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Togodo NP, Assoukoko Forest & Fazao-Malfakassa NP, Togo

Terrific Togo

£3,550 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: February 10th - February 21st, 2023

Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.

Prices: £3,550 pp sharing (with a £400 single supplement)​, excluding flights.

In a sentence: One of Africa's least visited countries when it comes to ecotourism protects some of its rarest species, including white-thighed colobus and Walter's duiker.

Overview

Togo is rarely on the 'bucket list', even when you speak with experienced African travellers. Overshadowed, perhaps, by the wonderful Pendjari National Park in Benin, and robbed of much of its megafauna by rampant poaching stemming from neighbouring Burkina Faso, it would be easy to discount Togo as an area with promise for sunshine holidays, but little else. This is far from the truth. Punctuated by open savanna ecosystems, but also a few tracts of expansive rainforest and the forest-savanna mosaic that characterises the Dahomey Gap, Togo is dripping with potential. Visitors to areas outside of Lome should know that tourism is in its infancy here - camps are extremely basic, game-viewing can be slow and the hiking can be tough. But with the right mindset, and sufficient determination, you could come away with memories to last a lifetime.

Itinerary

Day One

Lome

On arrival into Lome, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and local guide.  You will transfer to your local hotel, where there will be a pre-tour briefing this evening, with the remainder of the day at leisure.

Day Two

Togodo NP

It is an early start this morning, as we depart just after breakfast for the 3.5 hour drive north-east to the unique ecosystem of Togodo NP. Togodo, historically divided into Togodo North and Togodo South, partly consists of savanna, but also partly of fragmented rainforest. The fact that this rainforest persists is quite remarkable, given the proximity of this area to the major population centre that is Lome. The forest fragments will be our key target this evening, after having had a chance to settle in to our very basic campsite, and we will hike here unti darkness. Our key targets are the white-thighed colobus and red-bellied monkey, although Mona monkey are also possible. As we traverse savanna areas, tantalus monkey and Patas monkey are possible. As we enjoy a freshly-prepared dinner in camp, keep your eyes peeled for West African potto and Senegal galago peering out from the darkness.

Days Three to Four

Togodo NP

We have two full days to explore Togodo on foot, and in a closed vehicle. The best way to seek out white-thighed colobus and red-bellied monkey is undoubtedly to slowly move through the forest, scanning the canopy and making as little noise as possible. Poaching pressure remains high here, and these elusive primates are particularly sensitive to disturbance, but with support from local guides we stand a good chance of some memorable sightings over these two days. With a big chunk of luck we might even record white-bellied or black-bellied pangolin!

Day Five

Assoukoko Forest

We leave Togodo before dawn today, heading north on the six-hour journey to the tiny village of Assoukoko. Assoukoko Forest is very rarely visited, with only the most dedicated birders making the journey to this narrow band of pristine forest on the border with Ghana. This is, in fact, the largest tract of primary rainforest anywhere in Togo, offering hugely rewarding birding and a great chance of viewing smaller mammals including a rich variety of bats and squirrels, including the red-cheeked rope squirrel. Should time permit, our first hike into the forest reserve, over steep and wet terrain, may reveal some of the long-tailed cuckoos for which this area is known.

Days Six to Seven

Assoukoko Forest

The hiking here is challenging but rewarding. Mornings and afternoons will see us walk as deep as we can into the forest, pursuing the many superb birding targets that may be seen here. In particular, we target white-crested tiger-heron and African finfoot in the rivers, and long-tailed hawk and Cassin's hawk eagle in the hillside forests, before returning to our basic campsite each evening.

Day Eight

Fazao-Malfakassa NP

It is a further six-hour drive north today to Togo's most famous protected area, Fazao-Malfakassa. Offering relatively undisturbed Sahelian savanna, we hope on this afternoon's drive to spot our first Buffon's kob, Defassa waterbuck, red-flanked duiker and roan antelope of the tour, and there is the chance of spotting some incredible nocturnal wildlife if we can get permission for a night drive tonight. We will overnight at a basic campsite tonight.

Days Nine to Eleven

Fazao-Malfakassa NP

We have three full days to explore this park at a pace that suits us. Morning, afternoon and evening drives will give us a chance to see several species or subspecies that are endemic to the region, but we will also focus on what is possible Africa's rarest ungulate - Walter's duiker. Endemic to the Dahomey Gap, this ultra-rare species was recently thought possibly extinct until an individual was camera-trapped in a remote part of this park a few years ago - this is undoubtedly the most reliable place to see this species anywhere.

Day Twelve

Lome

Today it is a full-day drive back to Lome for your outbound flight.

Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.

Dates and Prices

This tour will run in February 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season, when travel is easy and wildlife congregates around watter sources. The tour will run from February 10th to February 21st.

The cost of this trip is £3,550 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. There is a single supplement of £400 for this tour. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £1,420 plus any single supplement must be paid.

Flights and Visas

Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Lome at the end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.

British nationals do require a visa to enter Togo. This can be acquired from the Togolese embassy in London for a fee of £35. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your departure from Togo and has at least two blank pages. You will also need to provide documentation confirming you have received a Yellow Fever vaccination, as well as a completed visa application form, a hotel reservation (provided by Pictus Safaris), proof of travel insurance, proof of a return flight, a photocopy of the first two pages of your passport and two recent passport photos.

Weather and What to Bring

The weather in the Togo in February is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 32 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 24 degrees Celsius, although it will feel much colder than this during night drives - be sure to pack warm clothes.

A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat. 

Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing Euros.

Safety and Security

There is currently an active insurgency in northern Togo. We are monitoring this closely and do not expect it to prevent this tour from running.

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