26/08/2010 – Mt Klouto to Kara – Route taken: Kpalime, Atakpame, Sokode, Kara – 220 miles

Got in an early walk for a few hours. The mist had moved in, making viewing difficult, so we opted for a walk of the nearby forests. Another insight into village life in the rainforest and good to see some different trees and plants growing. We were given a cocoa pod by the guide and ate the inner pod as we walked along. Very tasty and we were surprised how sweet it was.

We dropped out of the mountain and headed north after the walk. We followed a diversion until we hit the Route National in Sokode. We followed a taxi for ages battering along the dusty track with its boot wide open with a basket hanging out the back. The driver stopped after a while to sort it out and we bombed on past. The route from Kpalime to Sokode is the worst road in Togo, but it does follow the stunning Danyi Plateau for the first part of the journey.

We stopped in Sokode for food, and grabbed some beef brochettes and some super hot chilli hot sauce which gave it some life. Washed down with a giant bottle of Sprite.

Shock, horror – no police stops today. As we headed into Muslim Togo, mosques became visible on the roadside. As we got closer to Kara, the scenery was even better.  It’s amazingly green here, being just after the rains.

25/08/2010 – Togoville to Mt Klouto – Route taken: Togoville, Lome, Kpalime, Mt Klouto – 111 miles (camped at Campement de Klouto)

Heading north, we aimed for the forested hills around Mt Klouto (716m), 12km north of Kpalime up a winding road built by the Germans. We were headed here to take in a walk to the top of the mountain as we break up the journey north. The area is known for its waterfalls and butterflies.

An easy journey there, and as the roads got narrower, the traffic thinned out. We got stopped twice on the way. We were convinced the first police man who stopped us was drunk. It was nine in the morning. He peered through the window on Bun’s side and asked if we had anything for him. I pointed to my imaginary watch and pointed straight ahead to say we need to get on and we haven’t anything for you!

The next man, pointed to himself and four other colleagues and said ‘have you any money for us?’. Good excuse this time as we were driving into Lome and said we were heading straight to the first  a.t.m to get some money out. He gave up and let us go.

We stopped a the Shell garage and stocked up on a few things. The garages here have everything. Lots of French products. Good wine, French bread and a West African favourite, cashew and peanuts sold in old whiskey bottles.

We have to avoid the fan milk sellers (main ice cream company, also sold in Ghana as well), who are everywhere and sell juices and frozen ice cream from  trolleys they push along the side of the road. They have a hooter attached to them to attract business.

Bun goes for the chocomilk and I’m a sucker for the vanilla ice cream. They hand it to you wrapped in a tiny piece of newspaper so you don’t freeze your hands. Often a good chance to kill some time when you are stuck in traffic as you can usher them over from the pavement.

Stunning scenery as we headed north. Kpalime is Togo’s bread basket, so very green and lush with fruit sellers everywhere. Also known for its coffee plantations and cocoa.

Before heading up the hill, we stopped in Kplalime to go to Macumba, a popular local restaurant to try the guinea fowl. Huge portions are normal in Togo. We were amused by the locals coming in for lunch who were ordering lots of red wine and huge bottles of Guinness

We will get a walk in tomorrow morning for three hours with a guide who we met when we arrived.

24/08/2010 – Lome to Togoville – Route taken: Lome, Aneho, Togoville – 67 miles (camped at Hotel Nachtigal)

Based on the shores of lake Togo, Togoville is a small village, originally known as Togo, but it changed its name after the entire country was named Togo. A voodoo heartland and it has a sacred forest on the outskirts of the village.

After picking up our visa extension we only had time to go a short distance from Lome so headed there for the night. We had a walk around after we got there, checking out the lake and the village.

Fetishes are placed outside of houses as a sign that voodoo is practised here. In Togo it is one of three main religions, including Islam and Christianity. We are looking out for an opportunity to see a ceremony in Togo or Benin.

We’ve been listening to: Matthew Herbert – One One