A Journey through 3 Countries on a N15k Budget!

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My most recent (budget) trip took me overland to another West African country. This time, I visited Togo. After trying couchsurfing for the first time in Benin Republic, I decided I would give it another shot during this trip.

[Read: A Journey through 2 Countries on a N20k Budget!]

Rather than create a public trip as I did before (when I was a JJC), I pretty much followed Mark’s advice from this post and crafted a message to my would-be host in Lome. She got back to me quickly, I confirmed my travel dates a day before the trip, packed up a small bag, kicked aside my nervous feelings and prepared for an interesting journey into Lome.

Day One: Lagos to Lome

lome, Togo

lome, togo

I set out early and followed the same route to Seme border as I did before. I took a bus from my home to Mile2 and then another into Badagry and later to Seme border. The entire trip cost me N800. Border crossing was a breeze this time. To my surprise, I was asked for nothing on the Nigerian side and they wasted no time in stamping my passport.

When I got to immigration on the Benin side, the lady stamped my passport immediately and then asked for N500. I was in the process of negotiating my way through this when someone walked in to get his passport stamped. I struck off a conversation with him (Chuka* – not his real name) and found out that he was driving to Ghana in a bus with a few empty seats.

He offered to drop me off in Lome – for free! (This would normally cost an equivalent of N5,000N7,000, travelling in a shared public taxi from Seme town or N15,000, travelling in a standard bus from Lagos). I eventually got out of immigration without making any payment, checked out the bus and was comfortable to go with it.

lome, togo

We arrived in Cotonou quite early but had to wait for a few hours to fix an issue with the bus. There, I got chatting with new friends. There were two exchange students from Switzerland travelling to Ghana and a Ghanaian woman, who made the wait pass by very quickly.

We eventually arrived in Lome at about 7pm and I tried without success to get to my host. I probably wasn’t pronouncing her address right, so all the bike guys I asked said they didn’t know where it was. Eventually, I resigned to staying in a guest house recommended by Chuka and that cost an equivalent of N4,000/night.

lome, togo

I later got a sim card (N1,562) to update my host about the situation. She couldn’t locate me either, so we agreed to meet the next day. That evening, the owner of the guest house assigned her brother to take me out to dinner and show me around the day after.

lome, togo

lome, togo

We had acheke and fish which cost the equivalent of N3,500 then returned to the guest house afterwards to call it a night.

Day Two: Lome and an Impromptu Return to Cotonou

lome, togo

The next day, I woke up late and found out that I couldn’t meet my host anymore or get to Kpalime – a place I really wanted to visit – because it was quite far from Lome. I decided to just walk around the city instead. After breakfast, I set out on my own and visited a few sites around.

lome, togo

First, I went to the Independence square. It was locked but open for a mini photo shoot ? with the local photographers who helped to take my pictures here. I also got to practice my french and I don’t think I did too badly. In fact, I’m actually proud of myself, haha!

lome, togo

Anyway, I just walked around and enjoyed the scenery.

lome, togo

On my way back to the guest house, I decided to stop over for lunch at the beach. A motortaxi (okada) rider was kind enough to give me a free ride there and also provided his services as my photographer ?.

lome, togo

lome, togo

lome, togo

I was told the structure in this picture has been in existence since WWII

I walked around some more and eventually headed back to the guest house. To my surprise, Chuka was there, heading back to Lagos. I had originally intended to leave Lome early the next morning but my plans changed with the presentation of a free bus ride out of the city.

I quickly texted Mark (from my first trip to Cotonou) and asked if he could host me for the night. Luckily, he was available, so I packed my bags and jumped on the bus. We arrived in Cotonou by 10pm and I got yet another free bike ride to Fidjrosse where Mark picked me up from.

He made us a delicious dinner and was the perfect host, the second time around.

fidjrosse, benin

Day Three: Ganvie, Cotonou & Lagos

The next morning, we visited Ganvie, a lake village in Benin located about 30 minutes away from Cotonou, took a boat tour around the village – that was pretty cool and then returned to Cotonou to have lunch.

ganvie, benin

ganvie, benin

ganvie, beninThe (second) Venice of Africa. Makoko is #1!

After that, Mark dropped me off at the park in Tokpa where I got a bus to Seme border. (Cost: N400). Border crossing went smoothly and I was back home 3 hours and 1,400 naira later.
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This trip eventually cost me less than N15,000 (Thanks to Chuka and Mark) but I budgeted higher.

PS: I wrote about my first trip to Benin Republic here: A Journey through 2 Countries on a N20k Budget!
I really hoped you enjoyed reading this. Let me know what you think in the comment section below. ?. Would you be visiting any West African countries soon? If you already have, I would love to hear about your experiences.

17 Comments

  1. Lol………..this your travel story shaa, so spontaneous and adventurous.

    I like this nature and like the fact that there are young women like that out there, i hope to with people like that.

  2. Hi Amarachi,
    I am stalking your blog again while I am planning my trip to west Africa,
    This trip was a breeze for you and so much helpful and kind people out there who helped you. It is great to see that this world is not as bad as portrayed on the news; they’re still some generous and loving souls in out-there.

    What was your initial budget for this trip?
    Do you have the details of the guesthouse you stayed in?
    Thanks for sharing, really enjoying your blog posts
    🙂

    • I was so blown away by the amount of kind gestures I received on this trip. Still doing my best to pay it forward.

      Since this was a low budget trip, I was hoping to spend around 40K naira. This didn’t account for the extortion at the border, so I was really lucky I got that ride into Lome. As for the guest house, I don’t remember the name but it is located just by the ABC terminal in Lome.

  3. Hi,

    I love traveling and your experience really interest me…I would love to work with you on your next adventure and I will also like you to enlighten me more about traveling finance

    • Hi Tito, thanks for visiting my blog. In what capacity would you want to work with me? Please send me a direct email to further discuss that and I’ll also proffer some advice regarding travel finance via the same medium.

  4. Please help me, I want to go to Ghana but I don’t have a passport. Please how much can cost me?

    • Hello Hoseni, while you *technically* can travel without a passport, I wouldn’t advice that you do so. You should try to get your international passport or ECOWAS passport at least for your trip. Not sure how much it costs to get one these days, you’ll have to contact the immigration authorities for this.

  5. Great read! I have enjoyed reading your posts and I now have the courage to visit Benin too. Cheers.

  6. Amarachi Goodness

    Hi my name sake(Amarachi)….I love travelling and your experience really interest me…I would love to work with you on your next adventure and I will also like you to enlighten me more about travelling finance

    • Hey Amarachi, thanks for stopping by. I don’t have anything planned out at the moment but I can let you know if you send me an email or better still, subscribe to my monthly newsletter. I usually give insights to what I plan on doing.

      As for travelling finance, I can share a few things with you by email as well. PS: I’m no expert though. Also, you can check Ufuoma’s blog (theufuoma.com), she has a travel finance series up on it.

  7. Hehe… decided to visit your blog after a long break… Good to know I featured this time. Great job!!

  8. I want to travel and these your posts are very interesting. Please assist..

    • Thanks Damilola. What do you need help with? I have a few guides and cost breakdown here, so you can look around to find articles that will help plan your trip.

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