Day 53… Wednesday 24th May
Milo is a popular energy drink offered for breakfast as an alternative to tea and coffee. It is similar to a malt drink and it has replaced my coffee fix. 2 hour drive to the border through quiet rural roads. Chose the northern boarder crossing as the reports out there are that this is easier and quieter then the southern Lome crossing. Very smooth process as the Ghana/Togo boarder was a combined crossing so passport stamps, visa and health check done as one not two separate processes. The boarder staff were very relaxed and helpful. Back to French again! Meningitis and covid vaccination certificates requested (first time on this trip). Very quiet boarder. Togo visa was purchased on the spot for 25,000 CFA each (£33). We were ushered into a room with several police officers and the chief police officer stamped the carnet out of Ghana. They were all very friendly. Trying to find the building where you get the carnet stamped into Togo was problematic. We drove around and got stopped by security. After only 5 minutes of driving in Togo, we got pulled over by 2 police officers who wanted money. Fairly jokey and we managed to avoid handing over any (my poor French and the language barrier helps). Toll road into Lomé and once we hit the city, motorbikes were everywhere. Found the Republic of Congo Embassy which annoyingly had just shut for the day so we headed for our hotel. Just about squeezed Greta into the tiny hotel car park and checked in. Took a 10 minute walk up the road to an insurance office. Motorbikes and no proper pavements – all slightly chaotic but found the office and purchased the elusive brown card to cover Greta for the next stage of the journey through Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. We probably won’t be asked for this wretched document now after all this trouble! Found a working ATM (third machine a success). Back to CFA currency. Sampled the local beer, Djama which was very nice and refreshing. One minor gripe are the hotel mattresses from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo are all rock hard. Perhaps this is good for your back but as a side sleeper, this does not bode well for a good night’s sleep. I am looking forward to getting back to camping. Roll on Cameroon.
When attempting to get the carnet stamped into Togo we had to visit the customs building. At first the police tried to send us to the main exit gate, determined that they would stamp it. But thankfully the chap who opens the gate (not the Police officers sitting in the shade) took us to the right place. Once there we did have what is now a common occurrence whereby we had to wait for the officer. But this time instead of being asleep she was eating her lunch. When she finished she was very helpful in stamping and signing the carnet, but I’m pretty sure she hadn’t seen one before as I had to vaguely point and indicate what had to be done, whilst not being entirely sure myself since everyone has a different process. Oh well, we’re stamped into Togo now 😊