My most recent (budget) trip took me overland from Lagos to Lome. 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. The 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 7 pm 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 for the two of us. I probably wouldn’t have paid that much if I knew the costs beforehand. Anyway, w 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 photoshoot 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 motor taxi (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 10 pm 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, benin

After that, Mark dropped me off at the park in Tokpa where I got a bus to Seme border. (Cost: N400). The border crossing went smoothly and I was back home 3 hours and 1,400 naira later.
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.

I love to hear from you, Leave a comment here!


  1. This was a good read for me. I have an event to attend in Lome on Saturday, and together with my brothers, we’d be doing a road trip. Flight from Abuja to Lagos, then by road from Lagos to Lome. I’m excited and nervous too. Excited because I’d be making a vlog, then nervous because… I’m just nervous 😂.

    Wish me well, and let me know what to look out for.

  2. Wow. I just stumbled on your blog today and I love your stories. I love your travel experiences. I want to go on a trip to Benin Republic and Togo this year. I’m so excited. I will sign up on couchsurfing and shoot you a mail afterwards.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  3. Kiereama IB stephen

    I love your work and I enjoyed reading it thanks a lot, now I am ready to make my own adventure but I still need some brushing up to do shaaa I have always wanted to travel but dont have the courage to do it but now I am ready I need more of this.

    • Thanks for your comment, Kiereama. Glad to hear you’re summoning up the courage to travel and wishing you safe travels whenever you decide to begin.

  4. Hi, please help me, I want to travel to bokina faso by road, I don’t know if it’s safe to travel there, and could you please help me with the cost of transportation.

  5. Hi I loved your story.. when was ur last visit outside of Nigeria and how did d covid 19 protocols liken those visits

    • Thanks, Kelvin, I moved to Nairobi last month and wrote a bit about the process with regards to Covid-19 protocols. You can check it out via the home page.

  6. This is interesting…

  7. Dear Amarachi,

    Thank you for the info.

    I am planning a trip for my wife and son, we want to get to Ghana, Togo and Ghana via road.

    Can you help with information that might be of help.

    Thank you.

  8. Hi Amarachi. Am new here, and am happy to stumble on your page. I want to go on same trip first week in September as it’s my birthday week. It’s going to be a short trip too and maybe on same budget too, lol. But i need an accompany/tourist guide. I just want to make it a memorable one for myself plus I love travelling too. Kindly assist!

    • Hi Dayo, welcome to Travel with a Pen. Remember that this is a personal experience and it may differ for you. I would advice for you to budget above N15K for sure. And if you go with a guide, it would certainly cost more.

  9. This is great!I am planning on making a similar trip with my sister.I will contact you.Thanks for the write up

  10. Hello
    I have been reading all your trip experience and it got me excited I would love to give vacation a when is your next adventure, believe me I love adventure and I won’t mind joining you if you don’t mind.

    • Thanks for your comment, Henri. Most of my trips are spontaneous or very personal but if you subscribe to my blog, you will get updates on open trips.