. The maritime and plateau regions are particularly noted for their excellence in the plastic arts and one can best appreciate this reputation by seeing the artists transform a single piece of mahogany, ebony or teak into attractive tables, armchairs or extraordinary figures. Decorative wood burning flourishes in the northeastern part of the country. Calabashes beautifully and artistically embossed with geometric symbols catch the eye; one can also find among the Bassars and Kotokolis certain chiefs' houses with similar decorations. Body decorations, scarifications and traditional hair plaiting and hairstyles, and costumes, which have always been the objects of decoration, are now attracting renewed interest. Modern plastic arts such as painting, collage or batik are represented in Togo; several Togolese and Beninois artists enjoy fame and reputation abroad for their talents. Of particular interest to visitors is the making of the Kente cloth, a flowing ceremonial garment worn by Ewe men on special occasions (made by weaving cotton into narrow, geometrically patterned strips just four inches wide).

The program ends in Lome, where the Rue Foch and the "Arts Street" are good places to shop for souvenirs. Street vendors and small shops carry a wide variety of arts and crafts items that include imports from all over West Africa as well Togolese products.

Togo and Benin's appeals to visitors is the people and their traditions and folklore. Especially related to traditional religion ("animism"), the spiritual world of so many West African cultures and the sculptures and textiles. People fall in love with the process of bargaining in a market and the sort of interaction it involves. The product is a keepsake, not necessarily to ‘show off’ your travels, but to enrich your environs -- tokens of other cultures as a daily reminder that there are many ways people live in this world.

Bicycle Tour Fact Sheet

TOGO / BENIN: West Africa People-To-People

Schedule:  Usually in November or December (not currently scheduled) (see also Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana)
Program Price (lodging, two meals/day, guide, museum fees and more): US$1490 (less than six people add $100) (airfare is not included). Average out of pocket expenses per program $100 plus or minus $50.
Description: Day 1-2: Explore Lome and take a bus to northern Togo. Day 3-4: Cycle through a string of villages with their daily routines of agriculture, commerce and education. Day 5-7: The area of the Tembera and Samba ethnic groups, both of whom are known for their castle-like village architecture. Day 8-9: Transport to Abomey and explore the shrines, palace, museums and market of the historic town. Day 10-14: Ride to the coast, visit historical Ouidah, traditional religious shrines, relax on the beach and end the program in Lome.
Features: Small group, self-contained bicycle program from Northern Togo to the coast, through Benin. Highlights include rural life-styles & culture of the Tembera, Otamari and Dahomey, unique architectural forms, historic sites, a little wildlife, markets, art, people and beaches.
Starting/Ending Point: Lome, Togo.
Skill Level: Suitable for fit Beginner/Intermediate/Expert.
Mileage Daily / Total: 18-56 miles / 580km, 350 miles.
Cycling Conditions: 20% dirt roads, mixed terrain, generally rolling, rarely steep for long.
Accommodations: Mostly small hotels (some rustic), no tent camping.
Van Support: None. Local transport is generally plentiful when it needs to be called upon.
Meals Included: Two meals per day, generally breakfast and dinner (meat, chicken, rice, beans, pasta, potatoes).
Other Activities: bus, walking
Bike: Mountain bike or touring bike suitable.    Bike Rental: Not available.
Registration Information

TOGO (Akposso): West Africa: People-To-People

Schedule: Usually in November, (not currently scheduled).  (see also Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Ghana)
Program Price (lodging, two meals/day, guide, museum fees and more): US$1490 (less than six people add $100) (airfare is not included). Average out of pocket expenses per program $100 plus or minus $50.
Description: Day 1-2: Explore Lome. Day 3-6: Cycle to Plateau de Danyi, visiting artisans centers, markets and development projects in route. Day 7-8: Enjoy a couple of days living in a Akposso village. Day 9-11; Cycle through the central core of the country, back towards the coast. Day 12-14: Visit traditional religious shrines, the beach and return to Lome.
Features: Small group, self-contained bicycle program of Togo, featuring traditional Ewe culture and religion, a stay in a traditional Akposso village, markets, crafts, art, a little wildlife, people and beaches.
Starting/Ending Point: Lome, Togo.
Skill Level: Suitable for fit Beginner/Intermediate/Expert.
Mileage Daily / Total:
18-56 miles / 500km, 310 miles.
Cycling Conditions: 25% dirt roads, mixed terrain, generally rolling, rarely steep for long.
Accommodations: Mostly small hotels (some rustic), no tent camping.
Van Support:
None. Local transport is generally available.
Meals Included:
Two meals per day, generally breakfast and dinner (meat, chicken, rice, beans, pasta, potatoes).
Other Activities:
walking, bus
Bike: Mountain bike or touring bike suitable.    Bike Rental: Not Available.

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