Togo

Official name: Republic of Togo

Area: 56,785 square kilometers (21,925 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Agou (986 meters/3,235 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: Noon = noon GMT

Longest distances: 510 kilometers (317 miles) from north to south; 140 kilometers (87 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: 1,647 kilometers (1,023 miles) total boundary length; Benin 644 kilometers (400 miles); Burkina Faso 126 kilometers (78 miles); Ghana 877 kilometers (545 miles)

Coastline: 56 kilometers (35 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 56 kilometers (30 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Togo is a long, narrow country in West Africa, sandwiched between Ghana and Benin. With an area of 56,785 square kilometers (21,925 square miles), it is almost as large as the state of West Virginia.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Togo has no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Located only eight degrees north of the equator, Togo has a tropical climate. The northernmost part of the country, which is farther from the coast, has the greatest variations in temperature. The average high and low temperatures in the northern town of Mango are 35°C (95°F) and 15°C (59°F), compared with 30°C (86°F) and 23°C (73°F) in Lomé, which is on the southern coast.

Togo's climate, while moist, is drier than those of its neighbors on the Gulf of Guinea. The coast receives an annual average rainfall of about 78 centimeters (31 inches), although it has two rainy seasons: one between April and early August, and a second, shorter one in October and November. The plateau region to the north experiences only the April-to-Au-gust rainy season but still averages 100 centimeters (40 inches) of rainfall annually. The heaviest rainfall occurs in the Togo Mountains, which receive an average of around 150 centimeters (60 inches) of rain per year.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

Togo's dominant physical feature is a chain of low mountains that stretches across the country from southwest to northeast. Several different types of terrain lie to the north and south of these mountains. At the southernmost end is a narrow coastal strip, bordered by the low Ouatchi Plateau, which, in turn, gives way to the higher plateau that rises to the mountains. North of the Togo Mountains is yet another plateau, drained by the Oti River and crossed from southwest to northeast by granite escarpments.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Togo is bounded on the south by the Bight of Benin, which is part of the Gulf of Guinea.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The waters off Togo's coast have a strong undertow, making its beaches generally unsafe for swimming; one coastal area, however, is protected by a natural coral reef. Fishing is possible from the shoreline or from boats. Whales can often be seen nearby.

Coastal Features

Togo's narrow coast is fringed with sandy beaches separated from the rest of the land by lagoons and tidal flats, which give this area a swampy character.

6 INLAND LAKES

Lake Togo is the largest of the inland lagoons lining Togo's coast; it is also Togo's largest natural body of inland water.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

The Mono River flows north to south, traversing more than half the length of Togo before flowing into the Gulf of Guinea. Together with its tributaries, it drains most of Togo south of the central mountain chain. North of the mountains is the Oti River, a major tributary of the Volta River and Togo's longest river, traveling a total length of 550 kilometers (340 miles). Besides the Mono and the Oti, Togo's two other major waterways are the Kara River, which crosses the Togo Mountains in the north, and the Haho River in the south, which drains into Lake Togo.

8 DESERTS

There are no deserts in Togo.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

Togo has a flat, low-lying coastal plain, from which plateaus rise gradually to the central mountains. In the far north, there is rolling savannah terrain to the north of the Oti River.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The Togo Mountains, which cross Togo from southwest to northeast, belong to a mountain system that extends from the Atakora Mountains in Benin to Ghana's Akwapim Hills. Togo's highest peak, Mt. Agou, is located at the southern edge of these mountains, rising to a height of 986 meters (3,235 feet).

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

Togo has no significant caves.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

Togo has three different plateaus. The Ouatchi Plateau, which borders the coastal strip, is a transitional belt of reddish, lateritic clay soil. At elevations of between 61 and 91 meters (200 and 300 feet), it ex-tends some 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the edge of the coastal region to a higher plateau drained by the Mono River. This second plateau stretches northward to the edge of the Togo Mountains. North of the mountains, the Oti River drains a third sandstone plateau traversed by granite ridges in the northwest.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

The reservoir of the Nangbeto Dam, on the Mono River at the Togo-Benin border, is Togo's largest inland body of water.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Curkeet, A. A. Togo: Portrait of a West African Francophone Republic in the 1980s. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1993.

Knoll, Arthur J. Togo Under Imperial Germany, 1884-1914: A Case Study in Colonial Rule. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1978.

Packer, George. The Village of Waiting. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.

Web Sites

Lonely Planet: Destination Togo. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/africa/togo/ (accessed April 14, 2003).

Mbendi Information for Africa: Togo. http://www.mbendi.co.za/land/af/to/p0005.htm (accessed April 14, 2003).

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