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SUMMARY
+ Consistent, long-range swell
+ No crowds
+ Friendly people
+ Exploration possibilities
+ Voodoo culture
- No epic spots
- Light onshores
- Rain in swell season
- Malaria
- Expensive flights
Northcore



Togo, Togo, AFRICA


Lomé-Rivage, Stuart Butler

Surf Spots

Lome-Rivage
Anecho

The Surf

The West African countries of Benin and Togo are largely off the map for both surfers and travellers. The two tiny nations, home to voodoo and friendly beachbreaks, offer a tropical climate and consistent, uncrowded surf potential. Whilst both destinations are unlikely to warrant a surf trip on the quality of their waves alone, for visitors to neighbouring Ghana, Benin and Togo offer an escape into a unique and magical culture. The Beninese/Togolese coast is made up of a series of steeply shelving beaches, almost entirely backed by lagoons that themselves sometimes play host to floating villages. The best waves break where a natural or manmade feature creates sandbanks, breaking up the endless shore-pound.



When to Go

The coastlines of Bénin and Togo receive surprisingly consistent swell, and during the May-Sept wet season there are usually rideable waves. The south-facing coastline means that both countries pick up long-distance southern-hemisphere swells, and having travelled halfway around the world they are super-clean and orderly, with long lulls between sets. The massive distance these swells travel means that there is a considerable decrease in swell size, and wave faces very rarely get above 6ft (2m). The main problem with the wet season is that the wind is a light onshore S-SW almost all the time. Perfect offshore conditions are a feature of the dry season, but swells are much rarer. Experienced West African surfers consider October or November to be the best months. Tides are small, but low tide can make a real difference to the quality of the beachbreaks.

SURF STATISTICS
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell S -S S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW S -S
swell size (ft) 1-2 2-3 3-4 4 2-3 1-2
consistency (%) 40 60 70 80 60 40
dominant wind S -W S -W S -W S -W S -W S -W
average force F3 F3 F3 F3 F3 F3
consistency (%) 68 83 81 94 88 79
water temp (C) 27 28 27 24 25 27
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Population
6M

Coastline
56km

Timezone
GMT + 1

Travel Information

Weather

Bénin and Togo have hot, wet tropical climates, dominated by a strong southwest monsoon between April and October when heavy rainfall (1312mm/52in per year) can be expected every day. Even during the dry season, it still rains frequently near the coast. May-June and October are the rainiest months. Year round temperature changes little and it's almost always hot. March and April (just before the main rainy season breaks) can be almost unbearably hot and humid, but it’s worse inland than on the coast. The Harmattan is a strong, very warm and dusty wind that blows out of the desert between December and February. It makes perfect offshore conditions for the surf but swell is rare at this time of year. Dominant winds are SW and the water warm enough for boardies year-round.

Nature

Any trip is likely to leave the traveller with tales of encounters with the supernatural. The beautiful towns of Ouidah, Porto Novo and Anécho are all Voodoo centres, with plenty to experience. Don't miss the fetish markets of Cotonou and Lomé.

Hazards

Most trips are trouble free. Pollution around Cotonou and Lomé is a problem and there have been cases of robbery and worse on both city centre beaches. There is some political tension in Togo. Bénin is one of the safest countries in Africa. Malaria is a major problem in both countries.

Hints

Take everything you need as there is no surf industry whatsoever. A standard day-to-day beachbreak board is perfect and don't forget sunscreen and plenty of wax. The Capital city of Benin is Porto Novo, not Cotonou.